They Are Decent People

Jp Enlarged

I have received a number of emails at my private email address (the one published here) from pharmacists (at least they claim to be pharmacists) who want to know why I allow pharmacists to camp out in the “Comments” and whine and complain.  They tell me that the whiners and complainers should be doing something about it rather than just visiting sites where they can basically spend too much time metaphorically digitally jerking off .  

I had one woman tell me that she would commit suicide rather than humiliate herself in such a manner.  I asked and she told… She is the PIC of a pharmacy in a very small grocery chain in the middle of nowhere.  The map shows that her town is almost 200 miles from the closest town with a chain drug store.  I accused her of being insensitive.  I told her that she needed to spend just one Monday morning, from 8:00 AM to 12:Noon, with the Lead Technician out sick, in your shoes.  She wrote back that she had been a pharmacist for 12 years and, from experience, she knows that it cannot possibly be what you guys describe.  I asked her why she did not express her feelings with a response in a comment here.  She told me that she would not lower herself.  She is a dignified woman who is professional in her work.

Poor girl.  She just might commit suicide if she had to make her living at Big Evil or Big Stupid.

My knee-jerk was to just tell her to “Eat Me”, but I behaved.  What I told her was this.

The pharmacists who write comments here are strong and decent people who see injustice and want to change it.  They can’t help it that, right now, they are swimming in the rapids and barely know which end is up.  Working conditions are one thing, but now they are seeing their brothers and sisters being killed off.  They are being taken out back and being shot in the head.  Damn good, veteran pharmacists are being fired simply because they are veterans.  They are being fired because they are women.  They are being let go because they have earned too much vacation, because the metrics suffer while they are counseling.

These pharmacists are good men and women who did absolutely nothing wrong.  They are being treated like galley slaves, factory-floor piece-work workers.  They are decent human beings who want to help people, but all the MBA Masters of the Universe see are “The numbers”.   

So, I ended up advising that she Eat Me.  I suggested that if she pay attention to the comments that some of you may want to explain further.

Guild anyone?

“Whistleblower” continues to offer his help with employment law.  Why aren’t you contacting him if you have been terminated unfairly?  Is it because you do not know how to contact him?

I found this message in the comments.  Paul Garbarini is a Boston Lawyer on the faculty at Northeastern College of Pharmacy.  (I believe that is current) He has been Legal Counsel for The Pharmacy Alliance since the beginning.

The Truth-

Contact me at 413-727-8191 regarding your desire to file a complaint with a BOP.

Paul Garbarini, R.Ph, Esq.

It is all out there, you guys.  What was the quote from revolutionary times?  We either all hang together or we will certainly hang separately.  Jay Pee

 

113 Comments

113 Comments

  1. Pharmaciststeve  •  Dec 31, 2012 @6:31 pm

    One of my pet peeves is someone taking an exception to a rule and trying to make everyone believe that it is “the norm” Gee .. 12 yrs as a RPH… hell.. my truck is older than that.

    I wonder if she belongs to her state or a national pharmacy group… when was the last time that she attended a meeting.. or better yet .. when was the last time she served on a committee or as a committee chair or on the BOD for the state association… or been at a national convention.. been a delegate for her state or served on a steering committee at the national level..
    When is the last time that she has bothered to talk to or write her elected official from the state or federal level?

    Nothing changes unless members of a profession does the vast majority of the grunt work… All associations run on money and volunteers… if you are neither a dues paying member nor volunteer your time.. the profession loses..

    You can pontificate all you want about how “professional” you are.. but if all you are doing is going to work and collecting a paycheck… you are nothing more than a “trade laborer” .. that will eventually be phased out by technology.

    None of the above??? SOME PART OF OUR PROFESSION :-(

    IMO .. she doesn’t post a comment.. because she is “thin skinned” and would be devastated if someone disagreed with her…

    My question … is why does she even bother to read pharmacy blogs… reading them is apparently that is not beneath her !

  2. Goose  •  Jan 1, 2013 @8:39 am

    This may sound like a Yogi Berra quote, but people only know what they know. You just can’t understand what a bad day (week,month,year?) in retail is like until you have been there. I realize that from being away from daily retail life for 6 years now, there are things I don’t know. However I usually have my ear to the ground reading blogs, talking to my friend on my state’s BOP, talking to students that work for me and those that are on rotations, and talking to my peers.
    The biggest danger we have is someone thinking that “these problems don’t apply to me” because they haven’t hit you yet. I think they will. Martin Luther King said that an injustice to just one person is an injustice to everyone. He was right and we are seeing this in pharmacy at the moment.
    As a personal goal in 2013, I am going to do what some of pharmaciststeve has suggested because they are the right things to do. I feel like I’ve talked and written enough about these problems, it’s time for some action.
    Let’s work together to make a difference this year.

  3. Broncofan7  •  Jan 1, 2013 @9:02 am

    The naivety expressed by the PIC in this article is more common than we all would wish to acknowledge. Each chain is different as is every store within a chain. I know of a pharmacist who speaks highly of Walmart and I know a few others who point out to me the daily misfilled Rxs and the issues with their work flow and staffing—- the underlying and main issue in my opinion is that it’s the individual RPh licenses that are at risk despite the employee pharmacists lack of influence over work flow and staffing. that paradigm in inherently unfair and illogical. The fact that because one employee pharmacist can’t recognize that her situation is more than likely unique and not replicated in other stores speaks to her narrow mindedness…

  4. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 1, 2013 @10:32 am

    @Goose.. what you described is “optimism bias”… IT WON’T HAPPEN TO ME…

    reality is that the law of probability cannot be absolutely avoided.

    went the two intersect.. it hits the fan… sometimes.. the outcome is a non-issue..

    All it takes is one outcome like that of Eric Cropp to really screw up the RPH’s life.

    good ancillary help is critical to get your job done… correctly.. even more so than the number of hrs of tech support

    IMO… you have to prioritize what tasks you are able to do.. putting patient safety at NUMBER ONE on the list.

    If nothing else.. send the DM a email at the end of the day.. stating that metrics were not met today because of vol/lack of good help and that trying to achieve all the metrics would have increased the risk of having med errors and harming pts.. meaning that you would have violated the company’s P&P

    the place that I have temped at the most.. decided that they wanted to track tech input errors via the system.. they then increased hrs of operation by 15 hr/wk and removed 40 RPH man hours per week.

    they tend to drag in warm bodies off the street.. with no experience .. wave a magic wand that deem them a tech.. the input errors are so numerous… that I gave up on trying to report them.. Their system is all digital .. so I just put a red circle around the error and send it back to order entry. As far as I am concern.. they need to figure out how to count red circles on orders to see how many mistakes there are.

    What amazes me with many of these chains or stores with Rx depts.. is that they will spend untold dollars on IVR’s, phone systems, POS registers.. yet we are still using plastic counting trays and software systems that are still DOS based/menu driven.. that started out in the 80′s and have been patched and patched and patched.

    When a very simple elec tablet/cap counter is available for ~ $ 2K.. when I opened my store in 1976.. it was one of the first pieces of equipment that I bought.

    But I guess that is what you get when you have non-pharmacists.. being in the pharmacy business.

  5. pharmacyslave2000  •  Jan 1, 2013 @11:06 am

    You all are correct. I feel that I have been overly harsh in some of my posts recently because I have forgotten how difficult it can be. I’m lucky to be working in a store that runs pretty well all things considered. We have rph overlap 4 days/week, good ancillary help and a district management team that leaves us alone for the most part. However, I’m not to far removed from my days floating days. I’ve worked at probably 50 stores throughout the chain over the years and each one is different. Some work very well and it is an easy 12 hr. shift while others are an absolutely horrible experience.

  6. Pharmacist Bob  •  Jan 1, 2013 @12:21 pm

    It is our profession; we have every right to complain if we feel that it is going in the wrong direction that it is being pulled to hell in a hand basket by chains full of themselves and the money they make. We do have legal rights such as forming a union because we dislike the working conditions. Maybe life is beautiful and the birds are singing somewhere in some tiny speck of the world of pharmacy but the majority of retail is now owned by the big, the bad and the ugly. Checkmate!

  7. Binkman  •  Jan 1, 2013 @2:04 pm

    How come our so called trade magazines never do an investigative article on retail pharmacy working conditions? Or even expose lack of action from any State Boards of Pharmacy to monitor safety in the retail pharmacy working environment?

  8. the truth  •  Jan 1, 2013 @3:05 pm

    Steve has it correct. However much money the chains dole out on computer systems (CVS’s system is horrendous and buggy) they often overlook the ancillary help. We take people, (druggies, customers, 2nd job people) and deem them techs. The mistakes are outrageous. I worked not too long ago with a newbie grad who made a mistake. He looked shaken to the bone. Welcome to retail. A mistake is a mistake and the help we have contributes to that. To the rph who wrote the letter, whom I don’t believe, try working my store yesterday. Infamously understaffed by the PIC who could care less about errors and more about the paycheck he gets. Techs stressed out and taking it out on the rphs and the staff. Don’t get me started on the procrastinators who all wanted their rxs THAT DAY. It was a day to forget. There are some good days but I am honest, they are few and far between. Oh and I was almost robbed last night. He got the jitters. I swear I thought he was going to put a gun in my face. True story. I think I recognized him from before. I’ve made suggestions and they all fall on deaf ears. Don’t write your DM or the company. They won’t change anything. Personal experience.I am praying this year I can finally leave retail and get some much needed rest from the stress.

