Guilty. Take Him Out Back. To His Knees. A Bullet To The Back Of His Head.

Jp Enlarged

I had a long telephone talk with a pharmacist who was summarily terminated by a chain on very flimsy evidence under really difficult circumstances.  Divorcing your technician and continuing to work with her is not a good idea.  We all make mistakes.  This, however, begs the questions:  Who was she fucking?  The written story below is, indeed, an abbreviated version.  A higher management person with this chain was an ex-member (I believe he said president) of the State Board of Pharmacy.  0.029%?  How many of you have had a beer at noon with the cold pizza from the night before when you were due at work at 2:00 PM?  This is not a predominant Islamic culture.  A drink is allowed.  Many years ago, I had a 12 ounce glass of beer at a restaurant with my lunch during my one hour lunch period.  I did not go back to the pharmacy for two hours.  I knew better.  Never again.  Since we had only one pharmacist for the day, I lied.  Told the store manager to consider himself lucky.  I was sick to my stomach and was tempted to just take the rest of the day off.  

I did not even ask our colleague if he had a toddy a couple hours before his shift.  As he said, an airline pilot is not dinged until 0.04%.  He is getting a royal hosing here.  The chain probably had been planning on getting rid of him.  Apparently, the technician is the one who “turned him in”.  Wife, divorce, custody battle!  Soap opera.  How did she get so close to management?  Was it a set up?  I keep circling back to a quick grope and rustling of clothing and quickened breathing in the manager’s office going way back, while the pharmacist (husband) was holding down the fort in the pharmacy.  Just like many of us:  A hard working, loyal dumb rat.

This pharmacist is in West Virginia now, living there and looking for more dependable work.  Those of you in West Virginia (or who have contacts there) let’s give him a hand.  You may not have a job, but you may have a lead for him.  It would be generous to share your network with him, give him an introduction into the West Virginia pharmacy culture.

I have his contact information.  Get in touch with me at jpgakis@hotmail.com and I will hook you up.

Jay Pee

This is a brief synopsis of my story.

My pharmacy license was suspended due to accusations of alcohol abuse. Alleged event occurred in 12/2011. I was told that my PBT (preliminary breath test) registered .029 %. This occurred as I was summoned to take a random drug test on my way in to work that day. At the time, my now ex-wife, with whom I was going through a divorce and child custody case worked at the same location (as a pharmacy technician). I asked for, but was not allowed to prove my innocence through a much more definitive BLOOD ALCOHOL TEST.

I was terminated and have since been referred to the state board of pharmacy which has subsequently suspended my license. I have been in pharmacy practice since 1997, and have never had a problem prior to this.

I have retained an attorney and also have a brother who has been a trooper with the state police for 20 + years. Both have acknowledged that PBT’s have a margin of error, for many potential reasons, and therefore must be followed up with a more definitive test. Also, please understand, even airline pilots do not face disciplinary action with a blood alcohol content of less than .04. Higher than what I have been accused of. Furthermore, no accusation of any misuse of drugs (prescription or illicit) has ever been placed against me, as I have never had a positive drug screen at any point in my career. Has anyone ever been through a similar situation or have any advice for me?

In addition, I have complied with every stipulation that the board of pharmacy has asked me to do. I have seen many health care/mental health/substance abuse professionals and all agree that there is no problem and that I am more than fit to practice pharmacy.

Should I just say the hell with it and get out of this rat bastard profession, after all the years and sacrifice ???

 

65 Comments

65 Comments

  1. anonymous  •  Feb 22, 2013 @10:28 am

    Depends on the store. At one store, all of the rphs voiced concerns that a tech was using street drugs and coming in to work high. Management said their hands were unless we caught him using on site. Did your employee manual/policy have a clause for alcholol use? I believe you were set up but it’s impossible to prove.

  2. Pharmaciststeve  •  Feb 22, 2013 @11:16 am

    Every random drug test that I have had to take.. did not involve a PBT? Was this customary for this chain as part of their random drug test?

    here is a definition of alcohol abuse
    http://www.ehow.com/facts_5529119_definition-alcohol-abuse.html

    Of course hindsight is 20/20.. refusal to allow a blood test raises a lot of concerns. Someone -who as their wits about them under such a situation – which is not easy.. because you are in a state of shock.. Claim to be violently ill or even faint/collapse.. get taken to the hospital so that the blood test can be done.

    Did they allow this fellow to finish his shift? Or discharged him on the spot? If they allowed him to finish his shift..they sure didn’t seem to have much concern about his “impairment”..

    If he was discharged on the spot… he should have went and gotten a blood test.. they could have back calculated what his blood level would have been when he showed up for work..

    If they had someone in the wings to take the shift.. then it was all planned.

    Making false allegation about a professional and having some action taken against their license could virtually kill their career.. Some companies are refusing to hire anyone that has had any action taken against their license.

    I suspect that there is a substantial back story to this whole issue.

