Another Bullet To The Back Of the Head

Jp Enlarged

Many of you have figured out where I work two days a week.  I am not going to publish that information yet.  When the sale of one of our two houses closes, we will be gone.  For weeks, I will be a Florida retired guy.  I will wear shorts and get my hair cut when I want to.  Good coffee in the morning with the papers.  A scotch whiskey in the evening with Victoria.  My Kindle, a table in the shade at the pool I like the most in the afternoon.  I’ll take a bucket of ice and a jumbo Diet Coke.  That is all I am going to do for weeks.  My ambitions and a project will wait.

The company I have worked for treats their people very well, I believe.  I am only in one spot, but I watched as a marginal, very slow older pharmacist was coached multiple times.  I believed that he was a lost cause, but, the last I heard, he was still working.  A pharmacy manager in his early 30s, was a lost cause.  Really incompetent as a manager and not that good as a robo-dispenser.  After 4 years of coaching and correcting, he was asked to step down.  As far as I know, he is still working.

Then we have Big Evil, Big Stupid and here comes Wal-Mart.

Hello,
I was a female Pharmacy manager, just turned 52, who was just recently
fired from Wal-Mart for a “Policy violation”. I worked in Flint MI. at
a Sam’s club for 7 years as the PIC. I Built the business on strong
trusting customer relationships. I was always there for my patients,
and my business grew.

I took pride in the customer service I gave. I was happy, loved my
job. Loved my co-workers. I would have done anything for Sam’s. I
literally would bend over backwards to help out my company.

Then, Feb 20th 2013, at 7pm right after my shift… My Pharmacy DM
showed up, with someone I had never seen before, he said, after you
close the pharmacy, you need to come and talk about a previous issue
in the pharmacy.. I said OK….then at 7pm I closed and I was taken
into the Office by my Pharmacy Supervisor, and the stranger from loss
prevention… and told I was terminated. Stone faced, inhuman,
uncaring, no explanation except for a “you left the Pharmacy from
5:38pm to 6:30 pm on 1/23/2013″. I said that doesn’t sound like me. I
would never just leave and go out in the store and waste time….
Where did I go? I am aware I am on 27 billion cameras within the club.
They would not answer me. I tried think back. Why would I do this?
Well, while I was sitting there stunned and blind sided .. I said to
them, I must have been doing CBL’s, in this very office.. It was
coming back to me. …It was a very cold sub zero week in Michigan
during January. I used the time of quiet to go do a learning module
that was late. I left my Tech in the pharmacy while I kept running
next door to click through the modules. I remember I kept coming out
and checking on her, She kept saying she was fine, no customers. Don’t
worry, all is fine. so I finished my modules. Little did I know, I was
putting the Death Nail in my Career with Sam’s. I thought I was using
my time wisely, getting things done, being efficient, as I NEVER have
time to get these Learning modules done. The modules don’t run on the
Pharmacy PC’s. So I have to do them on a different computer.
(by the way, these modules talk so much on discrimination, for age,
race, gender, etc.) How Ironic! I’m Female, and 52! The Male Rphs do
the same thing with no repercussions! The “Policy” has never been
enforced in my entire career with Wal-Mart as far as I know.. My male
co-worker were shocked. one told me he is shaking…physically shaking
right now ….because he leaves the pharmacy too!. and he hoped they
were not watching the cameras on him!

I had no Idea I was doing anything wrong..

So, I was in oblivion about the over supply of Rphs and how
frustrating the RPh job search can be… I am now trying to find
employment. I just have a BS in Pharmacy, no Pharm D…

I stumbled across your web-site because I was looking for Pharmacist’s
fired from Wal-mart, and looking to see if I had a discrimination
case. I have been learning so much about Pharmacist’s my age being
killed off.
The thing is in my district area, Wal-Mart doesn’t fire the older men.
I was the oldest female they had.. as far as I know…..It is quite
fishy, as Wal-Mart called me and told me I am rehire able, but must
wait a year. they also admitted to me in a phone conversation, they
know my “Intent” was not bad..and they did not want to let me go. ???
They also admitted they took this up as far at the Wal-mart Vice
president of operations, and the Sam’s Vice president of operations…
both divisions…so strange….

48 Comments

48 Comments

  1. the truth  •  Mar 15, 2013 @12:22 pm

    I am so sorry this happened. This is what I have been warning about for months now. Someone in the store snitched on you. In some chains you get a reward of 500 dollars or more for snitching. Any little violation, and we are all guilty of something, and they will get you. In our district, a PIC would regularly leave the pharmacy and go in his car to get lunch on weekends and nights (only rph on duty BTW) and LP found out. He was not punished. Women usually are. Get a good lawyer please.

  2. Cathy Lane RPh  •  Mar 15, 2013 @1:09 pm

    Counter-sue. Any number of reasons. Not having the proper equipment in the pharmacy to do the job requirements. When I worked PRN for Wal-mart, the bathroom was clear across the football field of the store and there was no accommodation for nature when it was called. When I knew I was assigned a shift there, I wore disposable undergarments and did not drink anything for the ten hour shift. I’m sure the rationale was ‘so long as I was on the premises’. One store, I recall, not only had the bathroom across the building, but up a long flight of stairs. (Has anyone every attempted to ‘hold it in’ for five hours, then run across the football field and up a long flight of stairs? Definitely discriminatory for those on furosemide!!) Not allowed time off-duty to meet job requirements, if applies. Discrimination, allowing some people to get by with leaving without same harsh (and arbitrary) uncontestable decision. Arbitrary and capricious managerial whims. Not allowing professional discretion in matters of holding the shop door open. Etc. This pharmacist should bring the matter not only to civil court but to the pharmacy board, one should think.

