Below is a comment on this website… former “unhappy” CVS RPh?
I was a CVS pharmacist and worked for them almost 7 years. I got fired recently. Needless to say, I was not the only one to get fired. There were many CVS pharmacists before me including my co-workers that had been fired. Did you know CVS does not lay off? They only fire, then defame and blacklist former employees. CVS is the corporate that has the highest turnover rate. Pharmacists in CVS always try to find the way to get out of this nightmare company. I do not defend all who left, but the majority of us, former CVS pharmacists, were either fired based on age and salary, or fired because we went all our way to help customers and to be honest (which according to CVS is against company way of making money!). I hope when you all read my comments, you will understand what is going on in CVS pharmacy.
The day I got fired, my body weight was 105 lbs. I got ulcers, severe mental stress, got 3 times or more anginas to the brink of heart attack, got change in attitude (easily snap and angry), got insomnia, severe exhaustion, and diagnosed of “high risk of stroke” caused by CVS occupational stress. My doctor ordered me, “Either you leave the job or you get a stroke.” Now, I weigh 117 lbs, sleep like I’ve never slept before, had attitude changes (much more calm and peaceful), no more exhaustion, no more stress and no more heart attacks. I worked for CVS for almost 7 years and it was hellish! Why I did not leave? – Because I love my job as a pharmacist. Just to let you know, many of us former CVS pharmacists really love our customers regardless of how much the company threatened us just because we want to do right things against the company policy. Before I continue, let me leave a small message to Mr. Mike **, CVS spokesman:
“Mike, you know all the messes in pharmacies. There is nothing angel about you, CVS, general managers, district managers, supervisors and managers. All the tricks you guys are doing from pressuring pharmacists and techs and cashiers to enroll customers in automatic refills, to calling and pressuring their MDs to refill prescriptions, to fill 90-day supplies with bogus promises, to administer regular strength flu vaccines to patients 65 y/o or older to save money even though they are eligible for higher strength flu vaccines according to FDA, etc. Why we RTS (Return to Stock) those prescriptions that we automatic refill them after 7 days? Of course, Mike, the insurance was billed and paid to CVS. The reverse billing after 7 days does not guarantee the full payment to insurance companies. You know very well when pharmacies perform RTS (7 days after prescriptions were filled) because customers did not pick up, more than half did not capture the claims. That is why you got busted by the Fed and States of “over billing” insurance.
“To me, you are thieves but many of us former CVS pharmacists are not thieves. We did not cooperate with you and tried to fix the CVS system from bad management, discrimination, racism, sexism, physical abuses to stealing. Consequences are we got fired. But we are not giving up our value and ethical codes, Mr. **.”
Here is how CVS operates: RTS daily: Meds are returned to stock if patients don’t pick up after 7 days – reverse claim – but not every claim is captured. Many times, customers are frustrated because their insurances did not receive full refund. Then, it appears on customer’s yearly spending report and so on. Pharmacists did not see at their systems what is refunded and how much is refunded. All we see is the prescription is reversed. Pharmacists and staffs are threatened by managers, supervisors (boss of managers), district managers (DM) to increase script numbers based on metric standard or KPM. If the pharmacists refuse to do so because it is waste of time, resources, risk of law suits, and very unethical, they will be coached and counseled. Meaning, their job performance is low, store performance is low (low in money making) and they will be labeled as “risking the lives and well being of our valued customers because you do not refill their prescriptions. Refill their prescriptions; keep them staying healthy and compliance to therapy!”
Customers complain. How to solve per supervisors and CVS (each year supervisors and DM have big bonus checks; however, if there are many complaints in the district or region, they will lose their positions and bonus checks are reduced): 1) Do not automatically give customers phone number 1-800-shop CVS; 2) Do not give office or cells of supervisors or DM (they don’t want to know or hear customers yelling); 3) All complaints have to be taken care of at store levels (if supervisors or DM get involved, the pharmacist will be coached and counseled and terminated).
If staffs call in sick, must counsel them. If there are more than 3 calls in sick, discipline must be done. All stores face severe short of staffs to handle daily pharmacy tasks. One of my techs who is very excellent in customer service had told me she got raised from $11 to $11.08 after more than 2 years working. No wonder why many times she is snapping at customers and crying in the break room. When I raised my concern and show support and ask for a better raise for my entire staffs, the supervisors and managers said to me: “Don’t you love CVS, our company? You don’t have a sense of management and budget. Our company has no money. You need to review your vision about our company as a pharmacist.”
Yea right, Tom Ryan was one of the 20 richest CEO and CVS got billions of dollars in profit annually. My techs got sick in flu season. By law, I cannot let them work; that may pose risk to public health and risk to themselves. So I called for help. Other stores let me borrow their techs until other techs show up to cover sick calls. The next day, I was written up because I cannot manage my pharmacy operation and cause unnecessary payroll in overtime billing. Normally, without sick calls, the lines are already long at drop off and pick up. Supervisors and DMs are trimming off hours or pharmacy budgets so they can look good to their bosses. They want pharmacists to work super fast that not only maintain good customers services but also multi-task (pharmacists are doctors, nurses, receptionists, clerks, cashiers, counselors, technicians, phone operators, custodians, mediators, sale reps, etc.). If I gave wrong meds or called in sick, they labeled me as incompetent
Every day, we must call customers before 8 pm from the calling list to remind them to pick up medications or to remind them to refill meds. If the “Yes” response is low, our store performance is low. We are in trouble. They would accuse us as incompetent and not knowing how to engage forcefully/skillfully with customers that leading to decrease in company income. Many pharmacists and techs are afraid of losing jobs; they automatically enroll refills. Pharmacists like me did not do it because it is dishonest or unethical (most of the time, we see very high risk of drug interactions or unnecessary drug therapy). We got fired, demoted, transferred for being honest.
When Express Scripts came back to Walgreens, the supervisors and DMs emailed us and instructed us, “Make Walgreens customers wait at least 1 hour when they transfer the prescription. This will lower the risk of losing business and customers and income.” It was from one of the weekly conference call email that every pharmacist must do. It was so bad and I refused to cooperate. During the first 2 weeks, I transferred out more than 200 prescriptions. For us, patients have the rights to fill meds wherever they wish. But to hold them 1 hour according to CVS policy is absolutely immoral and unethical. The delays can pose detrimental effects on their health. I got coached and counseled again. The sup and DM said to me that I caused loss in business and their health in danger because of me.
During flu season, I informed my customers who are 65 y/o or older that they are eligible for high dose flu vaccines or Flu-zone. I was written up. Reason: I caused unnecessary store budget spending on vaccines. They said to me: “Instruct patients to fill out the forms and administer regular strength flu vaccine. Do not tell them about Flu-zone. We don’t want to spend money on expensive meds.” I said, “By law and ethically, they have the right to choose and to know. I forbid my techs and managers or anyone else in my presence withholding information about flu vaccines. This is the FDA approval products for this special population. Unless their doctors said otherwise or if they do not wish to have Flu-zone, then I will give them regular strength vaccine by their consents.”
The following weeks, I did not see Flu-zone orders come to my store anymore or I hear excuses like no more vaccines. I got written up for causing loss of budget, disrespecting authority and incompetence. There are more and more problems with CVS and untold stories. We suffer a lot under bad managers, supervisors, DMs and the company itself. Many of us here when departed from CVS always have their love for their customers no matter what. CVS will one day, for sure, collapse based on unthinkable and unethical practices in business, patient treatment, labor practices, etc. I feel deeply sad of what happened to customers and to many good pharmacy staffs and I am very angry at people at management levels. Hopefully, I can bring those bad guys to justice and make them pay for it.