  3. bcmigal  •  Feb 22, 2013 @1:01 pm

    Most companies do not allow relatives to work in the same store, let alone the same department, esp in a supervisory capacity. So that situation is surprising. Sorry to sound unsympathetic, but most pharmacists try to avoid even a late night out to avoid working with a hangover. The attorney can advise him re random drug testing and the Fourth Amendment. Or maybe the ACLU?

  4. Pharmaciststeve  •  Feb 22, 2013 @4:23 pm

    I am really concerned that they used the word “abuser” as opposed to “impaired”.. His breath test could have suggested that he was “somewhat impaired”. Abuse would suggest knowledge of a long term abuse – over use – of a product.

    How would they have first hand knowledge of long term abuse/use of alcohol.. to come to the conclusion.. of being a abuser?

    If his attorney could get them to make the claim that he was “impaired”… then the argument could be made that anyone with low blood sugar, migraine, depressed, antihistamines, chronic pain pt using fentanyl or just any opiate is/could be impaired .. and have not been discharged for being “impaired”

    I would also look into if breath test is SOP for random drug test with the company. Of course, it is the one chain that pays fines almost weekly, they are use to writing checks with a lot of zeros on them.

    Who did the breath test.. was the person properly trained to administer it and was his/her training credentials current… when was the last time the machine was tested/maintained/calibrated… was it within state law or manufacturer’s recommendations.

    I have read where court cases have been thrown out because of the failure to have such things current.. If so, could force the BOP to reinstate the license and exspouge his records.. and the chains would just have to get their check book out

  5. YoungGun  •  Feb 22, 2013 @10:49 pm

    Funny, I thought 0.02% was the general margin of error in these PBT’s? Any lawyer who isn’t a complete fuck up should eat this Chain’s lunch. Pharmacist Steve made some good points. The husband and ex-wife should never have been allowed to work together in the first place

  6. the truth  •  Feb 23, 2013 @10:05 am

    I know two rphs who have been caught abusing and or stealing meds. They both went through the board’s program and have jobs less than 2 years from when the infraction happened. One is truly rehabbed. The other just quit pharmacy b/c the temptation is too much (she is much older). The first girl was ratted out by a tech (at CVS). CVS as far as I had known in my old district let relatives (cousins, siblings ) work together but not spouses. The DM should have done something about that, not the PDM but the FE DM. As far as I know the only stores that look at your record are Walmart and Walgreens and Wegmans. The others don’t really take a hard look at your background (just my observation of who they hire).

  7. pharmacyslave2000  •  Feb 23, 2013 @11:01 am

    These stories always leave me with a lot of unanswered questions. Why was a pharmacist working with his technician ex-wife? That is an absolute disaster in the making and very unprofessional. Secondly, why did the pharmacist have ANY alcohol in his system? I’m no prude but I don’t drink anything on a day when I would have to work a later shift. It’s just not a good idea, period. Everyone’s entitled to do what they want but you have to be responsible for your decisions. As always, we only get one version of this story and I’m sure it’s much more convoluted than it is presented here.

  8. Pharmacist Bob  •  Feb 23, 2013 @12:28 pm

    Iced tea would have been the better choice. I get a serious buzz with one beer, I know from a recent lunch experience on my day off. Yes—it was a good one.

  9. Pharmacist Bob  •  Feb 23, 2013 @3:35 pm

    Anyone doing more scripts this year with less help budget?

  10. Goose  •  Feb 23, 2013 @5:16 pm

    Just want to weigh in here folks. First of all being accused of anything that could cost you your job is serious business. Being at work is no different that a traffic stop. You have rights, as any citizen does. Where the event happens makes no difference.
    I saw this happen at CVS several times and heard about it many more. Somebody would be accused of something. Management or Loss Prevention would have some “evidence” and would take an employee in a private area and start brow-beating them.
    Keep in mind that none of these people had the legal right to restrain the person or hold them against their will. They were under no legal obligation to answer any questions or to even say anything. At any point, they could have left the area without saying a word.
    That however, usually didn’t happen. They would talk and LP would get a confession. LP always admitted later that if the suspect had just kept their mouth shut, they didn’t have a case. Even when they were on camera. Assume when at work, you are always on camera because they have some pretty good ones.
    If you are in the same situation, don’t take any tests, don’t admit to anything, don’t say anything and call your lawyer immediately. They cannot hold you. Know your rights. This stuff always happens to people who think because they didn’t do anything wrong, they’re safe.
    When the right people are involved, NOBODY is safe.

  11. pharmacyslave2000  •  Feb 23, 2013 @5:45 pm

    Goose, you are absolutely correct. Loss prevention are not the police. They have no right to hold you against your will or interrogate you. They prey off of fear and intimidation. You do not owe them an explanation of anything you may be accused of. If they want to pursue something, they will need to get the appropriate authorities involved.
    ***
    On a side note, we just got the “revised” CBT of the “social media policy”. Holy shit! Apparently RAD OWNS their employees. It amazes me that there is not more protection from one’s employer once you are “off the clock”. My opinions and comments are my own and I’m entitled to them. Fuck RAD!