  3. bcmigal  •  Mar 15, 2013 @2:38 pm

    They are right….get a really really good attorney. The BOP won’t give a hoot, so go to one of the govt agencies. I do not believe that there is a company in the world that does not turn a blind eye to “bending” of labor laws. There are many “short cuts” that could be viewed as insurance fraud etc. I do not think you will have much luck with an age discrimination claim unless you can show it is deliberate and widespread.
    BTW, shame on Sam’s for not having the modules available on the pharmacy computer. How are you expected to complete them? At home for free?
    Good luck. And please take care of yourself.

  4. BlindHawg  •  Mar 15, 2013 @4:31 pm

    FWIW during my tenure as a retail PIC it was explained to me that I had to document 3 occurrences of the same violation of company policy in order to fire a technician or clerk. It is a shame the Rph wasn’t able to record subsequent conversations where representatives of the company stated that she was eligible for re-hire. I’ve never heard of a pharmacist being fired and then told “Oh, we’d like you to come back to work for us in a year”. Definitely consult with a labor attorney while you continue with your job search. LikeJim and Steve say, document,document,document. Apparently the old line”Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you” is now true in corporate retail pharmacy.

  5. AnotherJim  •  Mar 15, 2013 @5:42 pm

    Practically every policy at Wal-mart includes the following….”discipline, up to and including termination…” Plenty of room to be capricious and random.

  6. prickly ex pharmacist  •  Mar 16, 2013 @7:24 am

    And my friends in pharmacy wonder why I am not looking for another job! I am now living on what I paid in taxes last year and it is still better than being in that environment. Thank goodness my husband and I don’t have expensive tastes. Save your money and get out before you go crazy.

  7. broncofan7  •  Mar 16, 2013 @8:08 am

    What a terrible story; I sincerely hope that there is more to this story as being fired for performing a job duty that is unique to SAMs/Walmart (CBL’s) while not technically leaving the store (just the department)seems petty, illogical and quite frankly immoral. Best wishes to you.

  8. pharmaciststeve  •  Mar 16, 2013 @1:16 pm

    So, I was in oblivion about the over supply of Rphs and how
    frustrating the RPh job search can be… I am now trying to find employment. I just have a BS in Pharmacy, no Pharm D…

    I am concerned that this belief/attitude is epidemic within the profession and could explain a lot of things that we are having to deal with.

  9. PharmacistCathy  •  Mar 16, 2013 @4:44 pm

    Thank you for all the support. It is nice to know We Pharmacists can stick together, and lend an ear or a word of encouragement to eacy other.
    The concern I have about the BS Pharmacists who have never ventured away from retail pharmacy, is, we have peg holed ourselves into just one aspect of our profession. I see there are many opportunites out there in jobs “off” the counter, they just require either some experience in Hospital/Residency, and/or advancing our education. In my research, I have found 3 options:
    1. obtain a Pharm D at an online University, example;
    Universty of Florida offers a working professional
    degree. 3 years to obtain, expensive, but an option.
    2. MTM (Masters in Medication Therapy Managment) 2 years
    to obtain, On line again, less expensive..
    University of Florida offers this degree also.
    3. Become a Board Certified Specialty Pharmacist.
    Ambulatory care, Pharmacotherapy managment, Nuclear,
    Cancer, etc. This option is much less money to
    obtain, and is self pased study, you take the test when you are ready.

    I am seriously considering more education. I believe with the new health care bill, Pharmacist will be utilized in more of a “hands on” patient setting. We can expand into a new role in Patient care. Obama care is going to want lower cost Pharm-D’s, MTM Rph’s, PA’s, and NP’s to fill the void because of the looming Doctor Shortage. We Pharmacist are cheaper than MD’s..We will be used in PBM’s to help control costs too. It’s all going to be about controlling costs.

    I didnt mention in my above post the Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club Metrics, and all the new programs added constantly to your job. These programs are expected and enforced…like compliance calls to fill meds patients have not asked for, calling the patient to come pick up there already filled medication several times during the week, Marketing/Health Events with quotas to meet, Doctor detailing (on your day off), Intercepts, and keeping track of all this on a log…all is expected to “drive sales” increase numbers, this is a MAJOR focus if you want to work at Sam’s.
    I have had time to do alot of thinking and evaluating my career path, and I think I may take it in a new direction! They took me out back, put a bullet to my head, but I’m still alive and kickin!

  10. PharmacistCathy  •  Mar 16, 2013 @5:09 pm

    each other
    …self paced, not pased ….

  11. Whistleblower  •  Mar 16, 2013 @5:38 pm

    You are so not alone…if I can be of any assistance don’t hesitate to reach out. It never gets any easier to hear these stories, and trust me I hear them daily.

