Bring Light To Dark Places

Jp Enlarged

Communicate, communicate, communicate.  If they can do this in the shadows, it will be a slam dunk for them.  If the entire professional working corp is watching, it can’t be that easy.  Talk about this, you guys.

Jim,

I’m a frequent reader of your blog and want to pass on some new information I got.

I just gave a copy to Rite Aid in Northern California.  After business, we discussed new happenings in Northern California and he said there are 2 more new pharmacy schools coming to California within next year or two.

He says Walgreens in San Francisco Bay AQrea is now (or will soon) be offering new graduates $40/hr, 30 hr weeks, with no benefits, that’s it.  For me that’d be a $20/hr pay cut, the pharmacist said that for him that’s almost $30/hr pay cut, not to mention the No Benefits provision.

Just passing along this unverified info.  It’s not good news for pharmacy, if true.

Tony in The Pacific Northwest

There have been questions about the Guild and The Pharmacy Alliance.   Here are the links.

The Guild

The Pharmacy Alliance

Comment from Pharmacist Bob

Slave–like JP says, we need to communicate! How do you get in touch with every pharmacist in the country –create a new pharmacist app for android etc.? If I could act like a god it would be so easy, the chains would be our slaves. In the end we need a national union, a new national pharmacist organization and both could lobby for laws that benefit our profession.
.
You have a national pharmacist organization. THE PHARMACY ALLIANCE. Geez, you guys. Open your eyes. You have a national union. THE GUILD FOR PROFESSIONAL PHARMACISTS. Geez, you guys. Open your eyes. The Pharmacy Alliance, all you have to do is join and be willing to participate. The Guild. Not so easy. You do it as a group, like open and available and voted yay or nay by all CVS pharmacists in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for example. Majority wins. There are steps that have to be followed. I do not know what they are, but I can tell you that the process will be replete with company intimidation, Company courting, promises implied if you vote Nay. I was involved with a Guild campaign in the 1990s. The Pay n Save pharmacists in King County (Seattle) were organizing. A Guild representative came out to the hinterlands to convey the message that the King County pharmacists were requesting that we join them. The problem was that we were not protected. Since it was a King County vote, they could not be fired. The King County action was official and the pharmacists had to be hired back after the strike was settled. The guys in Whatcom, Skagit, Island, Fidalgo and other areas outside of Seattle had no protections. Bad planning. Bad, bad planning. Then, Pay n Save started the rumor that they could not afford what the Guild wanted and that the company would have to close stores to survive. The Guild came back with the advice to take loans from our 401k investments to hold us over during the strike. The strike happened and the company brought in Washington State licensed company pharmacists from all over.
The strike failed .. or did it? My staff pharmacist was an ex PIC with an enormous grudge. He went on strike, not understanding that he was not protected. I was ordered to send all of his personal belongings and his license to him by mail. When the strike ended I was told that he was fired. I went all out for this guy. I told my boss to get a heart. His entire career (30 YEARS) had been with Pay n Save. It took a few weeks, but they allowed him to come back. This was a mess, but it did not have to be that way. I blame the Guild and I blame the movers and shakers in Seattle. There has been a lot of growth in 20 years. The Guild represents pharmacists in some gold-plated places. The one I am most interested in is CVS in Southern California.

Very important, I believe… Everyone at the Guild is a pharmacist.

 

24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Pharmaciststeve  •  Sep 10, 2013 @6:32 pm

    Some time ago.. I predicted that we would see in the near future… PDM/DM walk into a store and tell the RPH that he/she has a “newbie” who is will to do your job for xx,xxx.xx less per year and you have 24 hrs to make up your mind if you want to keep your job.. We are getting close.. You can figure that “benefits” is probably worth 30% of pay.
    If you do the math $60/hr + 18 benefits reduced to $30/hr and no benefits… a SIXTY PER-CENT REDUCTION..
    Also, if you do the math.. you have a 90 hr/wk store and three RPH’s.. will never need to pay overtime and/or call in a temp service to cover sick days.. In a large metro like SF.. you rotate in RPH’s from other stores to cover more than two sick days in a given week in a given store.

    I hope that all those students ready to enter Rx school.. or in their first year… see this and RUN FOR THE HILLS…

  2. broncofan7  •  Sep 10, 2013 @6:46 pm

    In some parts of Texas, there still is a labor shortage; a new Pharm school just opened in Ft Worth bringing the current total to 7 Pharm Schools in the state (I think)

    http://www.drugstorenews.com/article/unt-health-science-center-opens-first-college-pharmacy-school-north-texas

    The going wage in DFW and Houston is $55-60/hr. In rural parts of Texas it’s $65/hr.