  9. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 1, 2013 @3:11 pm

    @Binkman… the BOP’s are in the business of protecting the public NOT RPH’s.. The BIG BOYS have very systematic process in place to deal with errors.. making sure that as many errors as possible never get to the board level… and settled with gift cards or checks.. and buried in the corporate archives.

    When lawsuits are file.. nearly all are settled before trial with a confidentially agreement.. BECAUSE.. they don’t want the Plaintiff’s attorney to get to the deposition stage and get his/her hands on the corporate archives.. making all kind of corporate crap available to public scrutiny.

    I try to track med errors that get to the “public level” and they are few and far between.. Given the fact that 75% of the BOP’s have non-practicing corporate RPH’s on them..

    If you go to many of the BOP’s website and look at the BOP’s minutes .. actions are typically in some sort of cryptic code or what is published is redacted to such a degree that is otherwise meaningless.

    Many BOP’s insist that complaints contain a signed name.. so if a RPH’s files a complaint with the BOP.. they just drew a target on their back.

    My personal opinion.. is that if a group of RPH’s hired an attorney to send off complaints to the BOP.. the RPH’s would be able to hide behind the attorney/client privilege.

    Our BOP system is still working under the premise that the PIC and the owner are one and the same.. as it was when the typical pharmacy was owned/operated by a RPH.. It is basically still in the early 20th century.

    The mess in MASS with that BOP and NECC is – IMO – a good example of how the BOP system works… and should answer a lot of questions of WHY ???

  10. Crazy RxMan  •  Jan 1, 2013 @3:20 pm

    For myself, I have a family to feed and support. I’m not in a position to deal with termination over starting a rebel alliance for the pharmacist cause.

    I think continued education, whining, and complaining is crucial to the day where there is enough of us out there to stand up together and say enough is enough. To me, that’s the professional way to handle it. Our day will come and we will be heard.

  11. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 1, 2013 @3:33 pm

    @Truth is right… I have become jaded to mistakes .. especially those that don’t reach the pt.. I recently temped in a big box store and they said that I made a med error – three weeks after the fact… – I am lucky to remember what I had for lunch yesterday – I had given the pt Claritin D-12 instead of Claritin D-24.. they got their shorts in a twist.. my basic thought was BFD!

    Back again to where I temp the most.. they hired a tech that supposedly worked for two years in a rx dept of a large grocery store chain.. after 60 days on the job had a documented 20%+ error input rate.. all the RPH’s were about ready to walk.. we went to management and told them to get rid of her.. we were told that they had too much money invested in her training… IMO.. if she still had 20%+ error rate after 60 days.. their training was not sinking in..

    They moved her to triage where she no longer entered orders.. just answered the phone …and after 6 months or so .. was fired…for some reason…

    IMO.. at least in retail/community.. our profession has much in common with the Titanic .. we just have not hit the iceberg yet… but some of us can see it coming…but those in the wheel house are too busy playing a game on their smart phone to be paying attention

  12. the truth  •  Jan 1, 2013 @3:49 pm

    Steve, again kudos. The techs are way too protected in retail. We had several horrendous techs whom corporate protected tooth and nail. Despite numerous complaints from rphs and customers, they were allowed to stay. After several months of they were transferred, quit or about to be fired. Now we have one who makes demands, threats etc. and corporate says the tech is too valuable to let go. Sounds familiar. We suffer, tech gets away with mistakes, attitude and threats. Seriously, chains if you are reading. There are institutes like CHI etc that train these people. Invest in the schools and hire only people who can pass the retail test of generic v. brand name, entering info and not not making more than 1 percent errors. You would save so much time and money rather than training dolts off the street who are just going to steal the vicodins and xanax off the shelf. If dentists and doctors hire these grads why not retail? I forgot, who wants to work for minimum wage.

  13. the truth  •  Jan 1, 2013 @3:59 pm

    Oh and I would love to file an anonymous complaint(s) with the board via a lawyer if I could keep my identity totally private. I could write a book.

  14. Paul Garbarini  •  Jan 1, 2013 @5:53 pm

    The Truth-

    Contact me at 413-727-8191 re your desire to file a complaint with a BOP.

    Paul Garbarini, R.Ph, Esq.

  15. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 1, 2013 @6:12 pm

    @Truth… you state that you wish to be out of pharmacy within a year.. why don’t you start collecting complaints now that you can file as you walk out the door? It is my understanding, some states are now accepting anonymous complaints… might check your state out…

  16. the truth  •  Jan 1, 2013 @7:26 pm

    Unfortunately not my state. I tried to do it anonymously. Sent them tons of printouts on shady rphs but they tried to get me to reveal my name and that would have meant me being fired and the shady rphs keeping their job. All they had to do was check I was telling the truth. When I am definitely out, many govt offices will hear from me. I cannot tolerate people, especially fellow rphs, who believe they are above the law. I don’t care if your brother is a doctor, you cannot write a rx for yourself off the top of your head. Giving partials of narcotics. Misbranding. Paying ghost pharmacists hours that they don’t work. Rphs stealing narcotics and blaming other rphs for the loss. Those are some of the things that go on in my district. Rampant violations regarding temp. controls. I am estimating that in my small district alone, some rphs were getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in OT that should never have taken place. This is over several years before the premium pay for OT switched. I could go on and on. Corporate doesn’t care. I wish I could print a one page letter in a paper naming names and maybe shareholders would drop the stock like a lead balloon.

  17. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 1, 2013 @7:41 pm

    @Truth…
    Just look up who the mutual funds that hold a large position in the stock and send that letter to them.. These guys are the ones that listen to the conference calls with the execs and ask questions and they are the ones that attend the annual stockholder meetings.. Send it anonymously let them investigate or just asked pointed questions to the execs.. Unless the mutual fund execs believe the resulting company exec “song & dance”.. it will take a year or more for the stock to get back to where it was.

  18. Wrong Aid  •  Jan 1, 2013 @10:06 pm

    @Pharmacisteve

    We hit that iceberg 10 years ago. The $4 list. It just takes a while to sink.

  19. Whistleblower  •  Jan 1, 2013 @11:29 pm

    @Pharmaciststeve….PA takes anonymous complaints… Don’t know what they do with them, however I had the BOP and the AG office sitting in my living room for three hours with two other RPH’s … Handed over 25+ errors not reported that these RPH’s found, refill fraud
    And the script pro errors ( contamination) all made while I was out and my name on the permit and the front of the building. In two weeks we have a new AG and I believe she will be the one to listen. It’s a new year and sure to be a busy one with a court date coming soon. Thinking back to last year at this time , the discovery process and all the other legal stuff that takes a toll on ones health and family ….I am so ready to get my say and will not hold back … What I want is full disclosure. This is no longer just about Joe Zorek… This is about us, our profession and our patients. If anyone needs to contact me it’s Jzorek1@aol.com

    Again thanks to all of you that reached out with support and material. As I’ve said before I can’t talk to much here at the moment due to the legal issues, but I’m here to help anyone that I can.
    We all know things are getting much worse and many more lives will be destroyed if we let them
    Do it to us!!! I Pray every night for those of you that still care and put the patient first… Let’s Take Back Pharmacy in 2013.

    JP and Steve you Rock!!! Keep up the great work.

  20. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 2, 2013 @7:52 am

    @Wrongaid… IMO.. the $4 Rx was just a “warning” that we were entering a area that could contain icebergs… it is like when you are driving.. and it starts snowing or freezing rain.. someone paying attention will figure it out that driving at speed limit +10 might become dangerous..

    Like some of those numb-nuts that have 4 wheel drive.. they believe that they are safe.. until they have to stop and then the four wheel drive has no advantage over any other four wheel vehicle.. and they end up in the ditch.

    IMO.. another Eric Cropp incident is just a matter of time… I have stated before – and caught flack about it – that I believe that we will be in a civil war… the BOP’s will not take action against the permit holder and the one that has legal responsibility for the Rx dept legal operation … Rx dept staff will start filing complaints with the BOP on the PIC.

    With the growing surplus of RPH’s the BOP’s have little incentive to hold back on draconian actions against these PIC’s… as more and more BOP’s start accepting anonymous complaints..it will be open season on PIC’s.

    The surplus of attorneys is many fold more than RPH’s and – IMO – pharmacy is going to be the next “personal injury” lawsuit frenzy.. Those employed RPH’s ..if you are not carrying your own personal professional liability insurance and at least a million dollar liability umbrella – IMO – you are NUTS!

    Your employer will do just about anything/everything to keep from parting with their money.. If that means throwing you under the bus.. you had better learn to roll quickly when you are on the ground .. to be able to get out of the way of the bus .. if possible…

    It isn’t a matter of if … BUT WHEN !!!

  21. the truth  •  Jan 2, 2013 @9:33 am

    Whistleblower, how do you do anonymous complaints in PA. I went to their site and it said that you had to put your name on the documents. Any help would be appreciated. Also, do you know if the rphs that were reported were sanctioned? Honestly, if I did half the things my coworkers did I would have been fired, sanctioned, fined etc. They seem untouchable. I reported about 2 years ago and got the third degree from the investigator.

