Busted for PROPOXYPHENE and fired by Walgreens?

Jp Enlarged

Propoxyphene?  Can you even find one tablet of propoxyphene in any Walgreens store?  Until now, I did not publish the name Walgreens.  I worked for them until early April.  It was a great job.  The Houston division took the high road.  I was treated very well.  My observation was that the PDMs were exceptionally tolerant and patient with marginal and outright incompetent pharmacy staff and managers.  That was Houston.  I have heard stories from other areas that make my experience cringe.  How can they be so different?  I do not know of any pharmacists being fired and there are two who should have been run out the front door months ago.  Perhaps you guys can give this writer some advice. I just cannot wrap my head around propoxyphene unless the writer had an old Rx in the medicine cabinet.  What do you guys think of this?  This writer has been played, intimidated and left hanging.  I wonder if the WAG loss prevention people realized a mistake and are just hoping that it will go away.  Propoxyphene?

 Oh.  Stop being a frikkin’ victim.  If you did no wrong, stand up for yourself.  Jay Pee

 Hi Jim,

        Long time reader, first time writer. I joined the Pharmacy Alliance probably about 6 months to a year ago now. Little did I know then how pertinent it would become to my situation, or how quickly the whole bag of crap would descend on my head.

        Let me explain. I have been corresponding with XXX and XXX and XXXX for about 2 months. I had a random drug screen done on March 18. I was called and notified that it was positive for propoxyphene. I did not take propoxyphene. On Monday April 1, there was a pharmacist getting out of the car in the parking lot and 2 expensive cars with suits getting out of them. I was not fired, but coerced into signing a last chance agreement. Then I was told to follow the instructions on my copy of the paper, that I would be paid for 4 hours that day, and to ”have a good day”.

         That is the last time I talked to anybody at Walgreens , aside from my pharmacy manager, who told me I could call him as a ”friend” at his home, but not at the store. I have not called him, but when he calls me I give him limited info, for his protection and mine. As a friend (his words) he said that I should contact a lawyer. I contacted an employment attorney in Ft Wayne, IN, who, after some screwing around and not getting back with me, finally said he could not help me .

        Steve suggested I contact you to see if you could help me in getting in contact with legal counsel for TPA.  I have left a voice mail at his office twice, and e mailed him twice with no response.

        I have purchased a house near Indianapolis and am in the process of moving in. When my house sells I will be heading down there.

        XXXX mentioned, and I am afraid she may be right, that Walgreens may not even let me come back. I have finished my requirements for drug and alcohol rehab and got the ok to return to work, ALL BUT THE FINAL DRUG SCREEN, WHICH I HAD DONE LAST WEEK. I was told by Sedgewick Disability that my disability has been extended another week, and that my first day back will be Friday. I work Friday and then have a week’s vacation.

Goose, Goose, he’s our man.  If he can’t do it….. Take the time to click on comments and scroll down to Goose’s  succinct, to the point and critical comment.  You MUST follow his advice.  If you have questions as to procedure, look above and click on the page to buy books from Jay Pee.  There is a $10 pamphlet that will guide you well and protect your ass.  Now polygraphs are not required to buy the pamphlet.  I have no doubt that copies have found the way to the desks of a few managers who have not put their feet on a pharmacy floor for many years, but they think they know all about it and they are dedicated to make you disposable, like toilet paper.  Use it, throw it away and buy fresh.  Use a pharmacist up and hire a new one, from the new minted glut.  Anyway, do not think that they do not know what you are doing.  The good news is that they can’t stop you.  If only 2,000 RPhs did this, Goose’s advice squared, the game would be over for them.  How can you NOT take every advantage you can?  Is this some kind of professional Stockholm Syndrome?  Jay Pee 6/7/13



  1. SeRPh  •  Jun 5, 2013 @4:10 pm

    Get a copy of that initial drug test. Find out the methodology they used, and what can cause false positives. Get a copy of that ‘Last Chance’ document you signed. Also, NEVER sign anything right away. Tell them you want to take it home and review with your lawyer before signing. Also NEVER meet with any member of management without a third party – preferably not a fellow employee – with you.

    Out of curiosity, what gives Walgreen’s the right to do random drug screens? What gives them the right to share that information with the corporate suits? Wouldn’t that run afoul of HIPPA? Or is it some state specific law? My knowledge here is very limited, and in NC, I have never had to do a drug screen other than the initial one when I was hired on.

    I’m with Jim though – Propoxyphene went the way of the dinosaur a while ago. Labs are not infallible, they are subject to Murphy’s Law just like the rest of us.

    Get the documentation. Demand it.

  2. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jun 5, 2013 @8:50 pm

    I have exchanged several emails with this RPH.. there are several strange things going on.. First of all ..Darvon has not been available for nearly 3 yrs.. and what RPH is their right mind would abuse that lousy drug… there are a lot other drugs out there .. if you are going to abuse a substance.

    I spoke with the PRN (Pharmacist Recovery Network) with the Indiana Pharmacist Assoc – who I have known for 2+ decades.. since I was on the BOD of the IPA back in the early 90′s.. she confirmed that it is UNUSUAL for a firm to take only one test.. and run with it..