    UT -Tyler is set to open a Pharm school soon which will bring the total # to 8 schools in Texas.

    http://www.youreasttexas.com/news/ut-tyler-one-step-closer-to-establishing-pharmacy-school

  3. broncofan7  •  Sep 10, 2013 @6:49 pm

    As EMPLOYEE Pharmacists, we in the USA are some of the highest paid in the World (Australia for example pays $60-80K PER YEAR and Canada pays $80-100K PER YEAR on average)

    Canada: http://www.livingin-canada.com/salaries-for-pharmacists.html

    Australia: http://www.livingin-australia.com/australian-pharmacist-salaries/

  4. broncofan7  •  Sep 10, 2013 @6:49 pm

    With the ACA and AQ PLUS pricing likely becoming more of the norm ( RE: getting paid $3-4 OVER AQ cost per RX), the market pressures of reimbursement are going to more than likely dictate a lowering of RPh Salaries by itself. Factor in an influx of new grads from now 130+ Pharm schools and the golden age of Pharmacist salary escalation (1995-2010) is O-V-E-R.

    My advice: pay off student loan debt, try and refinance your house and autos to decrease your monthly expenses to prepare for the pending salary freeze or WORSE.

  5. Crazy RxMan  •  Sep 10, 2013 @7:24 pm

    If this is true and comes to pass, there will be some dark days ahead, especially for the Crazy RxMan. Senior pharmacists (the guardians of all medications old) will retire instead of taking pay cuts. Some will shift industry, a lot will take it in the shorts. One thing I can predict is that the profession will attract fewer and fewer (no one wants to take a crazy retail job and student debt and not get get paid for it) and the market will eventually return… but that will take some time.

    I’m not in a position to take that kind of pay cut, and I doubt any other pharmacist is either. There will be dire consequences to this… and top on my list is that when you take out incentive, you take out the brightest and best… patients will suffer because of this. Student loan payments will default, cats and dogs will live together, and once corporate finds out they can get away with taking advantage of pharmacists like this, they will try other schemes too.

    God help us all.

  6. Whistleblower  •  Sep 10, 2013 @8:37 pm

    It’s my understanding that management positions are changing also… Those that have allowed for some extra hours or are a little over budget are GONE!! DC and Maryland have some serious SH** happening around them. It’s funny now that I have RXs filled at another chain(RA) I see well staffed stores and familiar faces….not I huge turnover…at least here in Harrisburg.

  7. Pharmacist Bob  •  Sep 11, 2013 @8:06 am

    Then maybe pharmacists will be willing to do something, remember when I said if you do nothing, see what happens when you do nothing.

  8. Pharmacist Bob  •  Sep 11, 2013 @8:09 am

    I told you, see what happens when you do nothing. They are all scum and say put on the warpaint, and could care less if they all went bankrupt.

  9. broncofan7  •  Sep 11, 2013 @9:10 am

    I’m always curious as to why fellow Pharmacists utilize Chain drug stores instead of independents when filling their own RXs if one is reasonably available to them…..

    Independent Pharmacy is the only venue of Pharmacy where our profession is truly honored and practiced as it should be; as independent practitioners……. and it’s the only venue where we are recognized and respected by the public as professionals.

    Don’t believe me? Go work a day in a CVS, Target etc. and try and execute your professional judgment (not enough staff to safely operate the drive thru lanes?–go close the drive thru lanes. Too early to fill a controlled RX?-don’t fill it)consistently and you will be out of a job due to customer complaints. Just reads this blog for proof of that.

    Sell this, Bronofan. There is no better way to hurt the chains than to take away their best and make them competitors right around the corner. Pharmacists have this notion that they can’t go against CVS. Eventually, these patients will realize that the COPAY IS THE SAME NO MATTER WHERE THEY GO. It is a no-brainer. Move everything to Bronco or put up with the robo-dispenser.

  10. Pharmacist Bob  •  Sep 11, 2013 @11:06 am

    If you do nothing as I have said, see what doing nothing gets you. Buy a big car now so when you have to move into it.

  11. bcmigal  •  Sep 11, 2013 @1:01 pm

    I am still mystified by anyone’s decision to go the pharmacy school. Why on earth would a person enter a “profession” in which discouragement and demoralization are the order of the day? There is no mention (zero, zip, nada) of patient care in the metrics. Are we offering flu shots because we care about your health? Not really. Vaccinations have a huge profit margin. We pay $11-13 per dose for flu vaccine. Cash price is $24-32. If we can charge insurance, it’s an even better deal for us. We get an “administration” fee. And Medicare B pays us the most. So instead of “saving lives and stamping out disease” we are rushing to stay out of the red, making sure we say the customers’ names 3 times, answering the phone in 20 seconds or less..the list goes on and on. At the end of the day, we hope and pray that we did not harm anyone . We should speak out you say? Sure, some new grad with a $200,000 debt will take your place faster than you can say “prior auth required”.