    Joe Zorek
    Former CVS PIC
    717-236-0731
    717-343-0173
    Jzorek1@aol.com

  12. Peon  •  Mar 16, 2013 @6:58 pm

    The story of the female pharmacy manager is a strange one! As most anyone knows, that frequents this blog, I work for Wal-Mart. I have been working for them a number of years and I am quite familiar with their polices and procedures. I have never heard of a DM showing up with a loss prevention person and them allowing a pharmacist to finish their shift and then fire them. The way they handle this is to fire the person on the spot and escort them out the door. From what I can deduce, she was fired by loss prevention for ‘stealing time’ from Sam’s club. But, if she was doing a CBL then that is a totally different matter. In my state, we cannot leave the pharmacy, if only one pharmacist is on duty, other than to help a customer in front of the pharmacy. I got in trouble once for going to the restroom that was not inside the pharmacy. I was given a warning. This would be the only issue that I could see there would be a problem. But, since loss prevention is involved, that means that is not why she was fired. She was fired for ‘stealing time’. Now, the really big twist to this whole thing is that after a year she can be rehired by Wal-Mart. Talk about ‘fishy’…that sure sounds fishy.

    From what I can gather from her story, is that the DM and the upper management in the pharmacy division did not want to fire her and they are sympathetic to her case. I know a pharmacist that worked for Wal-Mart and was fired by loss prevention and he did eventually get his job back. But, his case went all the way to the top, the CEO of Wal-Mart. For her to get her job back, it will have to go all the way up to the person that can override loss prevention. None of the lower people can do it. If she can prove that she was doing a CBL, then I think she has a very good case. The question is whether to try to resolve the problem within Sam’s or to get a lawyer and sue them. The lawsuit route could take a long time because they could keep dragging it through courts for years. Appealing her case higher within Sam’s club would be quicker and she should not settle with them unless they pay her back pay for the time she is out of work. Sam’s is a division of Wal-Mart. I don’t know if the CEO of Wal-Mart has control over the pharmacy division within Sam’s. If he does, then she needs to take her case all the way to top.

    Personally, I would have to access what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go with this issue. If I thought I had a good case of winning a lawsuit and I could live without working for about 10 years and I was 52 years old, I would seriously think about getting a lawyer and going that route. With the settlement, I could then retire to Florida and join JP on the beach. :) :)

    This is a message to the lady pharmacist: I don’t know who has control over your case. If the CEO of Wal-Mart has that control, then I believe I can get you in touch with a pharmacist that knows what you need to do to get your job back. He knows the ‘ropes’ better than I do. Send JP an email and tell him to pass along your email address and/or telephone number and I will get back in touch with you. What you will find is that the people you contact within the pharmacy divison at Sam’s, may seem sympathetic, but they are not going to help you. Wal-Mart did have, don’t know if they still do, or if Sam’s has a similar person, that was in the HR department that could help people in cases like yours. The key to getting your job back is getting in touch with the right person and having them plead your case. I think you have a very good case!

    As far as discrimination between older guys and older women, I have not seen any of this within Wal-Mart. I think this is unlikely.

  13. Peon  •  Mar 17, 2013 @11:01 am

    I have come to the conclusion that our situation within the chains is not something unique to the corporate world. We have had it good, as far as employment for a long time; however, this has not bee the case for a lot of people in other industries. Our working conditions have not been ideal. But, at least, we had a job. Today, with an over abundance of pharmacy jobs, we are finding that we are in the same situation as everyone else in our corporate world. Corporations are not fair with their employees, nor do corporations act with any common sense. They are structured where policies and procedures dominate. It is easy to see why this is the case. When you have thousands of employees and you don’t treat them the same, you have problems. And, it sets you up for lawsuits. In a sense, corporations are trapped within their own worlds. They are structured as a hierarchy, much like the military. An employee can get trapped in a policy violation and lose their job. It can be something insignificant. Common sense does not apply. It is the company policy that applies. Because common sense does not apply to corporations, they can find themselves in very bad situations. Wal-Mart got trapped in the firing of one of their truck drivers and they had to pay out $8 million dollars over a $1 pack of chewing tobacco. The whole matter was absurd. But, this is how things are in the corporte world. We tend to think that corporations with all their billions, with all sorts of lawyers and high priced people, could avoid these stupid blunders; but, they don’t. It is much like they have trapped themselves in a cage of their own making that wraps them inside their own policies and procedures.
    -
    Workers have no recourse, other than a lawsuit, when it comes to problems with their jobs. I once argued with someone at the home office of Wal-Mart about the need for a ‘mediator’ to help solve problems between corporate and workers. Talk about not liking an idea! They sure did not like that idea. I think they assumed union. However, I see the need, possibly for a government representative, to act as a mediator when problems arise between a corporation and a worker. As the lady pharmacist that was fired from Sam’s, there should be a mechanism where she could present her case to someone that is neutral. That person could then determine if her firing was reasonable, and if deemed unreasonable, then present her case to corporate. This person should have some power. Actually, the power to override a companies firing. Workers should not be at the complete mercy of these corporations. I think we need to redefine work in this country. As it stands today, the CEO of companies makes millions of dollars a year, while the workers are struggling to put feed on the table; and, the workers are in the position of a slave with no where to go if they have a grievance. Capitalism is fine, as long as it does not make slaves of people. The root of capitalism is opportunity. When opportunity is lost, then capitalism is lost. The Laissez Faire attitude of companies toward workers needs to be changed.

