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I am wondering about your idea of riding the state of Washington of drive thru windows for pharmacy. I would also like to see this state ban “gift cards ” for transferring prescriptions from one store to another. A true public health danger. I would love to get gift cards banned here. Tell me how I can help
current pharmacy manager @ bartell drugs
Chris, Cindy Mende in Illinois has clout with the Illinois Pharmacy Association. Ask what they are doing.
I have been a pharmacy tech for Rite Aid for almost seven years now. I work at a store that is approximately ten miles from where I live because my coworkers make the drive worth every second. My pharmacists are beyond exceptional people; they treat our customers like people, not numbers.
About a year ago I applied for a position that involves teaching technician training classes (on top of my regular techy duties, and- as I learned after the fact- the same pay rate), and was selected to do so along with two other women from my district. I was excited; I love teaching. Though I have only taught one class thus far, and a main topic of conversation from our PDM (which, mind you, kept me from teaching what I was supposed to be teaching) was that of the 15-Minute Guarantee.
From your blog:
“If you read the fine print, the Rite Aid ad mentions that ‘prescriptions requiring ordering, prescriber contact, third party assistance, professional services, or prescriptions presented immediately before or during a Pharmacist lunch break’ don’t count.”
I’d like to point out that we were expressly directed by the PDM that, should we miss our 15-minute mark for ANY reason, including those listed above, we are to give out a gift card anyway. ANY reason. Don’t have the drug? Gift card. Don’t have your Medicaid number, and we call for it? Gift card. Swear up and down you didn’t hear your name called? Gift card. Oh, and I’d like to point out that I’ve worked for Rite Aid in three different districts, and pharmacists don’t get lunch breaks around here.
To make matters worse, corporate has recently decided that they are dumping too much money into payroll. I don’t know if this is a local decision or if it is company-wide, but my and my coworkers’ hours have been cut considerably because Rite Aid decided that, instead of allotting so-many-pharmacy-hours per day, they are now determining help by dollars. The problem being that the total budget-per-day also includes intern salary, so the choice is either pay an intern or pay for more help overall.
It’s the last straw for me. I’ve found a job at a doctor’s office, and will stay on one day a week at Rite Aid, only because I love my coworkers and my customers. But I refuse to debase myself by relying on a company that obviously does not care for the well-being of its employees.
Something was said to me a long time ago by an old employer: “Happy employees make happy customers.” Rite Aid could take a page from his book and do well for it.
I hate it that we lose good people like you. RAD is in a death spiral. Find a job at Walgreens if you want to work in pharmacy. WAG does that summer cut hours dance, but not real severe in the Houston area. Techs are treated well. My wife, Victoria, is a tech. After we moved to Vermont in 2000, she worked for Kinney Drug. She was so turned off with the unprofessional behavior that she ended up working in a big dental office as the “Patient Advocate”. Her job was to collect from the insurance companies. After years dealing with PBMs, this was a piece of cake. Keep coming back, Becca.
I love the Rite Aid picture with “Photos 1 hour”
The CEO will give the pimply faced kid in the photo lab an hour to print the photos from an automated machine, but only gives 15 minutes to the pharmacist ! Brilliant CEO.
My current favorite thing about being a retail pharmacist is that the US government aknowledges that we are highly trained specialists and are therefore too good to be protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Being exempt from this means that CVS can have as many mandatory meetings and training sessions for all there exciting and new patient care initiatives, like there mass telemarketing campaign, and don’t have to pay one penny to the attendees. Technically, they don’t even have to pay you for working extra shifts to cover vacations or illness. If only they would treat us as professionals too…
When I worked at RAD I complained about pharmacists not getting a lunch break (while everyone else got one due to the union contract) and was told that pharmacists don’t get a lunch break because we are professionals. To which I replied, “What professional masochist?” Needless to say my days in retail pharmacy were numbered.
I love your website. Here I am thinking I was the only pharmacist with the idea of putting my thoughts on pharmacy on a website, only to find so many others before me. Oh well, check it out if you’d like! It will give you some insight and let you know that here in Australia we are no better off than you guys.
Thank you for the recent article in Drug Topics. I just wanted to comment that the convention in Vegas is usually for Buyers and not all technicians. I am a pharmacy buyer at my hospital (although they do not recoginize it as a separate job but as a Tech II), and have been able to go to this convention twice until the hospital cut funds for travel. I wish the technicians had more of a voice and appriciate those pharmacists that acknowledge our roll in the pharmacy. Thank you again for writting on this subject.
I couldn’t agree with you more regardig the frustrations and the potential of a pharmacist being greatly diminished in the retail pharmacy setting. Would you be interested in joining us in actually utilization our education by starting our own prescription benefit management company? I do not see another way of implementing our knowledge in the grand scheme of things without being in total control of the benefit management. MTM is great, but it is still a product somewhat related to the individual’s PBM. We have the foundation established and have formed our own independent PBM…now we just have to market it. Let me know what you think, as I am a follower of your blog and value your opinion.