  12. the truth  •  Feb 23, 2013 @6:18 pm

    slave, I know that policy and it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on. I have known rphs, techs etc that get away with murder on social media and RADs is aware of it. Nothing happens. But if a tech is having a bad day and decides to bring out their inner bitch, you had better be sure that HR will paying the so called offending party a visit. LP didn’t interview the rph, HR did and it was one hell of a one sided convo. The only ways you will be fired from RAD are as follows: steal drugs, violate hipaa and get complained about it by customer, steal money, be physically or verbally violent towards coworker with witnesses. That’s it. otherwise you are just punished by being made to float or put in a hellish store. I have older rphs punished first. Younger ones take their place. And no, no one is doing more rxs with less help. And you should not b/c then they will think they can do this over and over.

  13. Pharmacist Bob  •  Feb 23, 2013 @7:10 pm

    I heard hours may have been reduced over last year at CVS, is that true? Same number of scripts less hours to do the same job as before? As far as social media,I thought the NLRB ruling took care of that? http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2012/10/fired-for-fb-tweets-nlrb-rulings-draw-lines/

  14. Pharmaciststeve  •  Feb 23, 2013 @8:25 pm

    @ Bob.. the word I heard … is that CVS implemented a new workflow system called “We Care”… and cut tech help 10%.

    IMO.. that is so intelligent … bringing on a new way to work… cut the ancillary staff 10%… at the busiest part of the year with Rxs and flu shots…

    I wish I was that smart – NOT !

  15. Pharmacist Bob  •  Feb 24, 2013 @8:49 am

    Funny, I think they used to tell the pharmacists if you increase the volume of scripts you will get more help, and look what they did, took all of that help away. They can’t grow 10% anymore unless then expand the business to China, and I wouldn’t put it past corporate greed to do that. For now growth comes from cutting labor. Does that not rile up the pharmacists, dam the torpedoes, this is just more bad shit. Screw the shareholders as they are evidently the true culprits and a guilty corporate culture mindset bent on performing for the shareholders. Change that caricriture to Merlo (with a chin that looks like Jabba the Hutt) with spurs and whip riding the pharmacists (greyhound) chasing the rabbit ($$) ching ching.
    The TPA is starting to sound good, we need a national something, with all pharmacist on board. State laws are part of the problem for pharmacist as they allow the companies to make the pharmacist work 14 hours salaried with no overtime, or law-mandated lunch etc. That is slavery in my book compared to states that have worker protection. The NLRB said employees can discuss their working conditions, and the conditions are worthy of union formation and giving corporate and the shareholders in essence the middle finger.

  16. bcmigal  •  Feb 24, 2013 @10:31 am
  17. the truth  •  Feb 24, 2013 @12:15 pm

    They all copy off each other. Another big chain last week, you now have 9 tech hours per 100 rxs rather than 10. That’s 10 percent drop while rxs are down. Not my problem mail order is king. Maybe they should stop building so many stores and cut back on unneeded spending.

  18. Pharmacist Bob  •  Feb 24, 2013 @1:04 pm

    The shareholders benefit from this decrease in labor, but who pays for this decrease in labor? Our profession is paying dearly by degrading to something less than professional.

  19. Pharmacist Bob  •  Feb 24, 2013 @6:26 pm

    Soon to be a floater in Brazil unless your metrics improve. Just think what they can get away with in countries that don’t have labor laws.
    When I die I want my epitaph to read-worked at xyz/pharmacy—now free at last.

  20. broncofan7  •  Feb 24, 2013 @10:58 pm

    9 tech hours per 100 rxs???? But aren’t most of these chains open 12-14 hours a day? It should be 1 tech hour for every hour of operation…and perhaps 9 hours of clerk help for every 100 rxs….we average 190-200 rxs a day so far in 2013 and are open 9 hours a day…I have 2.5 techs and a clerk all 9 hours…that is minimal staffing that allows me to counsel patients, talk to doctors talk to drug wholesalers about pricing and to occasionally (usually once every 3 weeks) call insurance companies about a reimbursement on a MAC’d generic that is below my current AQ cost……

  21. Mookie  •  Feb 25, 2013 @8:45 am

    Our tech hours were cut by %15 for the new year but our script budget was increased by 100/wk. Our new computer system is supposed to be so effecient that we don’t need those hours anymore. Um, ok.

  22. Peon  •  Feb 25, 2013 @10:07 am

    Pharmacist Bob, CVS already has stores in countries with no labor laws — the US! If you can be fired for any reason, and your only recourse is to hire a lawyer, then there are no labor laws. The plight of employees in the US is shameful. Those worthless bums in Congress should be ‘tarred and feathered’! It is everything for the corporation and try to fool the citizens. Those bums in Congress have been trying to fool us for years. The presidents are puppets for the military/industrial complex and the big corporations.

  23. bcmigal  •  Feb 25, 2013 @1:25 pm

    I once had an awesome tech (note the past tense) who planned on becoming a pharmacist. After 2 years of working with us, he went to medical school. He said that our customers don’t respect us and the company does not respect us. I would have to add that we do not respect ourselves. The only thing that matters is the stock price. Everything else be damned.