  14. cathypharmacist  •  Mar 17, 2013 @12:08 pm

    Peon,
    agreed! They are trapped within there own Policy’s, No common sense. What happend to me was truely unbelievable.
    I really didn’t see it coming! I had just ordered 1000 Pharmacy Manager business cards!
    I planned on working until my retirement, socking catch up contributions into my IRA!

  15. bcmigal  •  Mar 17, 2013 @6:46 pm

    And just when you thought the “metrics” were bad, this comes along:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/tracking-employees-with-productivity-sensors-2013-3

  16. Peon  •  Mar 17, 2013 @7:18 pm

    bcmigal…that is scary stuff! The article makes the case that the sensors can provide information that can improve work performance. As it appears, this is truly ’1984′! Even the tone of a persons voice is monitored. These corporations are going too far! The notion behind the movie “1984″ was that the government would control the population. But, as it now seems, it will be the corporations that control their employees. Since everyone needs a job, these corporations have the upper hand.
    -
    Yes, very scary stuff! Who wants to have their every move monitored?

  17. Pharmaciststeve  •  Mar 17, 2013 @9:35 pm

    Sounds like “Stepford wives” at the corporate level..except it is gender neutral. Just wait until they perfect Humoids !

  18. pharmacyslave2000  •  Mar 18, 2013 @7:42 am

    Great post Peon. You hit the nail on the head. The corporations are faceless entities. They know no loyalty or respect, they only know profits. An employee is simply a number, a name on paper and we are no different. We have been fooled into thinking that as “professionals” we are somehow special. We are not. We must follow the same rules and play the same game as everyone else and we can be terminated just as easily as the front-end cashier. Most of us work in “at-will” employment states meaning there truly is no recourse except under extreme circumstances. I wouldn’t waste my time and money with a lawsuit. Just try to cut your loses and move on.
    ***
    One thing that has always bothered me, on both this forum and with other pharmacists I speak with in daily life, is the willingness of some to “bend over backward” for the company. Why would one have such blind loyalty to a corporation? The corp. does not care about you. You are an employee, a cost of doing business. As has been stated before, once you walk out that door for the day your good deeds and hard work are forgotten. You will only get burned in the end and then look back with regret and say, “Why did I bust my ass?” Don’t sacrifice the important things in life, i.e. time with family and friends, for some perceived “goodwill” you think may be generated by taking on that extra shift. You don’t owe CVS, RAD, WAG, etc. anything other than an honest days work during that scheduled shift. The more you do, the more that will be expected. We’ve done ourselves no favors by always “helping out” when called upon. Fuck your company, they’ll make their money whether you’re standing behind that bench or not.

  19. broncofan7  •  Mar 18, 2013 @8:50 am

    Spot-on analysis Pharmacyslave2000.

  20. broncofan7  •  Mar 18, 2013 @8:53 am

    And to the rest of the RPh’s who red this blog; get a load of this: FREE LIPITOR! Wegmans’ loss leader strategy illustrates the industry’s race-to-the-bottom strategy and exposes the industry’s unspoken reality:

    “Most consumers don’t need much assistance or advice when picking up a prescription.” –Dr Fein Ph.D. and PBM corporate shill who belittles retail Pharmacy at every chance he gets…..http://www.drugchannels.net/2013/03/what-free-generic-lipitor-says-about.html

  21. broncofan7  •  Mar 18, 2013 @9:02 am

    Dr. Fein PhD. is the source for legitimizing the corporate bean counters rationale for the budgetary constraints that lead to the adverse and dangerous work conditions that all of you complain about at the chain stores. He is also a paid consultant for large PBM’s, one of which is led by this man:

    http://ncpanet.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/express-scripts-continues-its-assault-on-community-pharmacy/

    “At the end of the day … Nexium is Nexium, Lipitor is Lipitor, drugs are drugs, and it shouldn’t matter that much who’s counting to 30,” asserted Mr. Paz. This quote was attributed to Paz by Tom Murphy, the AP’s business writer.

    Mr. Paz is not a pharmacist, but rather he has a finance background. In 2003, he joined ESI as its CFO. Most people with any knowledge of business understand that a CFO is not a glorified “bean counter”, and by now, Mr. Paz certainly knows that pharmacists are not pill counters.

  22. Goose  •  Mar 18, 2013 @11:04 am

    Since we are in the middle of “March Madness”, I’m going to reference a comment I once heard Bobby Knight say about a fellow coach that he was friends with. The coach’s program had fallen on hard times and he was losing more games than he was used to. To get competitive again, he started taking “shortcuts” to bring his basketball team back to national prominence. In other words, he was cheating. Coach Knight mentioned to a reporter when the scandal broke that he suspected something was amiss long before anyone else.
    The reporter asked him how he knew and he said that he could tell by the relationship the coach had with the players he coached and the way they talked to the coach.
    Knight said that no way a coach would have put up with that unless the players had something on him.
    The reason I’m bringing this up is all the “snitch” talk I hear. Are there cases where the tech “has” something on the pharmacist?
    Just curious, because I have never worked in an atmosphere like that. When I was a PIC and worked for PICs we always had total control of the pharmacy. Most of the supervisors I have had would have insisted on that.
    I have talked to some retail folks I know recently and they don’t see it either.
    Not trying to start a shitstorm here, just trying to understand.

