A retired pharmacist was interviewed by USA Today in 2008, and he told of terrible working conditions for pharmacists and pharmacy techs, as well as the medication error epidemic.
Mr. William Kennedy had retired from his 42-year career as a Walgreens pharmacist in 2006. He is the former President of the National Pharmacist Association, a union representing pharmacists in Illinois and northwestern Indiana. In the interview, Mr. Kennedy gave the following figures for his store, which was not a 24-hour store, but did have a drive-through window.
Let's think about this. If the pharmacy is filling 300 prescriptions each day during a 12-hour shift, that leaves roughly two minutes per prescription filled. Just two minutes to:
This list is assuming that the doctor's writing is legible, that the pharmacy tech understands all the notes and medical jargon on a script, and that the pharmacist doesn't have to call the doctor for clarification. In addition, pharmacy techs have to run checks to be sure your insurance will pay for your medicine, which can be time-consuming.
Two Minutes is not Enough to Ensure your Safety
Walgreens, CVS, Caremark, Rite-Aid, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Target have pharmacists who should all slow down to perform this important role safely. Your health is worth more than two minutes. Two measly minutes for a prescription that can harm or kill if used improperly for any reason. Two minutes to be sure the medicines we need to save our lives are safe and proper for us as individuals.
Why does this happen?
Simply put, it happens because these corporations would rather pay a few lawsuits as a business expense than pay for an additional pharmacist. Mr. Kennedy described literally running to the bathroom and back, because walking would take too much time.
What can be done?
If you have been injured or suffered the loss of a loved one because of this kind of pharmacy malpractice you have the right to sue the pharmacy. You can report it to the Pharmacy Board in your state, but the complaint is likely to fall on deaf ears. Pharmacy Boards are too close to the corporations (link to other article), and not close enough to the patients or the pharmacists.
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