  24. Pharmacist Bob  •  Feb 25, 2013 @2:13 pm

    bcmigal– I am sure every pharmacist in the US would agree. In this age, every pharmacist should be e-connected, a e-mail to all and a click for response to give the national pulse of pharmacist on any issue. Let’s call it the Pharmacist Pulse

  25. the truth  •  Feb 25, 2013 @7:03 pm

    if we do 2300 rxs a week we used to be allowed 230 hours a week of tech help. now it’s 2300/11 so less hours roughly 209 hours a week. we have several full time techs and part timers had their hours cut. broncofan, you’d die at a chainstore.

  26. prickly pharmacist  •  Feb 26, 2013 @7:41 am

    Walmart is already very big in Brazil. They even have the equivalent of $4.00 generics! Hopefully, CVS will drown under the mountain of paperwork required to do anything in Brazil and stay in the southern areas.

  27. Mookie  •  Feb 26, 2013 @11:39 am

    Broncofan- wow…my store’s volume is just slightly less than yours (I’d say we average 175 or so a day)…and we have no tech overlap except for 1 hr on Monday and 1 on delivery day. So it’s just 1 rph and 1 tech on at a time. I spend a good chunk of my day ringing register.

  28. WrongAid  •  Feb 26, 2013 @12:04 pm

    @bcmigal
    We’ve had a tech here that basically all her life has wanted to be a pharmacist (don’t know why, maybe her family is the business). Anyway, I take full credit for talking her out of it. It would have been the mistake of a lifetime and I let her know it. Her intent now is med school and to use this ad a temp job as it should be. Oh to have been told the truth all those years ago.

  29. McPharmacist  •  Feb 26, 2013 @12:52 pm

    Every pharmacist I talk to that used to recommend becoming one doesn’t anymore…no way in hell will I let my kids become one

  30. broncofan7  •  Feb 26, 2013 @10:39 pm

    Pharmacists should rarely if ever be on the register IMHO. TO me, the PBM’s have a far more deleterious effect on our profession than do the chain drug stores. I remember interning while in school @ Walmart and my preceptor telling me that when he became PIC in 1989 with Walmart they let him run the entire dept(staffing hours,etc)but as time went on and the PBM’s really started cutting margins, the store management in Bentonville felt compelled to control everything centrally (EVEN THE AIR CONDITIONING!)..If not for the PBM’s “reigning in the needless healthcare spending on Drugs” (COUGH,COUGH), I feel as though the work environments at the chain stores would be better than they are currently…..reading this blog, I see the chief antagonist for many as being the management @Chain stores and I think that’s a little misplaced. But I do consider myself fortunate to be “my own boss” and I have done PRN work at chain stores in the past while I worked @ mail order and @ a PBM doing PA’s — Though I certainly didn’t feel like customers respected me while I was wearing the logo of the chain store and counting them change for their purchase of Oreos, tampons and D batteries……the “independent practitioner ship” seems to have sailed unfortunately for our profession as most patients have been conditioned to go to a Pharmacy based on the chain’s reputation for service and price rather than the Pharmacists and Technicians running the operation….couple that with the fact that most of us come out of Pharmacy school with college loan debt and the promise of a 6 figure salary while working for someone else and the risk of putting one’s own wealth on the line to start their own Pharmacy seems like a much too risky proposition…..I hope that’ll change in the future but what I really think is that we’re going to have more consolidation in our industry/IE more mail order and more preferred Pharmacy networks that cut out other retail outlets by virtue of charging the patient a higher copay for using the other Pharmacies–IT SHOULD BE ILLEGAL BUT SO SHOULD AN INSURANCE COMPANY BEING ALLOWED TO OWN THEIR OWN PHARMACY AND DIRECT PATIENTS TO THEIR PHARMACY VIA COPAY INCENTIVES OR SIMPLY MANDATING IT OUTRIGHT. On a lighter note, I also have a food counter at my store and I added a 6 flavor soda fountain, a 2 flavored slushy machine and a wide assortment of REAL ICE Cream with the old time glass sundae dishes, etc…So I’m in the ICE CREAM business now too(wish me luck!)…but honestly, I’m just trying to ‘get mine’ while I can and by 2020 (I’ll be 43 then)I plan on hiring a FT RPh and working about 5-7 days a month….

  31. Pharmaciststeve  •  Feb 27, 2013 @5:48 pm

    @Bronco… as a society, we have had it drummed into us over and over.. about big retailers..

    “we got big.. because we have low prices.. and we have low prices because we are big..

    Conversely

    Any place that is small must have high prices.. or they would have gotten big as well..