  23. Pharmaciststeve  •  Mar 18, 2013 @1:28 pm

    @Goose..

  24. Pharmaciststeve  •  Mar 18, 2013 @1:52 pm

    @Goose..

    What I think that we are dealing with today… as opposed to the environment that we were “raised in”.

    It is now more costly to train a tech to do all the administrative duties than to bring in a new RPH.. let alone the price difference in pay.

    We have been “forced” to turn over all the administrative functions to techs and we all know how the administrative functions have multiplied over the years.

    Since I only work as a temp… I see this on a routine basis.. I walk into a pharmacy that I may have never worked in before.. and all I have to know how to do is unlock the door.. turn off the alarm.. The techs operate the cash register, the Rx computer, pulls off the e-Rxs, fax out refill requests. I have to take VM messages and talk to pts and doc offices… verify Rxs and over-ride computer alert stops.

    We have reached a point that a RPH is a RPH… we come to the job “trained”… we have no “brand” of our own.. we could -for all practical purposes – be a faceless body to the corporate and most of the pts.

    If a tech quits… the new tech is most likely trained by the existing techs.

    It would seem.. and there seems to be justification for – that the tech is more valuable and “cheaper” than the RPH to the operation of the Rx dept… at least from the corporate perspective.

    This would suggest that the tech have a sense of this as well as the PDM’s.. stroking their egos to reinforce this attitude.

    IMO.. this along with the RPH surplus has created some very “powerful” techs. I have been told by some RPH’s even in the hospital setting.. dealing with the same attitudes.

  25. the truth  •  Mar 18, 2013 @5:40 pm

    I knew you didn’t work a harsh retail job Goose. A tech snitch is a tech who watches every move a rph makes. A snitch can either lie or tell the truth. Most snitches lie. We call them snitches b/c they goto HR or DMs directly. HR at the chains loves to hear complaints about rphs whether true or not. Is the rph being mean to you? Making you work past your shift? Shopping while on duty or coming into work late and leaving early? Yes, sir, I feel uncomfortable working with this rph. Goodbye rph! Don’t be too friendly. I see most rphs on Facebook making the mistake of adding techs as friends or making their profiles public. You are only fooling yourself. Be professional and keep work and social life separate. Any moment could be the moment when your friendly tech stabs you in the back. If you suspect one and are PIC, by all means write them up and start looking for a replacement.

  26. normpel  •  Mar 18, 2013 @8:28 pm

    Here’s my advice. Get out of retail! You only have a B.S.? Well, if you’re lucky, you might get a job in a large hospital where you will not have to enter any orders, not interact with any nurses or doctors. No pressure. Just check technician’s work. The state laws require a RPh to check techs (at least in most states but that will eventually change). You just need to be able to read labels and make sure the product matches the label (strength, etc.). No hassles, no pressure. Unfortunately, you need to be able to get one of these jobs and they are hard to get but check around. Likewise for nursing home pharmacies or prison pharmacies. There are jobs like this but you have to do a little detective work to find them. They are not particularly challenging but they are suitable for someone in your situation. Good luck!

  27. normpel  •  Mar 18, 2013 @8:28 pm

    Here’s my advice. Get out of retail! You only have a B.S.? Well, if you’re lucky, you might get a job in a large hospital where you will not have to enter any orders, not interact with any nurses or doctors. No pressure. Just check technician’s work. The state laws require a RPh to check techs (at least in most states but that will eventually change). You just need to be able to read labels and make sure the product matches the label (strength, etc.). No hassles, no pressure. Unfortunately, you need to be able to get one of these jobs and they are hard to get but check around. Likewise for nursing home pharmacies or prison pharmacies. There are jobs like this but you have to do a little detective work to find them. They are not particularly challenging but they are suitable for someone in your situation. Good luck!

  28. Pharmaciststeve  •  Mar 18, 2013 @9:10 pm

    @Normpel… you may be a day late… One of the largest LTCP is now working on computer checking tech.. the only thing that RPH’s have to verify is the correctness of the order entry tech into the computer system from the faxed order from the LTC. In fact, I am told that this company had a handful of 5-6 million dollar custom robots that can fill either boxes or cards that goes to a LTCF. I have not seen one of these robots.. have just been told about them from other RPH’s that have seen them. Reportedly, they can fill 12-15 boxes/cards a minute.

    I have seen a copy of a letter from the one of the state BOP’s that I am licensed in that gave this company special permission – from the practice act – to do computer check tech – over TEN YEARS AGO..