  22. Pharmacist Bob  •  Jan 2, 2013 @10:35 am

    A profession in chains! Re-inventing slavery they are!

  23. Whistleblower  •  Jan 2, 2013 @11:24 am

    @the truth….some have done it with fictitious email, but state the store #, others have call investigators directly (I have names and numbers). These RPH’s that were present were my partners, I’m sure CVS knows that they are somehow involved. The day after these state officials were at my home, the pharmacy in question was paid a visit by both agencies and failed. One investigator from the Philly area is on the top of her game.it’s funny that the Pa Dept of State is 5 miles from my home and they sent someone from Philly. One of RPH’s has also retained my law firm on a somewhat related issue. Can’t go into detail here due to these events bing part of my case. The BOP has been in that store numerous times since. You can contact Pharmaciststeve to get my number or just go back to June 2012 blog to get it.

  24. Binkman  •  Jan 2, 2013 @1:05 pm

    @pharmaciststeve Again, why haven’t our trade magazines ever had any interest in an article about retail pharmacy working conditions? I thought bad news sells. At least it does on television! All they ever have articles on is the fantasy land of pharmacy that is taught in school.

  25. Soul-crushing-hell-hole  •  Jan 2, 2013 @2:11 pm

    Whistle—Isn’t Merlo from your neck of the woods? I wonder how he can sleep at night?
    How about a web page loaded with email addresses of pharmacists that are anonymous with intent to take back their profession by all means-legal (union), forming new organizations which will lobby for new laws etc. etc. Share with other pharmacist so we can reach the critical mass necessary to carry out our desired actions. As the lists of email addresses builds to empower all pharmacist to take the appropriate action for our profession.
    Binkman—articles would be good but most companies forbid employees from talking to the media, as they don’t want the truth to be known—the truth be told would impact their ability to further trash our profession.

  26. Goose  •  Jan 2, 2013 @3:00 pm

    @Binkman
    When I was at CVS, we got a “sanitized for your protection” version of most trade magazines. No editorals or letters to the editor. One of them even said CVS Pharmacy Version on the front.

  27. Fired  •  Jan 2, 2013 @3:03 pm

    The reason I don’t want to “fight” my firing is because I am older (59) and decided I’d retire. I realize that won’t help others in this same mess & that was made very clear when I was called by a colleague two days ago distraught because he thought he would be fired. He was my staff pharmacist when I was a PIC. He is going through many of the same problems – techs making mistakes, inability to have any authority when he is the only pharmacist on duty, being forced to do unethical altho not strictly illegal activities and sadly, compounded by a current PIC who not only allows destructive gossip among & about staff but also participates in it as well. This PIC has been a pharmacist 4 years….

    California does not allow for anonymous complaints to the Board. I still do consulting work & I know many of the Board members are in the pockets of the chain executives.

    I honestly believe the economy of pharmacy will need to change before any changes are made in the working conditions. I think it will need to get bad enough that students no longer want to enter the field. Some of these half-baked schools will need to go under. Sadly, I think we will have to have more serious malpractice cases in which chains pay out large dollar amounts. Currently, there is no incentive for them to get rid of these awful techs. It takes at least 4 months for a union tech to be fired. I was a PIC for more than 5 years & I went through that h*ll three times & that was enough for me.

    I have no solution. I only know that after 36 years as a pharmacist, the last five were the worst ones ever. Why don’t I want to work for this profession? Because there are PICs like the one I referenced above is willing to sell her colleagues down the river – just like the one who said she’d rather commit suicide before complaining. I don’t want to help her or the many others just like her. She is no more professional that the person selling shoes at Macys!

  28. Binkman  •  Jan 2, 2013 @4:12 pm

    My guess is the trade rags are also in bed with the chains and won’t allow articles about how bad it is in the retail pharmacy setting. How else do you explain that they are instead writing on subjects like which company is chain of the year etc…This also probably explains why JP never writes a column in DT referring to this matter that he openly discusses it on this site. And if I’m not mistaken DrugMonkey mentioned recently that he had his original column rejected, soon after he was terminated, and had to rewrite it according to editors wishes.

  29. Whistleblower  •  Jan 2, 2013 @4:58 pm

    @fired… When were you terminated?

  30. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 2, 2013 @6:17 pm

    @Binkman… Bad news sells only when it is sensationalize and/or there is blood/bones/guts lying around. Dennis Miller’s book

    Pharmacy Exposed: 1,000 Things That Can Go Deadly Wrong At the Drugstore

    http://www.amazon.com/Pharmacy-Exposed-Things-Deadly-Drugstore/dp/1467945501/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348972312&sr=1-1&keywords=1000+things+that+can+go+wrong

    Is no where near close to making the best seller’s list.

    I am sure that every entity that depends on advertising dollars from various other entities are just as afraid as any work RPh is for fear of them yanking their advertising budget.

    IMO .. it would not be too hard to imagine that if one of the journals did do something like that.. while the top 6 pharmacy/Rx depts are competitors.. who believes that they don’t “stick together” like super glue on such a issue and each make some implied threat of pulling their advertising budget or trying to influence others that advertise in the particular journal.

    Anyone who does not believe that our whole business/economic system is fueled on money and threats .. has not been working for one of America’s corporation in years.

  31. Binkman  •  Jan 2, 2013 @7:49 pm

    Then again what am I thinking!!! It’s the public that matters and it’s them that does NOT care what goes on behind the Rx counter… they don’t give a rodents pahtootee if I cough, sneeze, fart, or drool all over their prescription as long as they get it for $4, $10, or even FREE for that *matter.

    And any intelligent person wouldn’t even want their immunization from a place of business where their vaccine is drawn up into a syringe amongst so many distractions and interruptions. Not to mention, in some places, its not even the cleanliest of environments to even draw up a syringe. I realize it can’t be a sterile environment but it certainly isn’t like a doctor/nurse office where there is no walking customer traffic, food, garbage etc around.

    *Well until something goes wrong that is.

  32. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 2, 2013 @8:19 pm

    @Binkman.. what is the most two common questions you get from pts?

    HOW MUCH ???
    HOW LONG ???
    or
    WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG ??
    WHY DOES IT COST SO MUCH ??

    I saw a comment on one newspaper article on the web about a pharmacy med error from someone other than the person who was involved in the error…

    He/She just won the “pharmacy lottery”

    reality is.. that a person is more likely to win the “pharmacy lottery” than the state lottery … and often they get someone else (Medicaid) to give them a free ticket!

  33. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 2, 2013 @10:09 pm

    @Soul-crushing-hell-hole It would be great if we could have a group that would go after righting this sinking ship.. but.. look at PUTT.. everyone in the group are volunteers and they have hired a advertising agency to get their message out there.. they have burnt through 200K-300K in 12-18 months and has gotten some attention from the media.. but.. reaching their goal – transparency with PBM’s is still far off. All the money raised were from donations from RPH’s.. so they got – on average – $1 donation from each RPH.. Given the fact that some indy owners donated 1K-2k.. that means that a lot of RPH’s could not put up a few minutes of work money.. for this desirable goal.

    If you don’t think that the PBM’s has/will effect what you get paid and your work environment.. you have not been paying attention.

    I gave them $250 and I understand that JP gave them $100.. if every RPH had donated $10.. they would have had 2-3 million “war chest” to work with.

    Everyone seems to want some “action” but few are willing to put their money where their mouth is… or .. volunteer their time – or – both… until the mind set of the average RPH changes.. the status quo will remain unchanged…

  34. Jtrph  •  Jan 3, 2013 @8:55 am

    @pharmaciststeve, why would EVERY pharmacist give money to PUTT when the CEO of PUTT insults many of them. So the pool of pharmacists to draw from is not as high as you think. If there was an organization that thought every pharmacist deserved respect, I would donate.
    .
    The Pharmacy Alliance Dignity, Self Respect & Integrity Visit http://www.thepharmacyalliance.com

  35. Mookie  •  Jan 3, 2013 @10:11 am

    Bink-
    I so agree about immunizing in the retail setting. So many distractions, far from clean conditions. Last year we had a plumbing/sanitation (really bad) in the building. Boss’ response when I questioned it….. “keep doing the flu shots”. In addition to this many stores have little room to even do the shots. I give mine in a chair wedged at the end of the aisle about 5 feet from the drop off window. I have been out there giving a shot and almost had someone barrel into me on their mad dash to the drop off.

  36. Pharmacist Bob  •  Jan 3, 2013 @10:27 am

    When we campout and whine and complain, there has to be a root cause to cause this. Are the complaints valid? Are the working conditions professionally sub-standard? I believe the corporations can seize the opportunity to do better and maybe they can gain our respect or not-it is their choice.

  37. Fired  •  Jan 3, 2013 @2:19 pm

    @Whistleblower – technically, I was fired for a HIPAA violation, however since I was not told about this reason correctly, it was deemed a wrongful termination & I was awarded unemployment compensation.