  32. Peon  •  Feb 28, 2013 @9:28 am

    I am questioning whether big equals lower prices. It may have in the past, but the overhead of becoming big has gotten to be a lot more. It is almost mind boggling the overhead which Wal-Mart has. There are so many laws in which to comply and ever law makes a company spend money. At my Wal-Mart pharmacy, there is a guy that comes once a month to pick up our ‘hazardous waste’. That consists of a few EMPTY bottles of Warfarin. I doubt that there is another chain that does this. Have you ever looked at how much powder is left in an empty Warfarin bottle? It is about nil! There is the paper work and this whole matter is treated like it is priority number one…. a life or death thing. It is totally crazy! But, then again, that just goes along with my concept of chains and government having gone totally bonkers.
    -
    At one time, Wal-Mart was considered a near master at marketing. When I look at it today, it looks like a mess. Just try finding something in the pharmacy otc section. I believe they have totally lost their midas touch. They exist because they are big and a person can walk into one of their stores and buy most anything they need. As far as pricing, I think they are losing to some of these dollar stores…like Dollar General. Where big was once a good thing, it now equates to more complexity and more complexity increases the difficulty of managing it. Take the fact that Wal-Mart is a multinational company, then you begin to see how complicated it is. When I phone the home office, the first message asked: ‘Are you calling from the US?’.
    -
    Another thing that I am seeing that we are losing with the ‘big’, is reason and logic. We have all these stories here about pharmacists being fired for the most ridiculous reasons. That is because these big corporations have ‘policies’. Violate a policy and it is ‘black and white’. You are fired! Forget to pay for a candy bar and you are fired. Steal a million dollars and you are fired. There are no ‘gray’ areas. And, as we all know, life is not clearly black and white. In fact, most things and situations are ‘gray’. The big corporations are acting like dinosaurs. They have these little on and off switches. Flip a switch and you are out the door. Flip a switch and a new human robot takes the fired ones place. I can’t wait until we are all forced to have plastic surgery so that we have a smile on our face all the time. At some point, they will probably be wanting to implant something in our brain to make us always act like a corporate robot, and they can control us all the time.
    -
    About becoming a doc instead of a pharmacist, – I am wondering if that is a better choice? Docs are increasingly becoming pawns of the big corporations. You can see how much time a lot of these docs offices spend on getting PA’s for all these patients. I question this and I question why they ever started doing it. Since when did PA’s become a doc’s problem? If the docs and pharmacists had simply refused to play the PBM game, then there would not be any PA’s. Yesterday I got a refusal to pay for Omeprazole. One of the other choices, they would pay for, was Nexium. Now, you go figure that one out! Does KICKBACK come to your mind????

  33. pharmacyslave2000  •  Feb 28, 2013 @2:21 pm

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my job. I find myself asking “why?” much more often. Why do I do this job? Why does the corporation make it virtually impossible to succeed? Why would anyone want this career? Why do we get zero respect from anybody? So my question for you all is also “Why?” For me the answer is simply money. This was never something I wanted to do with my life. It was the best of what was left after my initial plan failed to work out. Don’t misinterpret this as meaning I am not good at what I do because I feel that I am. I play all the corporate games and do my best. I’m always early for my shifts and I’ve missed a grand total of 1 day of work due to illness in 12 years. Obviously this all means nothing to the corporate overlords but so be it. Money is what keeps me showing up to deal the heap of shit that is piled on everyday but my patience is wearing thin. So, to everyone else, “Why?’

  34. YoungGun  •  Feb 28, 2013 @7:24 pm

    Peon – my chain Rx has us collect the Warfarin bottles too! I was keeping the hazardous waste bin in the bathroom…..Big Mistake! I got a lecture from the PDM about diversion of the hazardous waste! If you want to go luck the dust off the empty warfarin bottles then be my guest!

    PharmacySlave – Why? Why not. If we can make 6 figures+ working only 40 hours a week indoors then why not? As much as we live to complain about how much retail pharmacy sucks, it kind of makes us sound like assholes. Don’t get me wrong, the American DeathCare industry is a shameful overpriced scam designed solely to part you from your money as fast and efficiently as possible! I absolutely hate that I am associated with it! But then again, my wife gets to stay at home and my kids get to grow up with many opportunities I never had. So why do I do it other than the financial aspects? I live to work against the system and save people time and money. I talk to people who take brand name drugs to see if they would be interested in a similar generic and I promote preventative care as much as possible. It makes me smile to take $ away from big pharma and put them back in patients pockets. Patients love it to and will remember the pharmacist who saved them $1,000+/yr. The amount of waste in the system is astromical! Dermatologists are the worst. They love to give $700 brand name Rx’s like Solodyn and Oracea before even trying generics. We need to educate these people!

  35. Pharmacist Bob  •  Feb 28, 2013 @9:05 pm

    Young Gun and all let us not forget that the corporations cannot exist without us. Some of these companies have done quite well overtime as evidenced by how many thousands of stores they operate. This expansion comes at the expense of our profession, and dis-respect of our profession. These companies to not respect our profession nor the professionals they employ. To say they do is pure BFS. Our profession must take back the dignity from these greedy BBMFsobFA’s! This capitalism has gone too far!

  36. ph  •  Feb 28, 2013 @9:18 pm

    Since they cannot exist without us, the wages we receive etc. are the minimum entitlements that our profession deserves. We could have so much more and we should. Perhaps they should be half the size that they are.

  37. Pharmaciststeve  •  Feb 28, 2013 @9:32 pm

    What they have done to/with the profession not withstanding..

    Just think what the work schedule/environment has done to individual Pharmacist’s mental/physical health?