    It is also UNUSUAL for the employer not to notify the BOP and get the PRN & the BOP involved in the RPH’s recovery.

    It is my understanding that this RPH has sent a letter to WAGS HR/Legal this week and has already spoken with “whistle blowers” law firm this week..

    There is -IMO – a sizable back story involving this RPH.. and since it was not divulged to Jim and/or Jim did not divulge it in this blog… I won’t either…

    BUT.. IMO – this RPH has a sizable EEOC claim… and the fact that WAGS “condemned” this RPH on a single test.. with no prior history… could do a great deal of damage to this RPH’s reputation.. perhaps could destroy this RPH’s career.. especially with the growing surplus.. who would want to hire a RPH that has a “drug problem” with so many RPH’s running around wanting a job..

  3. Goose  •  Jun 6, 2013 @7:16 am

    Again, I would stress the importance of NOT signing anything associated with your employment without having a lawyer look at it.
    I spent time working with CVS loss prevention and I can tell you that most of the time when they initially “interview” an employee, they are working on suspicion, not facts. If they can get you to sign something or confess, so much the better, it just makes their job easier.
    I’m not sure either that this drug screen would hold up as a reason for either a reprimand or termination, but keep in mind, once you test positive for anything, even if it is an error, it is perminent. Example: A life insurance policy app will ask you if you “have ever had a positive AIDS test”, not if you have been diagnosed with AIDS. I have a nurse friend who once tested positive for AIDS during an employee screening. It was determined her results had been confused with a another person with a similar name. No matter. She now has a positive AIDS test on her record. I’ll bet it is the same way with drugs and by the pharmacist signing off on the Darvon deal, I would imagine a fancy lawyer would say that establishes guilt.
    Don’t sign anything!!! I drill this into all the students I precept. If you get in a bind, even if it is your fault, don’t sign anything and don’t admit anything, just get a lawyer.

  4. Whistleblower  •  Jun 6, 2013 @5:36 pm

    XXXX= Paula Zorek

  5. Peon  •  Jun 7, 2013 @7:08 am

    I have been lucky. Fresh out of pharmacy school, I worked 1 year for an independent. The owner was a really nice guy. But, I wanted to work closer to home, so I took another job. I really worked hard at that job and put my all into it. But, after a year, the owner changed the terms of our work agreement. I was dismayed, depressed, and mad. With no job prospects, I just quit. I started ‘floating’. And, at that time, I made up my mind that I would never worry about a job again, and I have not. About 20 years ago, I went to work for Wal-Mart. During this period, I have not been intimidated by higher ups in the company. I have had arguments with the head of the pharmacy division, all the way down to DM’s. My point: never be intimidated by higher ups in the company! As JP says, “Stop being a frikkin’ victim!”. The story of the pharmacist and the propoxyphene is another story of ‘being a victim’. The pharmacist says, “I was not fired, but coerced into signing a last chance agreement.”. Coerced????? In simple English, this pharmacist played the role of the victim, was intimidated, and just to get out of an unhappy situation signed an agreement. But, why? Why sign anything if you think it is wrong? The answer: DON’T! You are only a freaking victim if you allow yourself to be a victim.

  6. Whistleblower  •  Jun 7, 2013 @10:40 am

    I have spoken to this RPH and there is more to this story…. I was never intimidated by middle management and above… I didn’t buy into the metrics that put my patients at risk…I verbalized the issues and and continued doing everything right to keep the work environment safe for the patient and the team. I refused to sign anything as it related to patient safety, so when they couldn’t get at me that way they decided to attack my MS which have had for 24 years this July and maybe even longer(I never considered myself has disabled neither did my patients). The metric thing is something that RPHs of a certain age never had to deal with in this manner that they do today…we always made and had the ability to care for our patients. There is more to my story than most know(except for the inner circle). So let’s be kind to our fellow RPH until we have all the facts. I was not FIRED…CVS just made me SICK!!!! There is always more to a story than what you read here….

    Joe zorek

  7. anonymous  •  Jun 7, 2013 @11:24 am

    Peon, try to understand. Sometimes you reach a point where you are so exhausted, so tired of being yelled at, written up for things you didn’t do that you don’t think straight. I was at such a place not too long ago. No one, I mean no one, should ever be yelled at by their boss or coerced into signing a counseling form as they call it. I never broke any laws yet I was targeted over and over again because I dared to speak my mind. I was made to float over several years on and off. It is the worst experience no matter what age you are. Not knowing your schedule until a day before you work, working 10 days in a row (I’m talking mostly 10 hr and longer shifts at stores 1 hour away), dealing with problems left for you by the lazy LT rphs who did nothing, etc. I did not play the victim. I fought back. You can only do so much at work. You will be driven out given the perfect storm (bad DM, evil rphs and techs, exhaustion). Remember even if you don’t sign the company will make your life a living hell and believe me, you don’t want to experience that. Don’t sign but reach out to the proper people quickly and grab as much documentation before you leave.