    The details are what made my case a bit different. I’ve been a pharmacist for more than 30 years & had been a PIC for about the last 8 of those (I spent decades as a hospital pharmacist). During the last two years, I had been given a stream of technicians after my long time tech had retired. Each one was increasingly more incompetent than the last. During an acquisition, I was given a brand new group of techs – truly brand new. One had only been a tech for 3 weeks & another only 30 days with the company & as a tech for less than 1 year.

    During this time, our error rate went sky high. Most were caught, some were not. I was not informed of all the errors as I should have been as the PIC. However, I did follow procedure for incident reporting when I did know of an error. I made sure all employees knew any error was to be reported to the pharmacist working that day then directly to me. I encouraged all of them that we learn by our mistakes & so it was not punitive.

    I overhead a tech actually giving a copy over the phone. When I confronted, she told me the pharmacist just wanted to know what the rx said. When I told her she didn’t even know what she didn’t know, this tech filed a complaint. That didn’t bother me at all, but when I was reprimanded & the tech was never retrained, I realized this company was in over its head so far it could ultimately bring me down with it professionally. I documented, documented & documented. I became that squeaky wheel on the bike that desperately needs fixing. No fix ever came.

    The final straw was the day I found out by accident that an rx filled for the same drug, sig & qty for two people, filled on the same day & given out on the same day was given to each other (not the correct patient). None of this took place on a day I worked. When one came for a refill & I saw the wrong name was on the rx, the patient told me he knew about it & had brought it to the tech’s attention 29 days prior & was told since it was the same to just take it anyway & we would fix it the following month. I again confronted all the individuals involved. The pharmacist filled it correctly but had no knowledge of the mix up nor the subsequent conversation declining to correct the error. A tech had given it out incorrectly – twice! Then, the other tech had given that wrong information about just taking it. At no time did either tech inform a pharmacist or ask a pharmacist for advice on how to handle it. I didn’t have a signature capture nor a manual signature tag. Error compounded by error.

    I hit the roof. The culture in my pharmacy had become out of control. The techs had never gone thru retraining, had never been removed to a slower store to allow for more extensive training & had never even been officially trained. I was not allowed an extra tech to be able to give me more time to train these in house. They had no idea we had a procedure manual or Best Practices. It was as though they got someone off the street & said now go – be a tech. I realized I carried all the responsibility but had no authority. I again wrote my DM but this time I copied the Director & Legal Affairs. I knew when I wrote that email I would be done with my job & I was fine with it.

    I was told I was fully responsible because I had not filed an incident report within the 48 hours required by procedure. What got my company caught in wrongful termination was I had filed the report within 48 hours of MY knowledge AND the fact I had months of documentation of errors caused by these two specific techs. They had not followed their procedures when they had been made aware of unsafe employees.

    It does hurt to know I was fired from a job since that has never happened to me before, but I’m happy to not be working for a company that blatantly disregards state & federal laws (this was a CIV med). I am proud to know that I kept my professionalism in spite of that. I can look back & know I always knew what the “right” thing was in our profession & I always did the right thing in my practice. I wonder how many young pharmacists are willing to compromise their ethics to continue to hold that job?

    As an aside, within a month of my DM terminating me, he was terminated from the company. I wonder if my exit interview with the director of HR had any influence??????

  38. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 3, 2013 @2:21 pm

    @Bob.. if my perception is correct.. the number of complaints about wages is dwarfed by the complaints about work environment, pt safety, staffing and having to capitulate to rude, irate , demanding customers and interference by non-pharmacists.

    IMO.. the volume of complaints – on similar… non-wage issues- would strongly suggest that they all have a good deal of validity.

  39. Fired  •  Jan 3, 2013 @2:22 pm

    @Whistleblower – I should have added, 13 months ago.

  40. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 3, 2013 @3:57 pm

    @Fired… I guess the only way that many of these RPH’s can sleep at night – without a hypnotic – is that they have sold their soul, ethics, morals long ago…

    Like you.. I would rather stop my career prematurely with my morals, ethics, soul & license in-tack.

    I became a Pharmacist to help pts NOT HARM PTS…

  41. the truth  •  Jan 3, 2013 @7:16 pm

    @fired, where I temp I see techs giving out copies (their excuse is the other rph allows it). I stop them. You are correct, the techs form of retaliation is to complain. I don’t understand how HR always takes their side. I am the professional with 6 yrs of schooling. They are, no offense to them, people off the street with no professional education who are breaking the law. You cannot win in retail. I learned from experience, get action against these wrongdoers but don’t expect to get it from the company. Good luck.

  42. bcmigal  •  Jan 4, 2013 @1:39 pm

    so many great responses….i hardly know where to begin. Seems like there are more days from hell lately. Unfortunately, i do not see any end in sight. We have convinced the public that we are only a service industry. Our ads tell them of “quick and easy” flu shots etc.
    The metrics give us less time to fill a prescription then it takes to get a BigMac. The “upgraded” system requires the pharmacist to type new phoned in rxs, monitor and type from the queues, solve insurance issues, work on production, and go to the cash register when more than 3 are in line. Oh, did I mention also actually check the filled prescriptions? Is anyone out there not concerned about this?

  43. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 4, 2013 @2:30 pm

    @Bcmigal.. I posted yesterday

    http://www.pharmaciststeve.com/?p=2624

    a email from a RPH that had sent a email about employer and staff violating the practice act and the BOP exec wrote back and told the RPH to file a CONSUMER COMPLAINT with the AG’s office.

    I know what the AG’s office in my state did when the Canadian mail order front stores were going nuts.. NOTHING !

    The LA TIMES article about CVS enrolling everyone into their auto-refill program.. if I remember – was from some anonymous RPH’s that talked to the reporter.

    reporters should being patronizing some drug stores some where.. pull them aside.. give them a tease of what is going on.. see if they are interested.. or someone at their TV station/newspaper would be..

    made an appt to talk to them out of the store and anonymously.. give them documentation to back you up..

    Do not redact documentation with software.. it can be removed.. use either a black magic marker or cut out the data points that could come and bite you in the ass.

    If the only documentation is on the screen and cannot get a printout.. take a picture of the screen with your smart phone.

    IMO.. the MA BOP is a good example of how the typical BOP functions… and most AG’s have bigger fish to fry.. The public is clueless…

    If we can’t get the media’s attention.. then we have to take a stand… or keep plugging on and take what comes.

  44. bcmigal  •  Jan 4, 2013 @3:58 pm

    I have been reminded by the PIC that no one cares if you are short staffed and busy, if the computer or cash register crashed , the floater could not find his way to your store and was an hour late or you had the stomach flu and came to work anyway. “They” are only looking at the numbers and how many pages are in the red. The solution is to “pick up the pace.” If we think the public or the AG or the BOP care, we are delusional.

  45. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 4, 2013 @5:31 pm

    @Bcmigal… that leaves yourself and the media.. to get things to change..

    Otherwise..you are back to the two most important questions..

    HOW MUCH …. & … HOW LONG ….

  46. pharmacyslave2000  •  Jan 4, 2013 @7:55 pm

    We all talk about our “work environment” and how we wish to change it. Our companies will never change it. We must change the PERCEPTION of our profession first and foremost and this will not be easy. The corporations have marketed the profession as “quick and easy” for to long. “Get your flu shot, no wait”. “Rx’s in minutes”. Blah, blah, blah. Of course we garner no respect from anyone. Why would anyone respect us when we are the healthcare equivalent of short-order fry cooks. No one cares if you are short-staffed. I’ve seen the blank stares on the customers’ faces when the cashier uses this reasoning as to why the rx isn’t done in 5 mins.
    ***
    We are alone. I’ve said before that the ONLY way that something may change is if/when there is a HUGE med. error that goes national. An error that is so terrible that it can’t be easily covered up by the corporations. I thought this may occur a while back with the tamoxifen misfill issues with CVS. If I remember correctly, quite a few children received tamoxifen instead of another drug because of a robot error. The story was out there for a time and then…..nothing. I’m sure there were big money payouts involved and the rest was swept under the rug.
    ***
    We need media help to change perceptions. Interviews, news stories, etc. It won’t be easy and it may never happen but that is our only hope.

  47. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 4, 2013 @9:04 pm

    @Slave.. I saw some quotes from some of the families in that CVS fiasco with Tamoxifen.. and a week or so after it hit the news .. some of the families stated that they knew nothing about any mix up with meds..

    What – to me – is equally strange is the LA TIMES article about CVS putting pts on auto-refill without permission.. normally stories like that in the LA TIMES gets picked up by other papers across the country.. that story seems to have been DOA at other papers across the country.

    I have been told by some CVS insiders that there were more than just that one store that has had robot contamination and that they have brought in a “crew” of outside RPH’s to clean up the robots.. and all those on the “crew” were told that if they said anything.. they would be fired …

    I have also been told that since those incidents that they have return to stock has to be processed within a certain time frame.. around mid-night and at the end of the over night shift.. those meds can be returned to the robot within a certain time frame.

    Can you think of a better time for drugs to be return to the robot by the RPH on duty at the end of the 12 hr overnight shift?