    IMO.. anyone who believes that they are immune to this… is seriously in need of some “talk therapy”

  38. Peon  •  Mar 1, 2013 @12:25 am

    YoungGun, that is hilarious about the diversion of hazardous waste. First, the minute amount of warfarin powder left in those bottles pose no hazard. Second, the idea that there could be diversion of the hazardous waste(which is not really hazardous at all) is ludicrous. This is just an example of how ‘far out’ these corporations have gone. There is a complete loss of reason and logic.

  39. Pharmacist Bob  •  Mar 1, 2013 @7:20 am

    Peon—it is government regulation requiring the disposal of hazardous waste. Do you think for a second that the corporations would give a rat’s ass unless they were told to? They are not proactive when it comes to spending any money unless profits will follow.
    Steve-besides the total dis-respect delivered to the pharmacy profession you are right, now these companies are moving into new territory by destroying our mental health and physical well- being. It is a torture of sorts. Paid to endure torture, you want to quit, you hope to quit, and you can’t even recommend this as a job to you siblings or anyone else.

  40. Goose  •  Mar 1, 2013 @12:30 pm

    Do all of JP posts always morph into a discussion about staffing and working conditions?

  41. Pharmacist Bob  •  Mar 2, 2013 @7:30 am

    Until the teeth of the chains and pbms get kicked out, I guess so.

  42. Pharmacist Bob  •  Mar 2, 2013 @7:32 am

    The warrior is on it again

  43. Peon  •  Mar 2, 2013 @7:41 am

    Pharmacist Bob, I am quite aware that it is a government regulation. Whether it is company policy that originated by the company or originated by government policy, it is STUPIDITY to the extreme! Wal-Mart is usually ahead of the curve when it comes to government regulations. My guess is they know they are number 1 in the governments ‘gun site’. After all, if you were a government regulator, which company would you check and fine first?

  44. bcmigal  •  Mar 2, 2013 @1:29 pm

    Goose….in a word, yes. The obsession with the “metrics” has forced sacrifices in patient care and pharmacists’ professional judgement. We are told we are not “meeting expectations” if we do not listen to voicemail in 15 minutes, answer the phone in 98%, have a “reach rate” on adherence calls of 70%. The list goes on and on. Why should this not be our number one topic?

  45. bcmigal  •  Mar 2, 2013 @1:30 pm

    Sorry, I meant answer the phone in 20 seconds and have a wait time/ promise time of 98%.

  46. Peon  •  Mar 2, 2013 @10:37 pm

    The answering a phone in certain number of seconds is ridiculous. There is one thing that has always bothered me about businesses. Who is more important? The customer in front of you? Or, is it the potential customer on the phone? Who came first? The customer in front of you should be first priority. You answer the phone when you have finished waiting on the customer. Same should apply to pharmacy. If everyone in the pharmacy is either waiting on a customer or in the middle of counting medication, then the phone should be last priority.
    -
    Have you ever been in a business and you just started telling the clerk what you wanted, the phone rang, and the clerk quickly grabbed the phone and began ‘waiting on’ the person on the phone? It is rude! If they answer the phone, then they should tell that person on the phone to hold on because they are already waiting on a customer.

  47. bcmigal  •  Mar 2, 2013 @10:49 pm

    We must answer the phone in 20 seconds, but then we can put the call on hold. Although our voice mail message still says that messages are checked on the hour, the computer “timer” gives us only 15 minutes. Ignoring this can put us in the “challenged” column.

  48. bcmigal  •  Mar 2, 2013 @10:50 pm

    PS if you think Google and Verizon have a lot of data on you…..the chains are way ahead in this game.

  49. Pharmacist Bob  •  Mar 3, 2013 @7:06 am

    Bcm- those metrics prove you are just a guinea on the wheel, in a non-professional environment, working under a culture of dis-respect to the profession of pharmacy. Now that the NLRB says we have a legal right to discuss the work environment. Nobody is complaining about money except how much money the companies actually make off of our profession. BCM is right, the ideals of pharmacy are being squashed (patient care and pharmacists’ professional judgments), running on the wheel like a guinea with is tail on fire is mental torture. By all means we should not allow this dis-respect to our profession or the professionals. It will not get better as they look for even more ways to cut labor costs and increase their profits.

  50. bcmigal  •  Mar 3, 2013 @5:08 pm

    CalOsha takes this hazardous waste stuff seriously:

    http://www.rifuture.org/cvs-fined-for-dumping-medical-waste-hypodermic-needles.html

    This includes not only empty warfarin and phentermine and vaccine bottles, but every pill dropped on the floor and every med returned by pts for one reason or another. Every item must be labelled with the NDC and scanned out on a weekly basis. Anyone who does not take this seriously gets more than a scolding.

    Bob, thanks for the BCM reference. I like it!

  51. Pharmacist Bob  •  Mar 4, 2013 @10:30 am

    There must be a class action lawsuit here somewhere. Damages due to the destruction of our profession! What say you fellow professionals?

