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Pharmacists Objecting To Pressure From Employers

December 22nd, 2014

When you go to your local pharmacy to get a prescription filled, you probably don’t give that much thought to the speed at which your order is completed, or how many prescriptions the staff is filling within a given amount of time. After all, the pharmacy staff is responsible for making sure that you get the correct medication – it’s not like they’re employees at a fast food counter!

Unfortunately, according to several pharmacists from across the country, that is exactly the way that many of the big pharmacy chains treat their staff and expect them to operate. The professionals claim that they are under constant pressure to work faster and to get the orders filled with less support, and they say that patient care and safety is suffering as a result.

Bill Bradshaw is a pharmacist in Texas who has clear and disturbing memories of the daily pressure he and his colleagues were under. “Wrong patient names, wrong drug, wrong directions, it’s scary. I have gone home and said a prayer asking God to please not let me have made any mistakes that could have caused harm to a patient.”

Bradshaw’s experience is not isolated. Pharmacists and pharmacy trade groups are raising their voices against the problem, pointing out that it is rampant at the big chain stores. Joe Zorek has similar stories from when he was Pharmacist in Charge at CVS. He reports having been timed to see the speed with which prescriptions were filled, and flashing alerts that would glow from his computer if his time was too slow. He also was subject to reports tracking his performance in terms of the number of prescriptions filled in a given amount of time, as well as the number of immunizations and flu shots that the pharmacy provided. After constant calls from his area manager, he says that the automatic reaction was to “do whatever you had to do to push those scripts through,” and that meant that there was a high risk of mistakes. Making matters worse, he says that the store would try to increase profits by reducing the number of qualified support staff that were provided to assist. Zorek has a filed a lawsuit against CVS for wrongful termination, and has charged the store with all of these faults.

The end result of these types of actions on the part of pharmacy management is that errors are being made, and those errors put patients in jeopardy. According to Professor Daniel Hussar of the University of Sciences in Philadelphia, nobody should be surprised that these types of errors are being made under the circumstances. “The general public does not know what’s going on,” he says. “For major corporations, in my opinion, errors have become a cost of doing business.”

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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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