  48. pharmacyslave2000  •  Jan 4, 2013 @11:06 pm

    Pharmaciststeve, I remember the LA Times article and the excitement that it created. There seemed to be hope that this could be the issue that blew the lid off of the ugly world of retail pharmacy and all the dirty secrets. Then there was nothing. The story died. No follow up, no mention anywhere outside of that paper.
    ***
    We are David fighting a huge Goliath. The corporations have seemingly endless money to fight legal battles and keep people quiet. They send threatening emails and bully employees. It is going to take one awful large stone to bring down this giant.

  49. Goose  •  Jan 5, 2013 @10:23 am

    pharmacyslave2000,
    Well, David didn’t need a big stone, he just needed a small stone in the right spot. Maybe that’s what we needed too.
    I live in Central Indiana and we have an investigative reporter for one of the local TV stations that won an Emmy for exposing CVS dumping confidential trash in their dumpsters. He even dove into dumpsters himself on camera and pulled CVS employees out of the stores to explain.
    I think I am going to contact him and suggest he look into collusion on the BOP, unsafe dispensing practices and the possibily of what happened with NECC happening here.
    It’s time to throw down on these assholes.
    I’ll let you know how this turns out.

  50. Goose  •  Jan 5, 2013 @10:26 am

    PS to the above comment:
    Since I have no connection to the retail chains anymore, they can’t lean on me. (although I’d like to see them try, I play dirty) They can’t touch me. This will be fun.

  51. Fired  •  Jan 5, 2013 @10:30 am

    What ever happened to the pregnant woman who was given MTX in error? I think it occurred in Colorado at a Safeway about 2 years ago.

  52. Goose  •  Jan 5, 2013 @11:55 am

    JP readers:
    If you live in Indiana and want to get in on this here’s the link:
    mailto:13investigates@wthr.com
    This guy that investigates is a bulldog, he just took on the IRS regarding illegal aliens getting tax credits for their kids. He’s not afraid of CVS.

  53. the truth  •  Jan 7, 2013 @10:21 am

    It’s only a matter of time before more mistakes are made. At CVS the system is going down or slowing down every day. Work in the queue is stacking up like never before. At my store for the first time in years, I could not finish the work. Constant interruptions, help that is not good and being sick did me in. We are expected to do the impossible. Those at CVS contact the guy above. What CVS is doing is irresponsible. They know they have a defective computer system yet do nothing about it. Rphs are forced to fill during downtime. Their registers go down and the store cannot sell sudafed b/c of it. I don’t work there but someone needs to know the truth about CVS and their crumbling empire. Did you know they are capping raises in anticipation of losses (probably due to obamacare). That’s their excuse. How about the CEO take a gigantic cut in salary and profit sharing b/c of his does not meet expectations rating (those who work at CVS will know that term).

  54. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 7, 2013 @12:19 pm

    @Fired.. I did a “Google” search and everything that came up was from early 2011 when the incident happened. My guess is that Safeway.. gave her a big check in exchange for a non-disclosure/confidentiality agreement being signed.

  55. Whistleblower  •  Jan 7, 2013 @1:32 pm

    @the truth… You are so right about the no raise thing. RPH’s have come to expect this, however the tech snitches are really making the noise since most of them are at the top of the pay scale. This move by CVS have put the RPH in horrible position as I see it. You all know that these snitches will o just about anything fir more $$$$. Some have already called the ethics line to report anything that they don’t like. You all need to watch your back… This came from a former partner.

  56. the truth  •  Jan 7, 2013 @1:42 pm

    I work at a chain. The snitches are in full force and corporate loves them. Watch your back especially for the passive agressive bitch techs and the unmedicated-but should be medicated-or locked up bitches from hell. A psych eval ought to be mandatory. My raise the past few years couldn’t buy a newspaper with it. I don’t care so much about the raise but give me better working conditions *lunch, competetent staff, equally competent pharmacists and not those whose english is a second language*. If I can’t understand you, the customer certainly can’t understand you. Also, maybe it’s just me, but maybe DMs should be rotated or changed so that you are not stuck with the same one year after year who does nothing to help your situation. Make them step in your shoes for a month and see if they don’t want some change.

  57. Mookie  •  Jan 7, 2013 @1:48 pm

    Bcmigal-
    I hear you…the additional “timers” in the new system are awful. I don’t know how it is humanly possible to address everything in the “QT” before the go “orange” when I am stuck on cash register for 25 minutes straight and my only tech is trying to enter and count the rxs and answer phones. This week was hell. New insurances, slashed tech hours, computer crashes.

  58. Mookie  •  Jan 7, 2013 @1:48 pm

    Bcmigal-
    I hear you…the additional “timers” in the new system are awful. I don’t know how it is humanly possible to address everything in the “QT” before the go “orange” when I am stuck on cash register for 25 minutes straight and my only tech is trying to enter and count the rxs and answer phones. This week was hell. New insurances, slashed tech hours, computer crashes.

  59. Mookie  •  Jan 7, 2013 @1:48 pm

    Bcmigal-
    I hear you…the additional “timers” in the new system are awful. I don’t know how it is humanly possible to address everything in the “QT” before the go “orange” when I am stuck on cash register for 25 minutes straight and my only tech is trying to enter and count the rxs and answer phones. This week was hell. New insurances, slashed tech hours, computer crashes.

  60. bcmigal  •  Jan 7, 2013 @11:26 pm

    Thanks, Mookie, I thought I was the only person who felt demoralized and depressed. You’ve actually made me feel better!

  61. Soul-Crushing-Hell-Hole  •  Jan 8, 2013 @11:36 am

    Mookie and Bcmigal—my name is where I work.

  62. Fired  •  Jan 8, 2013 @2:13 pm

    @the truth – Your comment about tech snitches is so timely. I was just speaking IRL with another pharmacist about snitches. A long time (>15 yrs) pharmacy manager was fired because of a snitch. Her situation was a he said/she said with no other witnesses, customers or third parties to the event. The pharmacist was fired. When did these techs gain so much power?

    Personally, I’d rather work slower without a tech than have to work with one who will snitch. I’ve never done anything I’ve ever felt was illegal, unethical or immoral yet I realize anyone or anything can be made to look that way.

    Yes – watch your back!

  63. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 9, 2013 @12:42 am

    Just think about it.. the chains encourage – or force – to train the techs to do nearly everything that they can legally do.. from a administrative perspective.. run the computer, do the wholesaler order. Other than ordering C-II and have the license to keep the dept legal… standardize the layout of the Rx dept… so anyone Rph can come in with a couple of techs and the dept will function.. pts are normally dealing with just the techs anyway.. the RPh is there just in the rare case the pt has a question. The techs are the “backbone” of the Rx dept..and work for a fraction of what a RPH costs. The rumors that I am hearing.. the DM’s and up or cultivating stool pigeon status among the techs.
    How many techs have you encountered that believed that they were are good or better than the RPH’s they worked with.. a little “BS” from the DM in how important they are to the the function of the Rx dept.. will just cement their beliefs and egos. They run off the mature RPH’s and get a some young RPH that they can “push around” from day one… and hopefully keep them in that position for years to come…

    IMO.. we need to discourage any/all kids that say that they are going to pharmacy school.. few students seeking a pharmacy degree will eventually mean few pharmacy schools..

    25 years ago…I was disappointed that my daughter did not follow my path in pharmacy – although she started out and ran into one of my old professors and threw up her hands and end up with a masters in Psychology..

    Now I am pretty happy that she changed her mind. She probably is in a better position to help people than if she had obtained her pharmacy degree..

  64. Pharmacist Bob  •  Jan 9, 2013 @6:29 am

    I absolutely agree with you Steve. I have recommended Pharmacy in the past, but no longer, it would be like recommending that you be fitted with a suit of iron and left to rot in your suit. A life time of this BS at the chains is not worth it; money is not everything in life. I now would prefer to live out of my car than take this BS from these pathetic greedy MF companies. Back to the original complaint of the e-mailer. Yes we are complaining, but by complaining here I hope readers will get the word out that working in a pharmacy at the chains suck, beware and know what you are signing up for because it is not what it used to be. Complaining and getting the word out is doing something, but doing more would obviously be more effective as I have promoted bringing out all weapons of mass chain destruction. We must unify as a profession, we must walk with one step, put on our big boot and shove it up the chains ass.

  65. the truth  •  Jan 9, 2013 @9:29 am

    It’s true about the ego fluffing from the DMs. Also I spoke to several CVS rphs yesterday and the situation there is the worst. One guy said he used to walk into a clean or half screen now it’s 9 pages full. The techs are being begged to work OT and they love it. Watch for the techs that flock to the DM when he or she visits. Those are the likely suspects. In our chain, techs don’t have email and it would be obvious if they called the DM from work so the only recourse they have is to call the ethics line or wait for the DM to visit. Document any infractions from the tech *ours does copies behind our backs*. I had one tech at CVS that would check rxs behind our backs back when verifying just meant putting your initials in. It’s your word against theirs but handwriting doesn’t lie (on copies). I have also told pharmacy students and future ones to forget retail or better yet become nurses. Nurses will always be around and they make good money and wait for it..double time for overtime in certain hospitals.

  66. Pharmacist Steve  •  Jan 9, 2013 @6:02 pm

    I think that the best things that most of us can do is to get our fellow pharmacist to read the half-dozen or so pharmacist blogs that like like JP’s. So they realize they’re not alone and not experiencing this alone.

