This post has been shared by the AdvoConnection Blog. It was written with a patient-client audience in mind, but might be useful to you, too.
It is provided so you can find it in a search here at myAPHA.org, but you’ll need to link to the original post to read it in its entirety.
Danger Lurks at Big Box and Chain Pharmacies
This article popped up in a dozen places over the past week or so. The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Axios, even QVC! How Chaos at Chain Pharmacies Is Putting Patients at Risk Reading it will curl your toenails and raise the hair on the back of your neck! You’ll wonder how you have survived your Walgreens or CVS drug prescriptions. But while I applaud the honesty and real-life approach to the exposé, I am as frustrated with this article as I am with so many others…. Why? Because while articles like this expose the awful truth of a situation that can too easily put us in danger, rarely – and this one is no exception – do they provide alternatives, or tactics for protecting ourselves. In effect they say, “Isn’t this horrible? But hey! You’re on your own to figure out what to do about it!” So, if you typically get your drug prescriptions filled at one of the big box or chain pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS, Rite-Aid, Walmart, Publix, Wegmans, Costco, Target, or others, and yes, let’s throw in those mail order pharmacies like Express Scripts or CVS Caremark – here are some points to understand. Be aware that big pharmacies are focused only on making money – period. Now, there is something to be said for good customer service and believe me, no one at any pharmacy wants to harm you. But the incentives for filling too many prescriptions in too little time by too few people are all baked into the business model. Those employers’ tell their staff: “Do it our way with too few people and too little time or you will lose your job.” Once you understand the duress they are under, you also need to understand how they are staffed. There is usually one licensed pharmacist available, then a group of “pharmacy techs” who are trained to fill prescription bottles properly. Pharmacy techs are good people, but their training is nothing like a pharmacist’s. They require only a high school diploma or GED, although some (but not all) pharmacies will hire only someone with an AAS degree in pharmacy tech. There may also be a cashier behind the counter who has no pharmacy education or training at all. So, against those two backdrops, you can understand that overstaffed, and possibly under-trained or educated people, are tasked with making sure you get the…