    I have seen the future.. and it is based on high utilization of techs…

  29. Peon  •  Mar 18, 2013 @9:41 pm

    pharmacyslave2000, I fully agree with you regarding chain pharmacy and that we should not bend over backwards to do anything for our chain. We don’t work for a person. We work for a ‘corporation’. Despite the supreme court ruling that a corporation is a ‘person’, it is definitely not. It is an impersonal entity that only knows policies, procedures, metrics, and ‘bean counting’. It has no ‘common sense’. No sense of ‘responsibility’. It is much like a machine that will eat you up and spit you out. You are just a ‘cost’ to them. You never generate any goodwill with them. You are dispensable. Do your job and go home. Don’t put in any extra time. When it is time to close the pharmacy, close it! Never mind if people are still wanting prescriptions filled. It is not your responsibility to take care of people after closing time. Once I see that I have all the prescriptions I can fill by closing time, I stop taking prescriptions. People can leave them for the next day if they like. How many pharmacists take that last prescription at closing time, then learn the patient has never gotten medication there before? The next problem will be their insurance. You may find yourself on the phone calling the insurance. Before you know it, you have put in an extra 20 to 30 minutes.

  30. Pharmaciststeve  •  Mar 18, 2013 @11:54 pm

    I heard someone make the comment the other day – on TV – that a corporation’s first legal responsibility is to their stock holders. To me.. that puts everything into perspective.

    That is one reason I like temping as a independent contractor.. I work/get paid BY THE HOUR.. they want me to stay after normal closing time to get things caught up or take special care of a pt’s need.. I am more than happy to comply… The old pay clock just keeps on ticking…

    I normally leave on time…and have yet to have anyone say that I should have left at a certain time and not going to pay me for any time over that… that is the last time that I stay over.. if.. I accept a shift at that place again..

    One place that I temp the most.. the regular tech/deliver staff… are very glad to see me close for the night.. since in LTCP.. the phones go off at a certain time and you work until everything is done and out the door.. I have one of the best – if not the best – average time of getting people out the door within the shortest time after the phones cut off.

    Personally, I think that it is pretty pathetic .. when the tech/deliver staff looks forward to “the temp” working the closing shift.. over most/all of the regular RPh staff…

    IMO … it has a lot to do with me keeping focused on my tasks and not trying to micro-managing the rest of the staff in what they are suppose to be doing..

  31. YoungGun  •  Mar 20, 2013 @1:50 pm

    This is completely off subject, but something needs to be said because there are probably a few of you on this blog who don’t understand how these discount cards work. One of the major PBMs (I think it is express scripts) has been mailing out “pharmacy discount cards” in droves to its MEMBERS (our patients). They love to send these “discount cards” out along with notices explaining that a certain drug (or class of drug) is not covered. PPIs are the main one that comes to mind. IF AT ALL POSSIBLE DO NOT ADJUDICATE CLAIMS TO THESE DISCOUNT CARDS. I can’t believe it hasn’t been taken up previously in this blog, but these discount cards are a way for PBMs to steal margin left from one of our only good reimbursing segments of our patient population left, cash customers. BroncoFan7 can back me up here I’m sure. Let me explain how these discount cards work. They typically advertise savings of up to 70% to the patients or what not and lately I’ve had lots of patients asking me about them. What they really do is give the patient some shitty discount like 10-15% off of full retail price THEN POCKET THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT THE PATIENT ACTUALLY PAID AND WHAT YOUR PHARMACY’s CONTRACTED REIMBURSEMENT RATE WOULD HAVE BEEN. It doesn’t sound like a lot of money but let me illustrate for you how this stacks up.
    Say a patient brought in a script for Bupropion SR 150mg BID and for whatever reason it’s not covered by the PBM. So you bill it to the discount card instead. The full retail price is $54.99 for #60 tablets lets say. You might see something like this in the “payment detail” section of of the claim. Customer “copay” = $47.17, Pharmacy paid = $-35.12…….. Yeah that’s not a typo, where you would expect to see the pharmacy reimbursed a positive number or more often times zero reimbursement lately, you now see a negative number in the pharmacy reimbursement section. This means that out of the $47.17 that the customer paid to the pharmacy for the medication a whopping $35.12 IS GOING BACK TO THE PBM AS A FEE!!! Holy shit batman! That leaves the pharmacy with only $12.05 out of the $47.17 the customer paid or as Express Scripts would argue, the $12.05 is what we would normally pay you for a covered Bupropion Sr claim! So that means the pharmacy did all the work, took all the liability, paid all the fixed costs of operating the business and took home $12.05 while the PBM made off with $35.12 for essentially doing nothing.. Worst off all the patient didn’t even get a good deal on the script, shelling out $47.17 for the medication. This happens all the time! Check your reimbursements on claims!! When the pharmacy’s profit starts to run dry where do you think they will come looking to recoup it?? It amazes me that our dumbass Upper Managemt even takes these damn cards!! Idiots! If you want to save the patient some money why don’t you match the price of some other pharmacy like Costco if its applicable, at least the patient gets a better deal and you get to keep all the money!! You guys say you want to kick the PBMs where it hurts? I’ve just outlined a way you can do it that directly hits their pocketbooks!! I can guarantee you that Broncosfan7 doesn’t take these damn cards in his pharmacy!! You think it’s only hurting the company but in the end it will hurt you as the company is going to make their $ one way or another!! Lets shine some light on this bullshit PBM practice!! I can guarantee you they are banking on the fact that we aren’t paying attention!

  32. YoungGun  •  Mar 20, 2013 @1:58 pm

    Hey Jay-Pee! Maybe you can help get some coverage on this practice? This thread is getting old! Also people, explain how these discount cards work to our patients. Do you think they would rather give their money to the pharmacy they know and love or the faceless insurance company in question? It’s like the old saying goes, nothing worth while is free! Explain to them how you can help them save money on their Rx’s without lining the pockets of the PBMs.