Director of PBM Services, FreePharmacist.com
I would suggest that those RPH employees that find themselves trying to keep from wetting themselves… consider filing a complaint with OSHA. OSHA laws have no distinction between hourly and salaried
Although there are no Federal and few state laws that require employers to give bathroom breaks, the Federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has interpreted a section in its Sanitation Standard, to mean that it “…requires employers to make toilet facilities available so that employees can use them when they need to do so. The employer may not impose unreasonable restrictions on employee use of the facilities.”
In 1997, OSHA issued a $332,500 fine to Hudson Foods, a poultry processing plant in Missouri, for violations including failure to provide employees sufficient restroom breaks.
The OSHA regulations dictate the minimum workplace ratio of toilets to workers, but don’t specifically speak to employees’ rights to use the toilets. Still, OSHA determined in the Hudson case that the company violated the law when they refused to grant bathroom breaks.
An official Standards and Compliance Letter issued by OSHA in April 1998 says employers must give workers prompt and reasonable access to toilet facilities.
Just wanted to let you know I just read your book “Prisoner of Comfort”.
I was at the end of my rope & ready to jump ship, however, your book made realize that I can’t let the big turd win!
Thanks & keep the news coming!
Love your column!!
To JP; Wish us older guys would be given a chance. About the only way it might be done is to teach a PT class at a place of learning.TL
I work for 1 of the big 3 & have been a pharmacist for over 30 yrs. I am disgusted with state pharmacy assoc. that do nothing to help us with regard to shedules, lunch etc.. They turn a blind eye to the adage “A tired pharmacist is a dangerous pharmacist.” They cater to the few independents left & bow to CVS RAD & WAG. I think it is time for people to cancel memberships in state assoc & Apha for that matter. We need a new association perhaps Chain Rph Association? What do you think.
I ditto PharmacistSteve. The Pharmacy Alliance is just too good an idea, I think. It demands the simple goal of taking the high road and suggests that you actually practice pharmacy. The Pharmacy Alliance has, as a group, serious concerns about pharmacists who are impaired by too many hours and bad food and constant stimulus. We have to get a handle on this. The Pharmacy Alliance is the only pharmacy organization pointing at the wart on pharmacy’s nose. Please join us.
@Unhappy… look at http://www.thepharmacyalliance.com
national public relations director
In response to the post concerning CVS computer down day,
I want to point out that CVS only cares about $$$$$$$. They pay million dollars fines on a regular basis & don’t skip a beat! It’s about time the execs. be held accountable & start doing time for their crime.
Last month I went to a large grocery/pharmacy with a script for 30 Ct diazepam 10 Mg. I wanted to pay in cash. The female pharmacist said: “We don’t take cash because we are not in sych with recording controlled substances when paid in cash”? What’s up? I thought the Computerized Use Recording Electronic System was up and …one CANNOT pay in cash? No insurance , No service?
RAD. Although I have been employed by them for several years, I can’t help hoping that they will go down in flames soon. This corporation cares absolutely nothing about their workers. Worse, they actively scapegoat and persecute them in defense of their moronic and costly initiatives. They are firing experienced,loyal,long-termed staff in my district (and I am certain – all district)for the slightest and most absurd reasons. Just found out that our Pharmacy Manager RPH will be gone in 2 weeks. After over 20 years of service. They even had the gall to send out emails to employed and threatend pharmacists regarding an RPH Recruitment Fair event RAD is throwing in our district. I laughed out loud at the admonishment to interested parties to respond and register by such date – or else. Welcome To RITEAID!!!! Any prospective hires should pay attention to that DEADline, as it is the most revealing part of the “invitation”.
This was sent to a lot of Walgreens email accounts today. It addressed to the CEO. Its hitting the fan.
As one of your fellow pharmacists, a customer, and a shareholder, I am
horrified by the direction the store has taken under your poor leadership.
When he opened his first store, Charles Walgreens announced,“”We believe
in working, not waiting; in laughing, not weeping; in boosting, not
knocking and in the pleasure of selling products.”
That is no longer your philosophy. A good leader looks at both employees
and customers and tries to make the partnership workable and profitable.
Under your leadership, things have become progressively worse and you have
a lot of internal issues threatening the integrity of this company.
Your patients are not safe in your pharmacies. A five-year-old in Nashville
was given the wrong medication in spite of the pharmacy manager earlier
asking for more staffing to address the stress levels. Under your
leadership, medication errors have killed four patients and cost
shareholders more than $61,000,000 in verdicts against you. Throughout it
all, your staff is burned out and stretched to the max except you and your
board, sitting in comfortable chairs, calculating how many employees they
can afford to lose or how many patients can leave or die before things get
And while your latest victim was curled on the floor of his shower, dying
from a medication error, you rewarded yourself with a 36% raise.
