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Are Big Name Pharmacies’ Time Limits Jeopardizing Your Health?

September 4th, 2014

CVS is the nation’s second largest drug store chain in the United States, and the 13th largest company in the world. With over 7,600 stores nationwide, it pulls in over $55 billion per year in revenue, and employs 80,000 employees. But some of the pharmacy giant’s management policies have been called into question in recent years, most particularly those that industry experts say may be leading to potentially fatal mistakes in filling prescriptions.


A whistleblower lawsuit has been filed against CVS by a former employee, a pharmacist who claims that several years ago the store started making changes to the way that they were gauging pharmacist performance. Instead of assessing pharmacists on the customer service that they provide to those asking for information about their medications or on the accuracy with which the prescriptions were filled, Joe Zorek says that the company started to focus on speed. “I was concerned we were going to kill somebody,” said Zorek, who had been with the chain for over 30 years. ”Everything was being gauged, was being checked. Time constraints. 22 seconds to answer a phone. You were getting 15 minutes to fill a prescription.”


According to Zorek, at the same time that the chain was stressing speed, they were cutting the staff.  Other pharmacists have indicated that there is a certainty that mistakes were being made, but most are not caught until the prescription bottles come in for refill. Dr. Carmine Catizone of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy says his group, which represents government agencies charged with monitoring pharmacy safety, is concerned about the lack of error tracking going on at the big pharmacies, particularly in light of the way that the companies are pushing pharmacists to go faster and faster. “The state boards of pharmacy need to have the legal authority to mandate the reporting of medication errors,” he said.


In the meantime, those errors are being made and customers are being hurt as a result. In recent CVS pharmacy lawsuits a 3-year old nearly died after the pharmacist mistakenly gave her Clonidine, a blood pressure medication, while in another case an elderly woman was given another patient’s prescription. It recently came to late that CVS is now giving pharmacists incentive pay based on the number of prescriptions that they fill, and that kind of encouragement certainly emphasizes quantity over quality of work.

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Gavin P. Lentz, Esq.
Bochetto & Lentz

Gavin Lentz (right) was selected as a "Super Lawyer" for 2006-2009 and 2010-2015 in New Jersey by Philadelphia Magazine. He has also been selected as a "Super Lawyer" by Philadelphia Magazine and the Legal Intelligencer in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 - 2015.

On September 16, 2002 Mr. Lentz was selected as one of the top 50 lawyers in Pennsylvania by the Legal Intelligencer.

He has made many television appearances, including on Fox News, The Today Show, Inside Edition, and The Phil Donahue Show.

Mr. Lentz is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

As a former prosecutor, he knows how to aggressively go after large pharmacy chains to prove the facts necessary to protect your loved one's rights.

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