  33. the truth  •  Mar 20, 2013 @2:29 pm

    I know for a fact that CVS and RAD highly discourage employees from accepting these cards and that we are to offer them the store version savings card. I hate those 70% printouts. I tell the customer it is garbage. And this is from people who have excellent insurance and 20 dollar copays! But, I do have to say that for most unemployed people who do go to the chains who won’t price match, (they track you if you do and you get a warning), some of these cards charge less than the store savings card. My thoughts on this, let’s get real about savings plans. Obama might have the right concept but not the right execution. We need major overhaul of all medical/rx pricing and make it fair again. My parents remember when there was no rx insurance. You had to pay cash and it wasn’t that much. Are the leaders of the chains really so out of touch that they don’t see how they are driving their businesses and employees into the ground with the nonstop stupidity and time wasting practices? Get rid of loss leaders. Anyone who majored in business or loves business like I do cannot fathom taking a loss, a huge loss at that, just to bring in customers. If you offer a good product, timely and friendly service, you’ve done your job and can make money. Stop giving out meds for free, you are not the state,start acting like a business.

  34. I am John Galt  •  Mar 21, 2013 @5:59 pm

    To this female pharmacist, good luck in trying to get justice. Just keep in mind this quote:

    “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

    …and see if it relates to your work at Wally. At Big Evil, you had to sign off on assorted “I will/won’t do X or my ass is grass” papers on a near weekly basis. I stopped taking my time there seriously when I realized that it was a game rigged where the employee lost no matter what. IE – meet “metrics,” piss off customers because you won’t have time to actually take care of them. Make customers happy, kiss your metric numbers goodbye.

    The higher-ups at Big Evil personify the very worst of BOTH the “bad guys” AND the “good guys” in ‘Atlas Shrugged.’ Like the bad guys, they make so many impossible rules that no one can be compliant, hence anyone can be “justifiably” fired at any time. And the only reason their house of cards hasn’t totally collapsed is in large part thanks to actual competent people making things work, at great personal sacrifice.

    But like the good guys, they are devoid of all humanity. The only value they see in other people, be they customers or employees, is of the monetary sort.

    It doesn’t have to be this way. We CAN take pharmacy back from the Chain Monster. But as I said before we have to literally take it from them.

    One or two independent stores is an anomaly, a handful here and there just coincidences. But if a decent number starts springing up around the country, and taking business left and right from the Monster, then they just might start to sit up and take notice.

    That will be our very own, real life “GET THE *HELL* OUT OF MY WAY!!!” moment for the people that still know and care about pharmacy, as the MBA “Masters of the Universe” as Jay Pee calls them, realize that it’s about to all come crashing down….

  35. broncofan7  •  Mar 25, 2013 @6:45 pm

    When I first become an owner I accepted these cards to drive foot traffic; I don’t do it any longer and I stopped when I received a BILL (yes a BILL)for ~$30 from some fly by night discount Pharmacy card provider (it wasn’t an insurance company)who’s business model was to take the patient information generated from the claim and not only make a profit by selling that information about the patient, the medication, the physician etc, but also had the NERVE to charge a processing FEE. I always advise patients that if they want to receive a DEEP discount from me to have their MD’s write for prescriptions for 6 month worth or 365 day supplies of the medications that they are on and I can give DEEP DISCOUNTS like lisinopril 20mg #365 for $36 (cheaper than WALMART) or clopidogrel #365 for $70..Younggun is well versed and well read IMHO. YOUNGGUN, if you’re in the DFW area shoot me an email…I’m in the process of opening another store in one of the best demographic areas in America that is overrun by corporate chain stores (avg income $114K/ cars per day 50K at the intersection I’m working on and a retirement community of 1000 people just 1/2 mile from the store who I feel will appreciate the extra attention)

  36. broncofan7  •  Mar 25, 2013 @8:30 pm

    There is a model out there for success; unfortunately many (myself included) wanted the big house and nice car right after graduating and with those monthly payments it makes us a “slave” to our employers. I was fortunate to have been able to get into a good situation that was ripe for growth for a minimal amount of CASH OUT OF HAND for an existing Pharmacy. Starting one from scratch takes more risk as you aren’t just responsible for workflow, purchases and staffing, but also for designing the store layout, procuring those instruments by which to furnish your store and most importantly for deciding on a the RIGHT LOCATION. Those are all things that I’ve been studying up on an planning for over the past 14 months and I may be able to move on a property that became available. IF there are RPh’s reading this blog who are interested in ownership, I strongly recommend not only the NCPA ownership workshop which is held 2-3 times per year, but also to network and try and build relationships with LOCAL (150 miles radius) independent Pharmacies (there are roughly 22,000 in the USA) and their owners; (especially Pharmacies with owners in their 50′s and 60′s)—there will come a day when those RPh’s would like to retire and establishing a relationship with them over the course of years as their employee is a certainly a way to not only procure knowledge but also potential ownership possibilities…..