  52. bcmigal  •  Mar 4, 2013 @11:58 am
  53. pharmacyslave2000  •  Mar 5, 2013 @8:51 am

    Thank you bcmigal. That is exactly why we are where we are as a profession. As pharmacists, we really need to re-evaluate our expectations for the profession. This is not “healthcare”, this is retail. We are employees of multi-billion dollar public companies who are responsible for the sale of a product. We are judged by our employers by the amount of product we sell and the speed in which we do it. No one cares what we know or how long it took to learn it. We are simply keepers of a product, a necessary evil because some antiquated law says that we have to be there for our product to be sold.
    ***
    As CVS’s profits soar, our conditions will become worse across the board, no matter who you work for. The corporations will all follow the same formula CVS does, force fewer employees to do more. To hell with safety, if you can’t do it we’ll find someone else to work to death to try to get it done. The worst part, this is celebrated as “good business”. I remember reading an article some time ago about Amazon. They had ambulances on stand-by outside of some of their warehouses to transport employees to the hospital as they collapsed form the extreme heat inside the facility and the non-stop work. This was actually viewed as a positive by stockholders as it showed the company was doing anything necessary to increase profitability. How far away from this type of environment are we? We are not protected by some “professional status”.
    ***
    Not to start a political argument, but re-imbursements WILL decrease further under Obamacare. How are the corporations going to keep that profitability? Things will get worse before they get better.

  54. Wrong Aid  •  Mar 5, 2013 @11:02 am

    Personally, I have no hope for anything better. I plan on riding this train right off the cliff then worrying about what to do. There are only four options for our future. Here they are in order of most likely to least likely.

    1: Status quo with the same gradual decrease in working conditions maybe leveling off at some point. Sounds great doesn’t it.

    2: Laws change and pharmacists are no longer required to be on site. Think video counseling and remote checking (maybe even tech checking only). Ever wanted to be a call center employee? Even that may not be an option if they outsource.

    3: A form of national healthcare evolves over the next several years. Under a national system, the profits of pharmacy will not allow 6 figure pharmacists. More likely in the mid 5 figure range. Conditions would be better as less micro-managing and profit schemes would exist. I personally wouldn’t want to deal with the public for that salary.

    4: Corporations/Publicly traded entities are banned from healthcare. No large chain pharmacies allowed. Yeah, I know! :)

    As I said, I’m riding the train off the cliff. My only goal is to warn potential pharmacy students. The only “good” I feel I can do. Maybe some dumb 20 year old will actually come across these posts by a google search before committing their mistake. I think I’ll change my screen name to Mr. Positive.

  55. anonymous  •  Mar 5, 2013 @11:24 am

    Reading from the other sides point of view changes things. I recently left retail b/c of all these BS practices. It feels strange not to wake up every morning and mumble to myself, ” I hate my job”. It was my mantra for the past several years. It feels wonderful not to work my ass off and get threatened for write ups. My advice, look for something outside of retail. There are several hospital jobs in my area but my heart is not in it. Save your money. I did and am not averse to working outside of pharmacy. Salaries will top off and eventually go down for the new grads. I saw it already. CVS, as evil as it sounds, and yes, I used to work there, is nowhere near as evil as Rite Aid. Just b/c people don’t complain about Rite Aid, (they do a lot less business) d/n mean they don’t suck. They have waged war in the past 2 years on rphs via write ups for anything and everything. Flu shot quotas, now it’s zostavax quotas. Hours were slashed drastically before CVS did the same. Yet BS positions opened up in Harrisburg for special employees and they got paid handsomely. Years with pittance raises or no raises at all. Sick time, you must be smoking crack. It comes out of your vacation days. Horrible techs and tech spies, everywhere. I believe they recruit them straight from drug rehab facilities. Don’t hate on CVS alone, they all suck. Here’s a bit of advice to the chains, stop recycling your loser DMs and hire someone who can actually make a change for better.

  56. pharmacyslave2000  •  Mar 5, 2013 @12:42 pm

    WrongAid, I swear you and I were separated at birth! Lol. I’m on that that train with you, right over the edge. However, I do have a back-up plan already in motion. Hoping to be out of the “profession” by the end of the year. At least that’s my goal. Wouldn’t mind if it was sooner though.
    ***
    Anonymous, you are correct. RAD is getting much worse. It used to be a decent company to work for. They always treated me fairly and the metrics weren’t that ridiculous. Oh how times have changed! The new fiscal year has brought insanity along with it. I never believed in the “tech. snitches” until now. We’re dealing with the repercussions of one as we speak at my store. I’ve never felt so threatened and bullied as I do now, and we are actually one of the most profitable stores in the district! I can’t imagine what’s going on at some of the lower volume stores. This feels like the last, desperate acts of a company in the death-spiral. They’ve thrown out all respect for those who have tried to “right the ship” from the poor business decisions of the previous management team. Oh well, see you at the bottom.

  57. Wrong Aid  •  Mar 5, 2013 @1:20 pm

    RAD is so bad I’m positive they are just straightening up for a buyout. That’s why they don’t care how you get the numbers just as long as it will show up on a piece of paper for the buyers. “Look guys, it’s right here in black and white. 80% of our customers are loyalty card users. Look! There it is. And look at this, 40% use our Automated Courtesy Refill program. That’s guaranteed money guys!” I only have one question: WHEN!