    The chains basically keep us isolated, most stores are one-person stores and few people belong to Association or go to Association meetings.

    In what most of the pharmacist has said the technicians are not our friends at most stores

    Any unity must begin with conversations.
    If nothing more we can get more and more pharmacist to read blogs, the more they will understand how bad the situation is for everyone. And maybe we can make some progress collectively

  67. Peon  •  Jan 10, 2013 @8:32 am

    Steve said that he no longer recommends pharmacy to students. Neither do I. Recently, one of our techs decided to go to college and she was undecided between nursing or pharmacy. I discouraged her from pharmacy, and she is planning on going to nursing school. Unless things change, in a few years, there will be a lot more pharmacists than jobs for them. The new graduates coming out of pharmacy school will have $100K to $200K of debt…maybe more. The debt was one reason the tech decided to go into nursing instead of pharmacy. I never mentioned to her that 7 years is a long time to be in college. But, as the pharmacy schools keep tacking on more years to become a pharmacist, the sheer time involved in getting the education is going to become a deterrent for people thinking about pharmacy as a career. Many of us here are expecting pharmacy salaries to stagnate, even go down. At some point, all these factors are going reach the public and fewer students will decide to go into pharmacy. And, as Steve says, some of these pharmacy schools will fold. Pharmacist Bob stated that “money is not everything in life. I now would prefer to live out of my car than take this BS from these pathetic greedy MPH companies”. This attitude may eventually filter down to these prospective students and discourage them from pharmacy. As more and more of us complain about our jobs, this is going effect the publics view of pharmacy. Currently, it is viewed as a lucrative career. Eventually, it will viewed as a ‘bad’ career of which no one wants.
    -
    Steve has touched on something that I have thought about for a long time: “I think that the best things that most of us can do is to get our fellow pharmacist to read the half-dozen or so pharmacist blogs that like like JP’s. So they realize they’re not alone and not experiencing this alone.” I highly concur with his statement. And, here is something that I have thought about a lot: “The chains basically keep us isolated…”. This isolation factor is one of the biggest deterrents to change in pharmacy initiated by pharmacists. Again, another comment by Steve: “If nothing more we can get more and more pharmacist to read blogs, the more they will understand how bad the situation is for everyone. And maybe we can make some progress collectively”. Only by ideas from pharmacists, will pharmacy be changed from within. Ideas are very powerful! We are not just here ‘complaining’. We are spreading ‘ideas’ about pharmacy. And, if you look at the participation on this one thread, you can see that our ideas are ‘touching’ and resonating with more and more pharmacists. JP’s blog has become a meeting place for like minds, and it has become a learning resource too! We are learning from one another about conditions in chains all across this country. We are learning about pharmacists bringing lawsuits against these chains. So, if I had to say one thing about this blog to describe it, then I would say that it is a ‘learning resource’ for pharmacists. Can you imagine the impact if every pharmacy student read this blog? What if every pharmacy school recommended this blog to their students? Pharmacists, as a group, have been slow to respond to the outside forces that affect pharmacy. In fact, they have done so little that it is pathetic. But, I am not so sure the future will be the same. There seems to be some movement by pharmacists to react to these outside forces. Whistleblower is one example. More and more pharmacists are choosing to sue their present or past employers. The comments I read here on this blog are encouraging. And, it may just be that pharmacists are reaching a point where they “ain’t gonna take it anymore”.
    -
    Just this morning, I was reading about our healthcare system, and here are a few things that were mentioned: “The United States has the world’s most expensive healthcare system, which government forecasters say will cost more than $9,200 this year for every man, woman and child. Spending growth has slowed in recent years, but costs continue to out pace inflation and restrain overall economic growth.” And, “Despite the nation’s massive healthcare bill, research shows that Americans die earlier and experience higher rates of disease than people in other countries – regardless of age, education, income, healthy behaviors or whether they have health insurance.” So, there are a lot of things wrong, not with just pharmacy, but our overall healthcare system. Just that figure of the cost averaging to “$9,200 this year for every man, woman and child” is enough to tell us that the current trend in healthcare is unsustainable. There must be major changes. In my part of the country, the population is becoming ever more obese. The healthcare costs for obesity are going through the roof. At some point, our healthcare system must address peoples ‘lifestyle’. We cannot tackle the problems in healthcare without tackling lifestyles. We can never get a handle on healthcare costs until we tackle lifestyles. There will have to be a major change in our perspective toward healthcare and our approach toward handling illnesses. With so many major problems confronting our societies, it may be that we will all have to make major shifts in our views toward life, living, and what encompasses a good society.
    -
    Some pharmacists may consider this site as a place where some whining, complaining pharmacists get together. I view it as a place where pharmacists come to share their thoughts and feelings about chain pharmacy, and I see this as something ‘positive’. Pharmacists are here, coming together, and sharing their work experiences and their thoughts toward their job and the pharmacy profession. Those thoughts…those ideas…those feelings are a powerful force. At first, it may not seem so, but it is ideas that affect the human world. As more and more of us share our ideas, the more those ideas will begin to impact the world outside the doors of our small pharmacy world. What I read on this blog is encouraging to me.

  68. Pharmacist Bob  •  Jan 10, 2013 @10:53 am

    Peon—great post and if blogs that had the bent for pointing out all that is bad were somehow linked for getting the message out. Wonder if Drug Topics allows advertisement that would list the links of blog sites that are promoting the idea of “take our profession back”, sites that will constructively move forward to strengthen our profession. The underlying premise that chains only rent our license is one of the big keys we hold, for now they hold all the money and the power that comes with that money, using it to lobby, using it to buy board members etc.

  69. Cathy Lane RPh  •  Jan 10, 2013 @4:13 pm

    What is relevant in these situations is that we’re under pressure from all sides to avoid mistakes with drugs, potentially deadly elements. The feedback in a blog validates our general level of anxiety and the strain we attempt to diffuse and counter at every corner, angle, juncture, and to support individual efforts to establish a strong basis for ‘doing the right thing’ when health and welfare of our dependents depends on the ‘job’ that we do.

    It defies physics that jugglers can keep the ball in the air all of the time.

    Then, we are asked to walk a tightrope, with or without a safety net while juggling.

    We do our duty for our fellow human beings in the capacity of the career/job we’ve been trained, then attempt to meet expectations of employers.

    Then we combat all the ‘forces’ against us, from our own frailty/fallibility, to technical assistance and assistants with unpredictable reliability, to those forced directly ‘out to get us’ for whatever reason (mostly competing interests of altruism vs business, whether financial or psychological).

    We used to have stronger fellowship in pharmacy society meetings until our interests became somewhat splintered artificially by our job descriptions and employment, whether we owe allegiance to the Federal Government, State Government, retail employer, hospital employer, etc.
    and shifting or obscuring ultimate focus somewhat from our patient to society, or an agency, and even to our profession, as we lose touch with individual patients.

  70. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 10, 2013 @8:14 pm

    Remember that old shampoo commercial .. She told two friends & she told two friends… Etc..etc..
    If you are reading these blogs from these vocal RPhs’ and the ones that post.. I have talked to RPh’s who have been in the profession for more than a decade and Jim’s name. Does not ring a bell ..
    You need to start emailing & and talking to your friends and colleagues about these blogs.. Everyone that we get to read or comment is one more step forward.
    You can figure that for every person posting there is another 200-400 just reading.. And maybe THINKING!!

  71. Whistleblower  •  Jan 11, 2013 @7:28 pm

    Straight out of the Maryland DC area comes a new CVS term. When lines form, staff must CRASH the registers. Does anyone really think this will work? Oh… All stools must be removed from the Pharmacy, cell phones are OK for now, but must be on vibrate. Things are getting bad, real bad for The DM and Pharmacy Supervisor to have Friday conference calls. Central Pa suits also had conference call… Same regional manager. My old store had lines all the to the drink isle.. That’s in the front of the store. Why don’t we start filming these lines… You know they watch you on film all the time.

  72. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 11, 2013 @7:53 pm

    All one has to do is put their smart phone in a foam cup and point it where you want to record and press the record button… I have been told that some of the smart phones will only record for 30 minutes before timing out.

  73. Pharmacist Bob  •  Jan 12, 2013 @8:22 am

    We would not whine and complain if we had a splinter. But our profession has been put on death watch. Complaining is warranted.

  74. pharmacyslave2000  •  Jan 12, 2013 @5:14 pm

    I’ll never understand “metrics”. Numbers on paper never tell the whole story, especially if the store is profitable. My store is a perfect example. We are continually above plan in regards to rx count and profitability. We meet most expectations of the other metrics. WE MAKE MONEY! However, our “QA < 15 mins." metric is 34%. This is now a problem. Forget the fact that WE MAKE MONEY, we need to raise that metric. This has led to an opening of Pandora's box. We are now under the microscope and EVERYTHING from work-flow to the cleanliness of the rx floor are being discussed. We have been threatened that things WILL change or changes will be made, and that means EVERYONE. I just don't understand why these corporations sabotage themselves. The purpose of a business is to make money. If you are making money and following the law then you are meeting the expectations of the business regardless of ancillary issues. Therefor, leave it the fuck alone! If corp. wants things perfect, then give us the tools to achieve that perfection, otherwise, step away and let the store operate and remain profitable.