  8. Goose  •  Jun 7, 2013 @11:56 am

    Prepare now for the possibility that this might happen to you. Start a relationship with an attorney. Document. Copy emails.
    Do what you need to do to protect yourself.

  9. Pharmacist Bob  •  Jun 8, 2013 @6:31 am

    Positive for propoxyphene, what the, you must have eaten some bad poppy seeds, genetically modified or something, as long as you can create doubt in the juries minds.
    When was the last time the CEO had a random test. These big companies that are destroying our profession need to have their backs broken. EOM

  10. Peon  •  Jun 12, 2013 @5:07 pm

    To anonymous: I am sorry, but I don’t feel sorry for you. You became a ‘victim’. First, you never let anyone yell at you! Second, no one can force you to sign a document unless they have a gun at your head. You let the people in authority intimidate you. They played the role of the big boss and you played the role of the squeaky little scared employee. You are still living in ‘victim mode’. You need to do a lot of thinking and some inner soul searching. You need to come to grips with who you are. You are a person, an individual, and a human being. You are right that you should not have been treated as you were. But, the fact is, you were treated that way. You may have had no control over the way you were treated, but you did have control over the way you responded. A good book on this subject, by Viktor Frankl, is ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’. Frankl was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. He found that he could not control the conditions around him, but that he could control his response to them.
    I don’t mean to single you out as being the only person to play the role of the ‘victim’. If you read this blog long enough, you will realize that there are a lot of pharmacy ‘victims’ out there. I do understand the problems in a pharmacy and the problems that a pharmacist faces. I have worked all across the top half of my state in almost every possible scenario. I have worked in pharmacy for 43 years, so there is not much that I don’t understand about pharmacy, people, or bosses. We live in a world where there are lots of options. If one job does not suit you, find another. If one occupation does not suit you, then find another. I have farmed, did electrical wiring of houses, taught school, and have a technical degree in computer programming. Never, ever play the role of a victim. Take charge of your life! Realize that you are in charge of your own life and not the company. They cannot make you do anything that you do not want to do! You are demonizing the pharmacists, the techs, the DM’s and etc with whom you worked. I doubt they can be all that bad. So, it makes me wonder why they were yelling at you. And, it certainly makes me wonder why you allowed all this to happen.

  11. Pharmaciststeve  •  Jun 12, 2013 @8:20 pm

    @Peon… this RPH.. has now sent a letter to corporate HR/Legal and has retained counsel… IMO.. the new “aggressive/abusive management style” that seems to becoming more common place… is taking a lot of RPH’s by surprise… after all we are – by nature – a introverted – passive bunch..

    But.. they (RPH’s) are coming around one by one.. and they are engaging counsel one by one.. I think that we would be surprised just how many “employer files” that are now being accumulated as documentation… if/when their day comes..

    IMO.. the “sleeping bear” is starting to be aroused.. It is just a matter of time.. before this “bear” is standing upright and starting to focus on the target that’s been “kicking him”

    IMO.. if it were not for the internet & RPH blogs and a few RPH pioneers… collectively .. we would be screwed..
    but that is not the case.. and there are more and more RPH’s that are getting tired of being screwed.. and they are going to start using the laws.. and screw back…

  12. Peon  •  Jun 13, 2013 @7:43 am

    Steve, I very much agree with you about pharmacists. They are, collectively, a meek bunch. But, the world has changed, and they had better WAKE UP. They had better stop working hard, trying to be the best employee in the world, and concentrate on covering themselves and keeping an open eye for other pharmacy jobs. They are going to have to move out of ‘victim mode’ and take an aggressive response to their jobs. From what you say, the pharmacist that was treated like crap has ‘woke up’.
    This blog is truly the source of information for pharmacists. This is where they learn about the REAL WORLD of pharmacy. They are not fed the education crap pushed by American Pharmacist Association. Nor, are they pacified by all the pharmacy trade journals. Pharmacy is getting tough and its time that pharmacists got tough — and, that is exactly what we are seeing.

  13. Bulldog  •  Apr 1, 2014 @8:55 am

    Peon, there is an account on the Ripoff Report from a pharmacist who tried the tactics you recommend in your response. I had read this report before the incident with the drug test, so I knew what would happen if I refused to sign. I was also advised by some of the pharmacists here, that if I was terminated, it was a lot harder to get anything done. Here is the link to his story:


    I do resent the “stop being a frikkin’ victim”. The reason I was targeted was because I continually stood up to management and tried to advocate for the patient. I was just shocked and thrown off guard that they would falsify a drug test to get rid of me. I followed my lawyer’s advice to get away from there as quickly and as clean as possible….I did not meekly back down and grovel.

    I did not tell my story to get sympathy…I took care of my situation….I wanted other Rph’s to know the lengths the chains will go to, and the nasty way they go about getting rid of you.

    Also, the documentation and tape recording did not help me, at least in this situation.

    Thank you for your comments, hope this never happens to you. Keep in mind some Rph’s can’t just hop around jobs when they have families and mortgages.


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