That 36% raise also comes on top of Walgreens losing Express Scripts,
Anthem, Caremark, and soon Medco, and others, costing shareholders over
$6,000,000,000 in business. You are sadly willing to kiss off over billions
of dollars because other companies will not cater to you. What arrogance!
In front of the cameras, you tell pharmacists that there is no quota, there
is no pressure to rush through a prescription, but when the press leaves,
the pressure comes out to up the volume. Dollars cannot get into the cash
register fast enough to suit you, and there is absolutely no thought to
staffing needs, employee hours, or patient safety. Medication decisions are
not being made by pharmacists, they are being made by financial
bean-counters. They take raw data and decide that two minutes is a safe
amount of time to fill a prescription from data entry to pulling the
correct medication and counting the pills to pharmacist checking and
counseling the patient.
You are a pharmacist. Can you even pretend that two minutes is adequate
time? When was the last time you actually set foot in a pharmacy, let alone
worked at one? You have traded in your lab coat for a three-piece suit,
wiped the dust off your feet, and never looked back to see how the company
functions – or fails to function. Who are you serving? Are you serving the
shareholders, who have suffered billions in lost business and wrongful
death lawsuits? Are you serving the staff, who are burned out beyond
functioning? Are you serving your customers, many who have survived
medication errors – and some who have not?
I met you once – and I am sure you have no recollection of that meeting. I
was totally unimpressed with your lack of leadership. I asked a simple
question and you responded that you would have to get back to me. The same
is true for company meetings. You insist upon questions beyond provided in
writing ahead of time. Has anyone ever gotten a straight answer from you
without your handlers cuing the teleprompter? And how does someone run a
company with absolutely no knowledge of it?
Please do not try to pass this off with some pre-worded answer about
rewiring for growth. Anyone in business knows that successful growth means
more customers and more employees, not round after round of employee cuts
and customers taking their no-longer-accepted insurance plans to your
competition. The Pharmacy That America Trusts is quickly turning into The
Pharmacy That America Avoids.
You have brought the Walgreens family name down and have a moral obligation
to resign. You have cost people their jobs, and you have put customers at
risk. Let someone lead the company who can bring employee morale to higher
levels, provide courteous service to customers, and grow the business as Mr. Walgreens intended, treating customers with decency and fairness, not
passing off a cut-rate job, and treating employees the way you would want
to be treated.
Someone Who Cares
I am a CVS “feeds” and here is the lastest fiasco. I go into work on Wed and we have been sent CVS “thank you” cards to be HAND WRITTEN by the pharmacist and given to the preselected ESI transfer patients when they pick up their RX’s. It should say some of the following things:
-thanx for choosing CVS
-offering flu shots
-offering text messaging
-soon will have electronic signing at pickup
-CVS can have your entire profile and screening for drug interaction
-one on one patient /pharmacist counseling with expert drug info
-Blah blah blah blah blah
-Card is in an envelope andpresented to patient at pickup
In addition we are calling every one of the ESI patients to give them the same info that is one the card and then we fax all of the calls made daily to the DM…In addition to THAT, the techs pass out 20% off coupons to each patient targeted for purchases in the front thru September. In addition to THAT, we are to delay the transfers of all ESI patients’ rxs for an hour and then call the patient to find out why they are transferring…I think you already know this…
Keep up the good work and keep flying your flag….any questions re: CVS …just let me know
How do I send pictures of the “Thank you cards”?
Hey Jim thanks for the Carlin material. He is greatly missed and I always looked forward to his insights as they were always so spot on. Gonna keep fighting these PBM’s with their mandatory mail order but it doesn’t seem like anyone gives a shit.
I wrote a column for Drug Topics today… You will love it. Think USP requirement that drugs be stored in conditions that do not exceed 78 d F. Otherwise, they are adulterated. Then think. A mail box in Iowa over a July weekend. Mail order. That column won’t appear until December or January. I can’t keep track. That’s my editor’s job.
Here is a link I found at the Oregon State Board of Pharmacy website. It is a survey they took from the pharmacists licensed with them about working issues. I noticed the majority of staff pharmacists reported issues and the majority of Regional Manager/Director/VP were the opposite of the spectrum. Just thought you would find it interesting. BTW love your blog. I read it daily even if you haven’t posted anything, even just to read the comments from other pharmacists.
DUH, I forgot the link. http://www.oregon.gov/pharmacy/Imports/OBOP-Pharmacy_Working_Conditions_Survey_Results11.11.pdf
GLORY BE !… Finally after many,many years I discovered a former Rite Aid Mgr. that went independent. He is GREAT. Service, Excellent, timely, granted he’s closed Sat.,Sun.,holiday’s,shorter hours and all. BUT, if a Rx for a C-IV, like #30 Valium is one day early and they are closed-unlike Target he will dispense it. Target’s policy: We reserve to right to refuse to talk to you at any time for any reason without explanation. (Except,”I can’t help you”)
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