  12. pharmacyslave2000  •  Sep 11, 2013 @5:03 pm

    I don’t doubt the legitimacy of this information from JP for one second. We are smack in the middle of the perfect storm. Too many pharmacy schools, too many pharmacists and decreasing reimbursements, sure to decrease further under the ACA. The market will dictate the direction we go and we will just be along for the ride.
    ***
    There really isn’t anything we can do to stop the momentum now. Fight back, get fired. Try to introduce a union, get fired. Pharmacist Bob, you seem to yell the loudest, what exactly should we do? Any real suggestions for implementing change or simply angry words directed at the chains? We are stuck. Either start your own indy or hang on to what you have until something better comes along. Nothing feels as hopeless as having no options and, right now, we have no real options.
    ***
    As bcmigal stated, I have no idea why anyone would voluntarily go to pharmacy at this point. You are basically paying someone to become an indentured servant. This profession ceased being “healthcare” long ago. We are simply retail employees who happen to be highly educated.

  13. Whistleblower  •  Sep 11, 2013 @7:15 pm

    @broncofan7….I would most defiantly use a Independent if we had one reasonably close. The suburbs of Harrisburg has not one….the closest suburban Indy is in Hershey Pa. The three in the city of Harrisburg have very bad locations, you might have to dodge bullets as this city is out of control. Fifteen years ago there were many to choose from…they have since closed.

  14. Pharmaciststeve  •  Sep 11, 2013 @8:59 pm

    @slave… you overlooked the third part of the perfect storm… little/no growth by the chains.. It will be interesting. WAGS just purchased KERR in NC.. I wonder how many stores will be closed.. my guess is close to 50% of the 70 odd stores KERR currently has.

  15. Binkman  •  Sep 12, 2013 @9:28 am

    What did anyone expect? When you give away Rx’s for $4 or FREE how do you expect to get the same paycheck…where do you think the money will come from??? It won’t be long when the corporates decide to discount vaccinations also in order increase counts and convince folks to come here rather than across the street.
    Corps are working very hard to get to their ultimate money saving goal… Tech-check-tech prescriptions mills with no pharmacist. Talk anyone out of pharmacy you can and advocate against prescription give away promos.

  16. Pharmacist Bob  •  Sep 12, 2013 @10:42 am

    Slave–like JP says, we need to communicate! How do you get in touch with every pharmacist in the country –create a new pharmacist app for android etc.? If I could act like a god it would be so easy, the chains would be our slaves. In the end we need a national union, a new national pharmacist organization and both could lobby for laws that benefit our profession.
    .
    You have a national pharmacist organization. THE PHARMACY ALLIANCE. Geez, you guys. Open your eyes. You have a national union. THE GUILD FOR PROFESSIONAL PHARMACISTS. Geez, you guys. Open your eyes. The Pharmacy Alliance, all you have to do is join and be willing to participate. The Guild. Not so easy. You do it as a group, like open and available and voted yay or nay by all CVS pharmacists in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for example. Majority wins. There are steps that have to be followed. I do not know what they are, but I can tell you that the process will be replete with company intimidation, Company courting, promises implied if you vote Nay. I was involved with a Guild campaign in the 1990s. The Pay n Save pharmacists in King County (Seattle) were organizing. A Guild representative came out to the hinterlands to convey the message that the King County pharmacists were requesting that we join them. The problem was that we were not protected. Since it was a King County vote, they could not be fired. The King County action was official and the pharmacists had to be hired back after the strike was settled. The guys in Whatcom, Skagit, Island, Fidalgo and other areas outside of Seattle had no protections. Bad planning. Bad, bad planning. Then, Pay n Save started the rumor that they could not afford what the Guild wanted and that the company would have to close stores to survive. The Guild came back with the advice to take loans from our 401k investments to hold us over during the strike. The strike happened and the company brought in Washington State licensed company pharmacists from all over.
    The strike failed .. or did it? My staff pharmacist was an ex PIC with an enormous grudge. He went on strike, not understanding that he was not protected. I was ordered to send all of his personal belongings and his license to him by mail. When the strike ended I was told that he was fired. I went all out for this guy. I told my boss to get a heart. His entire career (30 YEARS) had been with Pay n Save. It took a few weeks, but they allowed him to come back. This was a mess, but it did not have to be that way. I blame the Guild and I blame the movers and shakers in Seattle. There has been a lot of growth in 20 years. The Guild represents pharmacists in some gold-plated places. The one I am most interested in is CVS in Southern California.

    Very important, I believe… Everyone at the Guild is a pharmacist.

