By Jim Plagakis
Senators ask about Rite Aid’s ‘wellness ambassador’
March 12th, 2012
NEW YORK – Addressing concerns expressed by two U.S. senators, Rite Aid Corp. has clarified the role of its “wellness ambassadors,” a key feature of the drug chain’s new “wellness store” format.
In press announcements late last week, Sens. Richard Durbin (D., Ill.) and Richard Blumental (D., Conn.) questioned if Rite Aid was confusing customers with the wellness ambassadors. The senators said customers might mistake the ambassadors — who wear white coats — for a pharmacist and wondered if the ambassadors were making product recommendations or providing health advice or product information for which they lacked sufficient knowledge or training.
The Camp Hill, Pa.-based drug store chain, however, said the function of the ambassadors is presented clearly to customers and the ambassadors aren’t portrayed as health care professionals.
This was in “Chain Drug Review”. Who are these smiling young women wearing white coats. Technicians? I don’t think so. They are NOT pharmacists. Do you see what I see? These “Wellness Ambassadors” are going to be giving OTC advice. I will not allow my techs to do that. These babes will be illegally making claims about supplements. ”Oh yes, ma’am. You won’t be fat anymore if you buy this $60.00 a month GNC product that has as its active ingredient something called ephedra equistina.
Rite-Aid is engaging in dangerous practices. What Big Stupid does can affect the entire industry. The CEO at Rite-Aid is a grocery store man. He has no standing in the pharmacy industry. If you have never been in the water, you will never swim. The Rite-Aid MBA Masters of the Universe who came up with this any-girl-in-a-white-coat “Ambassador” Bullshit again make pharmacy look like crap.
You know that your wife’s elderly Aunt Sally is going to the accessible “Ambassador” when she has questions. The RAD pharmacist is too damn busy cranking The Prescription Mill to talk to Sally. The pharmacist never knows that Sally has a question.
This is a serious professional problem and the “Profession” needs to make a statement. Where should that come from? The APhA. Yeah, I know, you are laughing so hard you gave yourself a hernia.
I do not want to put the onus on the RAD pharmacists in stores where the “Wellness Ambassador” program is in effect, but I have to. The minute you see Rose Ann giving professional advice, you gotta stand up and say something.
Our friend “PharmacistSteve” has a good handle on on to communicate appropriately and cover your own ass in the process. Steve, will you take a minute to give an outline please.
By the way, this program is transparent. Big Stupid’s desperation is dripping all over it. They are trying to mimic the program that WAG is instituting. WAG puts pharmacists out front.