  75. the truth  •  Jan 12, 2013 @5:35 pm

    Slave2000, talk to the reporter. I don’t change the times and honestly I couldn’t give a sh*t about 15 mins or less. My store was like that too until an incident occurred that I can’t talk about here. If a store makes money, reward them with more hours not more complaining. 15 minute waiters with a crappy staff, flu shots, conference calls, it’s a disaster waiting to happen and in our stores case, a lawsuit and a pharmacist who made that error left the profession. The stress and the aftermath was too much. The threats are used to get rid of rphs and replace them with hungry new grads. I met some of the grads who are floating, they are nice and very eager to work just about anywhere, anytime. We need to let the outside know the hazards of our jobs.

  76. pharmacyslave2000  •  Jan 12, 2013 @6:30 pm

    The most important statement “the truth” is “We need to let the outside know the hazards of our jobs”. Most definitely. Change is not going to come from inside the profession. It will come from public outcry. Our “patients” don’t care about anything other than themselves. They don’t care about staffing issues, metrics, conference calls, etc. They need to know that these corps. have expectations that can cause harm to them. That their health is NOT the most important thing, their wallet is. Once the public is truly informed of what goes on in retail, then things may change.

  77. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 12, 2013 @7:06 pm

    @truth send me a email the pharmacy alliance could -and will – do a press release about such incidents to the local/state media
    Steve@steveariens.com

  78. bcmigal  •  Jan 13, 2013 @12:40 am

    Slave, you are right that the public does not give a hoot about anything. Who cares about anyone else’s prescription, just don’t make a mistake with mine! And to those stupid people who did not get their flu shots in Oct and Nov and are now willing to start a riot over who was in line first: you are all idiots!

  79. Soul-Crushing-Hell-Hole  •  Jan 13, 2013 @9:43 am

    The culture of threats and disrespect of our profession strikes again.

  80. Soul-Crushing-Hell-Hole  •  Jan 13, 2013 @10:33 am

    We are the sheep they are the wolves. You know what happens to sheep!

  81. Peon  •  Jan 13, 2013 @1:28 pm

    pharmacyslave2000, like you, I don’t understand the metrics. As you probably know, I work for Wal-Mart. And, I actually give Wal-Mart a good rating as an employer. However, they have just jumped on the metric bandwagon. I have talked with people at the home office, and they like metrics. As you say, if a store is making money, and my store is doing very well, then why don’t they just leave that store alone? It seems they are determined to ‘shoot themselves in the foot’. Not only is our store doing well, we have plenty of tech help and things run pretty smooth there. We have very, very few errors. I don’t know that this store has ever had a serious enough mistake for the company to pay the patient any money, and we are talking about a 20 year old store. Yet, the DM has been ‘needling’ us about little crap, like how many times we send errors back to techs to fix, or how many times we are hitting a certain key on the computer, or how many people we get on the call list so that they will be called when their meds are ready, or how many people we call at home to tell them they have not come to pick up their meds. They have not been after us about signing people up for auto-fill. I am hoping that the CVS lawsuit will deter them from following in the path of CVS.
    -
    You said, “If you are making money and following the law then you are meeting the expectations of the business regardless of ancillary issues.” This is it in a nutshell! These idiot corporations have stores making them truck loads of money and they keep ‘harassing’ the pharmacists and techs. It makes no sense at all!
    -
    I fully concur with you: “If corp. wants things perfect, then give us the tools to achieve that perfection, otherwise, step away and let the store operate and remain profitable.” We keep battling worn out equipment and trying to keep drugs in stock. They should be concentrating on those things and not on this ‘piddling’ little crap!
    -
    By the way, I have started ‘needling’ the folks at the home office. I figure if they can pick on me that I can pick on them. :)

  82. the truth  •  Jan 13, 2013 @1:40 pm

    A little bird told me..CVS computers are down again today.

  83. pharmacyslave2000  •  Jan 13, 2013 @5:47 pm

    Peon, I’m sorry to hear that Wal-Mart is beginning to take this approach. I thought that the “big box” stores and grocery stores would stay away from this nonsense as the pharmacy is usually not their main profit center. I’m disappointed that corporate has decided to take this approach with my store. Not only are we profitable but we have a good ancillary staff and things run well. There has also been talk lately of decreasing ancillary help hrs. and I have no idea why. Again, if the store is profitable, running well and there are no errors WHY DO THEY ATTEMPT TO CHANGE THINGS! Maybe my lack of a MBA is preventing me from understanding.
    ***
    I blame most of this metric crap on CVS. As the “leader” in the industry, everyone else will follow them. The more profitable CVS becomes, the worse it will be for the rest of us as the other corps. will pick up their ideas. I’m hoping that the Feds. do become involved with the investigation of CVS’s business practices. We could use some help to put an end to all this.

  84. Whistleblower  •  Jan 13, 2013 @6:22 pm

    @the truth… You are correct the system was down again. I have host of relatives in the industry and CVS and from what I’m hearing it was a terrible day. Minimal help on a Sunday, flu shots, waiters because of the flu… This just in… Up and down all day, but down for a full two hours straight. What about those DUR checks? I just wonder how many patients get hurt every time this happens.

  85. unhappy pharmacist  •  Jan 14, 2013 @8:09 am

    CVS computers were down 2 hours on Sunday. Unhappy customers by the boat load. Gave a few pill here a few there if they had bottles. Otherwise they were told to check back later. No downtime filling on my watch! Billion dollar company can’t even keep their computers up & running!!! Something very wrong here. GREED!!!!!!!

  86. Peon  •  Jan 14, 2013 @9:41 am

    pharmacyslave2000, I blame the metrics on CVS too. If the FEDS get involved in the CVS case, then maybe this will be a bit of a deterent for other chains to follow in CVS’s foot steps.

  87. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 14, 2013 @10:13 am

    @Peon.. While CVS maybe one of the early adopters of metrics.. IMO.. I think that it may have more to do with Execs/MBA’s moving from the big box/grocery store industry into the pharmacy industry.

    As I remember… most of the BIG BOYS began implementing screen icons on the Rx dept computers in the early-mid 2000′s.

    Since most RPH’s don’t go to industry focused conventions – like NACDS and NCPA..they are routinely loaded with presentations of industry trends.

    Having been in both Pharmacy & HME business and having attended more of these conventions than I can count.. I often see in other industries where some trends must have been being promoted at a industry convention and many in a particular industry are implementing such procedures.

    In the last couple of years… pharmacy is bringing “frequent buyer cards” around.. which the grocery store industry was probably the leader in doing this.

    there is even one convenient store chain in my area has brought these cards into the mix.

    all of this is just an example of how each of these industries tries to emulate the other.. customers just don’t see all the back ground metrics that are being measured.. but .. I suspect that all are measuring more and more metrics

  88. Peon  •  Jan 16, 2013 @10:25 pm

    I know this off topic, but wanted to share it with all of you. As most of you probably know, I work for Wal-Mart. I learned today that there was a conference call in which my pharmacy manager was told that he is required to paint a wall. No, not all the walls in the pharmacy..just one side. It is suppose to be blue. The rest of the pharmacy is white. So, here we are, first of the year with one insurance problem after another, the height of the flu season, and some idiot at Wal-Mart wants a wall painted. I have heard of some crazy things, but this just about tops them all. I would really like to meet the idiot that came up with this idea. And, since when did pharmacists become painters? If I were a pharmacy manager, I would simply refuse to paint the wall. I don’t remember taking painting 101 in college. It was not required to be a pharmacist and I never thought it would be required in my job.

  89. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 16, 2013 @11:11 pm

    @Peon… you probably need to re-read your job description.. I would suspect that at the beginning or at the end there is some sort of statement

    “… includes, but not limited to…”

    Doesn’t Wal Mart have a maintenance dept… isn’t painting a wall PROPERTY MAINTENANCE?

    If I was the pharmacy manager.. I would paint the wall.. however.. one morning.. I would have the staff show up at opening time.. not open the pharmacy.. but keep the pharmacy closed until the staff and I finished painting the wall and putting everything back in place..

    They didn’t say that the pharmacy had to remain open during the painting of the wall.. did they ?

    don’t you suspect that there could be some cross contamination of meds being filled while the wall is being painted? Not everyone is a “neat” painter.. I have seen some people that believe that the faster you run the roller up/down the wall.. the better.. except for all the paint droplets being toss out by the roller..

  90. Whistleblower  •  Jan 17, 2013 @11:06 am

    Just spoke to a CVS RPH that is using 30-60 more hours than budget. 50+ flu shots in two days, high flu area, elderly population. Just doing what he needs to do to keep the patient safe.so proud of you nephew.

  91. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 17, 2013 @12:17 pm

    WOW.. just imagine if all the store did that.. it would amount to about 1/3 of the fines that CVS pays every year.. while admitting to doing nothing wrong… Their stock price could fall by pennies … Isn’t this counter productive to CVS’s new “we care about our profits” program?