    Click The Guild for Professional Pharmacists

  17. Pharmacist Bob  •  Sep 12, 2013 @10:44 am

    Walgreens now at the corner of “Bull Shit” and “Piece of Shit”

  18. wellilbe  •  Sep 12, 2013 @5:14 pm

    Please remember also when the Universities call for donations to politely tell them that when they quit pushing for more graduates at higher tuition you might consider donating , but until then forget it. UF has opened 4 satellite pharmacy schools plus their original. We also have NOVA southeastern, FAMU and now usf . Why do we need 8 pharmacy schools in FL????? Because they get donations from retail chains and PBMs to crank them out so they can lower wages in the near future. I am not a conspiracy person in general, I just think the schools see dollar signs and wall into the hands of big pharma… Some of the PBM have sites on school property so Ive heard

  19. Peon  •  Sep 13, 2013 @8:32 am

    Pharmacist Bob asked a very good question: “How do you get in touch with every pharmacist in the country.” First, you need their email addresses. How do you get them? As I see it, there are two ways: “word of mouth” or buying a list. The word of mouth approach asks each pharmacist, such as each blogger here, to submit all the names and email addresses they have of pharmacists in their contact list. From these individual contact lists, a database is created. The easiest way is to simply buy a list. But, the price of such a list is not cheap…it is expensive.
    -
    The first approach requires pharmacists to step out of their apathetic little world and actually do something. It is so trivial…just send emails of pharmacists they have in their email contact list. Imagine taking that list and emailing each pharmacist on that list and asking them to submit the same thing. If a lot of pharmacists would participate, it would not take that long to compile a list of most of the pharmacists in the US.
    -
    The second approach requires money. It means that a number of apathetic little pharmacists actually take out their wallet and donate some money to the person or organization(ex. The Pharmacy Alliance) that is going to buy that list.
    -
    What happens once there is a list of emails of most of the pharmacists in the US? This is where the major problem begins. The problem is convincing all these apathetic little pharmacists to actually ‘do something’. This process is the equivalent of ‘pulling teeth’. I will venture to say that the pharmacists that participate in this blog are not typical of the vast majority of pharmacists in this country. We come to this blog and we find kindred spirits. But, those kindred spirits are not the majority but a small minority. The people that post here are actually doing something. They are typing a message and submitting it to this blog. Most pharmacists will not do this! They will not lift a finger to try and change their pitiful little world.
    -
    As with all movements, there is actually only a small group that leads the way. This group may be less than 5% of the population and can be even less than 1%. Forget about getting every pharmacist in the US to participate in a ‘movement’. It will not happen. Concentrate on that small group of leaders and people that will do something. These leaders will have to pull the rest of these apathetic pharmacists along.

  20. Pharmaciststeve  •  Sep 13, 2013 @10:29 pm

    Unfortunately Peon is correct… I know how many people “visit” my website http://www.pharmaciststeve.com and how many people even stop to make a comment.. I even turned off the requirement for name and email address to post.. Most don’t even have the backbone or balls to make a comment anonymously.

    If they can’t take a stand anonymously .. is there really any hope for them taking a stand for the profession ?

  21. Pharmacist Bob  •  Sep 14, 2013 @7:42 am

    Plummeting wages might be the impetus to generate some new backbone, one would hope. It riles me at least.

  22. Peon  •  Sep 14, 2013 @10:28 pm

    Bob, I will have to see pharmacists stand up and get together to believe it. They are the most apathetic bunch of people on the planet. The way the insurance companies, the DEA, and the chains are pushing them around you would think they would get mad and do something. But, better not count on it. You would think they would get indignant about something. But, I guess being ‘brow beaten’ by customers and the chains have turned them into cowards. What did I say? Pharmacists are COWARDS! They are so pathetic that they dare to even post here on this blog. Just look at the few that do and compare that with the number that frequent this site. I can bet you that the number that frequent this site is 10 times to 20 times ,and probably more, compared to the number that post here. Are they lazy? Are they just apathetic? Are they afraid? Pharmacy is a sinking ship and there is just a few trying to row it out of deep water. Looks like the rest are just going to sit on the deck and go down with the ship.

  23. Pharmaciststeve  •  Sep 15, 2013 @9:11 am

    @peon.. on my blog .. MTD.. it is one post for every 279 page views. and all the post were made by SIX different people…I am sure that JP’s numbers are similar !

    We know that all of them are not sitting on both of their hands.. they have to have one free to use the computer mouse !

    Apparently they are not trying to manage this crisis – and yes it is a crisis… and will eventually end up managing by crisis… unfortunately.. all to many does not recognizing this as a crisis.

    How many pts are going to have to be harmed or killed.. before it is recognized as a crisis.. I am seeing some increased attention by the media over a few years ago .. but it is still just a passing interest by the media.

  24. Broncofan7  •  Sep 19, 2013 @12:06 am

    http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE98H03120130918?irpc=932

    Walgreens moves 120k employees to private healthcare exchange…

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