  58. anonymous  •  Mar 5, 2013 @2:26 pm

    I left that sinking ship for a better future, one where I am in charge. No buyout for these losers, no one I mean no one wants this has been hell hole of a company. Maybe if you fire all the Eckerd losers, the tons of VPs and made up jobs in HQ and do something about the massive fraud that has infiltrated all the stores. Even after that, nope not interested. Gather up all the evidence of fraud and coercion etc that you can. Document and when you leave forward that anonymously to the authorities.

  59. bcmigal  •  Mar 5, 2013 @3:30 pm
  60. bcmigal  •  Mar 5, 2013 @3:33 pm

    sorry here is the article from Drug Store News:

    Rite Aid tops drug chains in customer satisfaction, as Publix, Target, Costco lead among supermarkets, mass, clubs

    FEBRUARY 26, 2013 | BY ALARIC DEARMENT
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    Walgreens takes top honors for MTM services
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    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Several pharmacy retailers got top place in a recent consumer satisfaction survey.

    A report released Tuesday by the American Customer Satisfaction Index ranked Rite Aid at the top among drug store chains, with a score of 77, a 3% improvement over last year. Walgreens gained 1%, for a score of 76, while CVS ranked 75, a 3% gain. The survey noted that CVS hit a low two years ago due to cost-cutting efforts.

    “The improvement in overall customer satisfaction is positive news for consumer demand, but with a caveat that a good portion of the gain comes from federal and local government services,” ACSI founder Claes Fornell said. “Looking at the economy as a whole, low inflation, shrinking household debt and pent-up consumer demand are starting to fuel consumer spending. At the same time, however, economic growth will be hampered by a still-tepid job outlook, low wage increases, high gasoline prices and the economic uncertainty created by our politicians.”

    Publix got a score of 86, a 2% gain, over Whole Foods, which came in at 80. Kroger’s ranking remained unchanged, at 79, while Winn-Dixie increased 4%, to 78. Supervalu, Safeway and Walmart were in the mid-to-low 70s, at 76, 75 and 72, respectively. Costco’s score was unchanged, at 83, while Sam’s Club lost 1%, for a score of 80. Target received a score of 81, while Dollar General got 78.

  61. broncofan7  •  Mar 5, 2013 @7:26 pm

    The Germans and French do it RIGHT! Germany

    Germany is the biggest pharmacy market in Europe with €35 billion, or $46 billion, of revenue each year. In Germany, pharmacies are known as “Apotheken”. Like France, they are all independently-owned by pharmacists, and like France, there are no pharmacy chains. In hindsight to consumer protection, German law bans chains of Apotheken, but generally allows self- employed pharmacists to individually operate a maximum of four outlets, all of which must be in close proximity.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pharmacies

  62. broncofan7  •  Mar 5, 2013 @7:31 pm

    http://goparis.about.com/od/gettingaround/a/Paris_Pharmacy.htm

    If you need a prescription refilled immediately or are looking for over-the-counter medication to alleviate a flu or headache, forget about finding a corner drugstore in Paris– they don’t exist. Look for a flashing green cross instead. In France, only pharmacies are permitted to sell most over-the-counter medications, and pharmacies are rarely found at supermarkets, contrary to North America. Use this directory to Paris pharmacies open late or 24 hours a day to find a location close to where you’re staying.

  63. Wrong Aid  •  Mar 5, 2013 @10:42 pm

    Drug Monkey’s blog is back. Thought some of you might like to know.

  64. Pharmacist Bob  •  Mar 6, 2013 @9:38 am

    Lot’ of good stuff here. I will pretend to be the romper room lady and look in my mirror to see who I see. I see pharmacyslave has pointed out what it is—truth hurts. I see wrongaid and slave riding this train wreak over the cliff. We should not say “sweet angel of death-take me now”! We need to serve it up to the destroyers of our profession. It is very sad about are profession.

  65. I am John Galt  •  Mar 6, 2013 @11:48 am

    Big Chain pharmacy is beyond redeeming. They OWN the State Boards, even those where Big Chain Execs don’t actually serve on them.

    Friends, I am convinced the only hope to take pharmacy back from the soulless bastards is to literally take the business away from them.

    All the makings are in place for a new golden age of independent pharmacy. It can be done. I’ve seen it done. Easy? Nope. You need money, you need good people. You’ll find yourself facing countless hassles that some nameless “corporate” person handled behind the scenes for you at the Big Chain. The ever-lowering reimbursement rates from government and private insurers are going to hurt you at least as much as the big boys. And remember what I said about the State Boards, you bet you’d better walk the line and be pure as the driven snow in your operations.

    BUT…

    If enough good pharmacists and techs can break away from the chain cabal and go into business for themselves, and succeed – THAT will be the only way to bring change to the landscape.

    They will either start to realize that employees are more than tools, or…they will double-down on their stupidity and bring about their own demise, as they set new lows for good customer service (and safety).

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