  92. the truth  •  Jan 17, 2013 @7:10 pm

    Our DM has been allowing that for 2 weeks now b/c of the flu. Tech hours and this week some extra rph overlap. That was a nice break from running around with no food in my stomach. At another district the DM actually came in to help process the shots. They want that bonus bad.

  93. Whistleblower  •  Jan 17, 2013 @8:35 pm

    Wow… And in Harrisburg Pa the entire store gets lunch for the rest of the week…the entire district. The store I was in tonight could have used extra help, not a pizza!

  94. Pharmacist Bob  •  Jan 18, 2013 @10:44 am
  95. Peon  •  Jan 18, 2013 @8:33 pm

    Hey! Any Wal-Mart pharmacists reading this blog? Have you heard that Wal-Mart is requiring a professional to paint one of the walls inside the pharmacy? Yes, and by the way, that ‘professional’ painter is the pharmacy manager! So, all you Wal-Mart pharmacy managers…time to take some classes..learn all about painting. Maybe you should do some construction work on your off time, help build some houses, so you can learn how to paint. By the way, they are calling it a ‘professional wall’. You know it is a professional wall because a professional will have painted it! I would sure like to hear some comments by you Wal-Mart pharmacists out there. As you know, I highly rate Wal-Mart as a chain employer, but this one little thing is going to give them a bit of a ‘black eye’ within pharmacy circles.

  96. YoungGun  •  Jan 20, 2013 @1:52 am

    Ha! That’s funny, “This ONE THING will give Wal-Mart a black eye”. That and the $4 devaluation of the profession deal. Hey PBMs no need to barter with us over reimbursement rates, we will slit our own throats right in front of you. Wal-Mart has always been dead to me since that fiasco

  97. Pharmacist Bob  •  Jan 21, 2013 @7:43 am

    Here is a petition that is seeking change. Over 20,000 pharmacists so far and if they want this change perhaps they would go for more. Could we tap in to their email base somehow?
    http://www.change.org/petitions/the-president-of-the-united-states-recognize-pharmacists-as-health-care-providers?utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=url_share&utm_campaign=url_share_before_sign

  98. Pharmacist Bob  •  Jan 21, 2013 @8:02 am
  99. Peon  •  Jan 21, 2013 @2:18 pm

    Pharmacist Bob, the email address of the petitioners is not posted. The only way to get those email addresses, if they still exist, would be to hack into that website…which is illegal! I have found it a problem to gather pharmacist email addresses. As you may know, I was once heavily involved in TPA and I racked my brain trying to figure out a way to get all the pharmacists email addresses across the US. The only viable option that I could arrive at, was to buy a list. But, the cost was so prohibitive, that I scratched that idea. This is why you only get emails from spammers or big corporations…they are the only ones that can afford a list.
    -
    I did go to every pharmacy school website and extract the email address of every pharmacy professor that I could find. I believe that came to 2500 and I wrote a computer program that would send an email to each one individually. I think TPA actually touched and effected some of these professors and hopefully some of the information we gave them had some impact on their students.
    -
    What we need is the email address of every pharmacist in the US. It would help to know the location of where they work. I had thought about trying to get pharmacists to share the email addresses of pharmacists that they have in their email lists. If we all shared the email addresses, then we could build a database. I seriously doubt being able to gather very many addresses because pharmacist are notoriously apathetic.
    -
    Sometimes I comment on how great I think JP’s blog is. It is one place that we can come and share our rants, our ideas, our complaints, nutty things our companies or doing, share ideas amoung each other, try to help one another, and try to find ways to improve pharmacy for pharmacists. Imagine what it would be like if every pharmacist in the US came here to blog? What if we could reach every one of our fellow pharmacists? I have the conviction that all us coming to together would slowly bring change to our working environment. Our collective voices would have an impact.

  100. Peon  •  Jan 21, 2013 @2:47 pm

    This is for professional painters….
    -
    Please apply for a pharmacy manager position at Wal-Mart. It seems that one of the qualifications for working in a Wal-Mart pharmacy is to paint walls. Good painters are badly needed! You will receive pharmacy manager salary and benefits. You will be required to be responsible for EVERYTHING in the pharmacy, especially painting the walls. There is a number of metrics being drawn up at the home office, to which you MUST comply. No paint spills are to be showing anywhere. No smudges on adjacent walls. You will be rated and your evaluation each year will depend on how well you painted the wall. Please provide references and pictures of walls you have painted.

  101. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 21, 2013 @5:13 pm

    I heard that a couple of pharmacy schools are considering starting a residency in Rx dept repair/maintenance.. :-)

  102. Peon  •  Jan 21, 2013 @6:50 pm

    Steve, what will the classes be named? Something like Painting 101. Plumbing 101? For years we have had cabinets made of presswood, the backs of the drawers would come off, the front of the drawers would come off, the rails would come loose. You would not believe the many times I have taken a hammer and nails to those cabinets. Finally, one of them just fell apart and we threw it in the garbage. So, I suppose we should add Carpentry 101 to that list. :) Since I am having so many problems with the obsolete printers, maybe there should be an Electronics 101 too? I am beginning to wonder if we need to take any pharmacy classes. With the coming over supply of pharmacists, we would no longer have to worry about a job. We could always start painting houses, doing plumbing, and building houses. Think about the job security! I bet we would get breaks. No more customers complaining, bitching, and harassing us. Ahhh…this sounds better and better. :) :)

  103. pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 21, 2013 @7:09 pm

    The electronics would require a second residency of 1-2 yrs… and it would take that long because you would have to deal with telephones, computers, faxes, POS registers, copiers, alarms systems , lighting within the Rx dept…etc…etc..
    The first residency could be called Rx dept basic facility management and the second could be called Rx dept advanced facility management.

    that would follow our current functions of “disease management” and medication therapy management (MTM)

    I think that you have hit on to something promising :-)

  104. bcmigal  •  Jan 21, 2013 @9:20 pm

    Steve and Peon….I like your style!

  105. Pharmacist Bob  •  Jan 23, 2013 @8:23 am

    War has been declared. The chains will manage you out by metrics. We have no choice but to fight to the death of the chains.

  106. Unhappy Pharmacist  •  Jan 23, 2013 @10:38 am

    Steve & Peon,
    Don’t the chains have pharmacists doing some of that electronic stuff already? It has been my experience that the pharmacist working at corporate are there because they can’t handle the retail side. I worked with several pharmacists who tried retail because $$$$ was better. However, they lasted 6 months to a year & went back to the office because of the stress!!!!

    PS Ever watch undercover Boss? I think chains should try this to see what we deal with!! Oh wait, they don’t care!!!!!

  107. impatient  •  Jan 24, 2013 @10:05 pm

    If there were a certificate course in pharmacy computer/network/equipment/software maintenance/repair and the pay/benefits were right, I’d gladly return to my chosen field. Just not WAGs. I worked in their corporate HQ for 10 months and couldn’t wait to get out of that stultifying, backward-thinking, Jurassic place. Even my friend Charles Walgreen hated the place.

  108. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jan 24, 2013 @11:04 pm

    @Impatient.. here you go

    http://www.ashp.org/DocLibrary/MemberCenter/SOPIT/InformaticsBrochure.aspx

    pharmacy informatics

  109. Pharmacist Bob  •  Jan 25, 2013 @11:37 am

    Evidently employees now have a right to post regarding the deplorable working conditions that they endure at their place of employment. Let me be the 1st to say, that until said company improves working conditions, allows a realistic labor model, for all of the BS that they want—look for a job elsewhere, not good here. You can fill in the blank as to what company that might be.
    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2012/10/fired-for-fb-tweets-nlrb-rulings-draw-lines/

  110. Mookie  •  Jan 28, 2013 @6:05 pm

    Unhappy -
    I’d love to see a retail pharmacy on Undercover boss. I would have loved to see some of those goons from corporate work the bench the first couple of weeks in January….with insurance changes, flu shot frenzy….no additional support staff. I’d like to see how their “metricS” would pan out!

  111. Pharmacist Bob  •  Jan 29, 2013 @10:14 am

    Sounds deplorable to me Mookie, all good reasons to organize!
    Anyone seen this site?
    http://cvssucks.blogspot.com/2005/10/welcome-to-anti-cvs-blog-yo.html

  112. the truth  •  Jan 29, 2013 @12:55 pm

    You should try facebook and the cvs owns my soul website on there. Plenty of funny, yet true stories about how CVS keeps cutting hours, pay and increasing responsibilities and how they reward top mgt for the hard work of the pharmacy and store staff. The S in CVS should stand for servitude.

  113. Fired  •  Feb 6, 2013 @11:10 am

    So, lets talk Pharmacy Alliance. I have followed the website & found it to be ineffectual. I can appreciate huffing & puffing and I’ve done my fair share of it myself. I walked away with my head held high after I was fired since I knew I had done the right thing. I, personally, don’t want to pursue legal assistance since I was ready to retire which probably made it easier for me to stand up for myself.

    However, now we are looking at specific legal actions that require these pharmacists to give up thousands of dollars and/or their future employability. For myself, I’d rather support the organization specifically for monetary grant requests for those who are entering these legal battles.

    Is there any way The Pharmacy Alliance can work toward setting up a legal defense fund? If now, how can we facilitate this? I’m hopeful your readers can give input.

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