Health Editor’s Note: With so many of the smaller, independent pharmacies being run out by the “big box” pharmacies which are really superstores selling milk, pop, cosmetics, groceries, cleaning supplies, etc. with a pharmacy as an afterthought, located in the back of the store, we are forced to use these “pharmacies” to receive medications.
On your way to getting your medicine, yes, you have to pass the aisles of goods before getting to the location to get your prescription filled. Not unlike actual grocery stores that put the milk and eggs in the back of the store. It is hoped that you will need to fill up your grocery cart as you go past the shelves lined with items you did not actually come to buy.
Well, getting your medications, that your doctor has prescribed, has become an afterthought. Now we see that so much is going on, the pharmacists feel hard-pressed to simply make sure you have your correct medication.
Be aware of this the next time you use a national chain to get your medication and make sure you have what you came there for…..Carol
Pharmacist: ‘I Am a Danger to the Public’
Pharmacists at national chains like CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid say it’s becoming difficult to do their jobs safely and they may be putting patients at risk, the New York Times reports.
They blame their troubles on understaffing and performance metrics that ultimately boost profits for their employers, who have a financial interest in dispensing as many pills as possible.
In an anonymous letter to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy, one pharmacist wrote: “I am a danger to the public working for CVS.”
The Times spoke with pharmacy boards in two dozen states that have fielded these complaints, though they have limited authority to regulate the business. Most boards don’t require pharmacies to report errors, and sometimes pharmacy company officials sit on those boards.
Pharmacists describe having to do too many things at once: filling prescriptions, advising patients, calling doctors and insurers, working the register, answering phones, giving flu shots, and more. “I certainly make more mistakes,” one wrote to the South Carolina pharmacy board. “I had two misfits in three years with the previous staffing and now I make 10-12 per year (that are caught).”
As for performance metrics, the newspaper reviewed internal documents from CVS that showed employees are supposed to try to get 65% of patients to sign up for automatic refills and 55% to switch from a one-month to three-month supply. CVS and Walgreens said their performance metrics are meant to provide better patient care, not to punish pharmacists.
Doctors say they’re often deluged with requests for refills. Mark Lopatin, MD, a rheumatologist in Pennsylvania, said he declines about half of the requests he gets, but when you’re “bombarded with a refill after refill, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks, despite your best efforts.”