  37. broncofan7  •  Mar 25, 2013 @8:38 pm

    Here’s some helpful hints/links/info

    FUNDING: http://www.liveoakbank.com http://www.1stmedfinancial.com

    wholesalers to spot you the initial $75k inventory(to repay over 6-8 months)McKesson, HD Smith, Amerisource Bergen, Cardinal

    Pharmacy software: http://www.pioneerrx.com/ McKesson.com/pharmaserve or enterpriseRX

    Pharmacy fixtures: a wide variety: http://rxinsider.com/pharmacy_design_and_fixtures.htm

    IVR/phone system/ APP solutions: http://telemanager.com/index.aspx

    You can also but into a franchise with VERY REALXED rules like http://www.healthmart.com and http://www.goodneighborpharmacy.com
    I am a HM member and for $200/mo I get access to Healthmart logo baring signage, nametags, magnets, bottles, caps, bags, a free website with Refill link, to name a few…it’s a GREAT value IMHO.

  38. broncofan7  •  Mar 25, 2013 @8:39 pm

    Here’s some helpful hints/links/info

    FUNDING: http://www.liveoakbank.com http://www.1stmedfinancial.com

    wholesalers to spot you the initial $75k inventory(to repay over 6-8 months)McKesson, HD Smith, Amerisource Bergen, Cardinal

    Pharmacy software: http://www.pioneerrx.com/ McKesson.com/pharmaserve or enterpriseRX

    Pharmacy fixtures: a wide variety: http://rxinsider.com/pharmacy_design_and_fixtures.htm

    IVR/phone system/ APP solutions: http://telemanager.com/index.aspx

    You can also but into a franchise with VERY REALXED rules like http://www.healthmart.com and http://www.goodneighborpharmacy.com
    I am a HM member and for $200/mo I get access to Healthmart logo baring signage, nametags, magnets, bottles, caps, bags, a free website with Refill link, to name a few…it’s a GREAT value IMHO

  39. YoungGun  •  Mar 26, 2013 @12:21 am

    That’s really neat to hear Bronco. I appreciate your insights. I flew into DFW on my way to Shreveport (by car) and I enjoyed the area but I think I would miss the mountains of western Washington State too much. The state low income pharmacy reimbursement sucks here (worst in nation in 2012) but I think I could still make an Indy work here with niche services. I unfortunately like you got the big house and debt slavery that goes with it.

  40. CathyRph  •  Mar 28, 2013 @2:55 pm

    Well, I appreciciate all of the insightfull input into my situation with Wal-Mart. Thank You all.
    I did take another job with another Big Box store in my regional area. I have been training for 1 week. It is a very busy store, with several Techs. The Pharmacist’s do not get lunches or breaks. The Pharmacists Cannot bring a purse or coat into the pharmacy. The locker we are given is so skinny you cannot even fit winter outer wear inside them, warm coats, boots etc. We ARE allowed to bring in a power bar or something, but must eat while working. The Techs do not even take a lunch. It is so dangerous to the public for us to work under these conditions. I know I am fortunate to have found a job though. I am glad to have it, and I will do what I must….. This company actually liked my experience, and brought me on board, and I am gratefull.
    It is a very hard grind, no breaks, rest, or food…I am so sorry Pharmacy has come to this. I think with the Pharmacy Alliance We CAN take Pharmacy back!
    It is really just a few things we need as Pharmacists to stay sharp and focused all day. Just the Basic Human body needs. Our job is so mind intensive we should have some rest periods thrown in too. We must stay focused, mentally sharp through the entire day. The BOP’s in all states must step up.

  41. Pharmacist Bob  •  Mar 30, 2013 @7:49 am

    I believe in Calif the BOP requires the RPh to take a lunch or the company is fined by paying the RPh an hour wage in penalty. This should be a national policy and that is why pharmacists should be outraged.

  42. Unhappy Pharmacist  •  Mar 30, 2013 @10:53 am

    @broncofan I wish I shared your optimism, however, big chains offer big bucks to buy indies!!! The little guy doesn’t stand a chance especially if Rph owner is looking to retire. No offense but do you have the million that the chain is offering to buy the indy??? If u do go for it!!! Been there chain won out!!!

  43. bcmigal  •  Mar 31, 2013 @3:07 am

    Bob….not the BOP, but the Industrial Welfare Commission…pharmacists were taken off “exempt” status in 2000. The BOP allows the pharmacist to leave the department. A pharmacist can be written up for too many lunch “penalties”. This is not always as clear cut as it seems. Just look up Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court .

  44. Pharmacist Bob  •  Mar 31, 2013 @10:02 am

    Here is the link for calif. Should be a national law
    http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_mealperiods.htm

  45. Pharmacist Bob  •  Apr 4, 2013 @6:49 am

    CVS charges $133 more than Costco for generic drug
    Lots of comments at the CNN website regarding this! If they are ripping off their customers, you’ve got to think they are ripping of their employees one way or another.
    http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/03/pf/generic-cost-cvs-costco/index.html?iid=HP_River#comments

  46. Pharmaciststeve  •  Apr 4, 2013 @8:35 am

    @Bob.. CVS recently RAISED their dividends to their stock holders by 38%.. who else is being “ripped off” for their bottom line to increase dividends that much ?

  47. bcmigal  •  Apr 4, 2013 @7:47 pm
  48. bcmigal  •  Apr 4, 2013 @7:48 pm

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