Major Pharmacy Chains feel that Pharmacists working 12 hrs without a break – IS SAFE ?

Would shorter pharmacist shifts reduce Rx errors?,0


Rules being considered by the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy reflect a quandary facing pharmacists across the United States: How many hours should pharmacists be required to work?

The MBP has proposed that pharmacists not work more than 12 continuous hours a day—and and be provided a 30-minute break if they work more than six hours straight.

Courtesy/Shutterstock“Basically, there have been studies done in related professions that have showed the likelihood of errors goes up in high-pressure intense working conditions of healthcare, and we think that’s exactly what’s happening in pharmacies these days,” said Cody Wiberg, executive director of the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy, told the Mankato Free Press.

A spokesperson for the National Association of Community Pharmacists (NCPA) said the decision on how many hours a pharmacist should work should be left up to owners. “For example, what is required in a pharmacy that just opened and has limited staff, might be entirely different than what would be the case in a pharmacy that has been around for decades,” John Norton, NCPA’s director of public relations told Drug Topics.

The issue of how many hours pharmacists and pharmacy techs are required to work has long been a contentious issue in the profession. Even the most competent pharmacists can make script errors due to severe understaffing, inadequate number of competent techs, 12-hour shifts, and no meal breaks, Dennis Miller, RPh, wrote in this Drug Topics article.

CVS paid $7.4 million last year to more than 1,600 pharmacists throughout California who claimed the retail giant forced employees to work seven days in a row without paying overtime. A California pharmacist also filed a class-action lawsuit against Walmart last year, accusing the retailer of cheating pharmacists out of work breaks and overtime pay.

In Minnesota, CVS Health said it “strongly believes that a pharmacist should continue to manage their own work schedule and not rely on a Board rule to dictate work conditions,” a representative from the chain wrote. Other chains submitted similar statements opposing the Board setting a limit on the number of hours worked.

Small, independent pharmacists are also worried about the proposed rules, saying they could lose business. Typically, there is only on pharmacist on staff at small locations and the pharmacy would have to close when a pharmacist is not there, according to state rules.

However, a Hy-Vee Pharmacy Manager, Brian Cornelius, said he partially supports the proposal for his fellow pharmacists, even though he typically works a nine-hour day that includes a break. However, “I could also see it could be an inconvenience for patients if the pharmacy has to close,” he told Mankato Free Press.

3 Responses

  1. To tell you the truth I do not know how my pharmacy keeps up with it all. They are alost always busy. There was one time when my pharmacist was one the phone trying to find another pharmacy that had my medications. While doing that she was filling other prescriptions. The tech was dealing with 2 lines with 7 people in line inside and about 4 cars with the drive thru. Meanwhile it was about 4 pm and had been there since 9am. There lunch which came a hour before was sitting there cold. I remember when store had we will be back in 15 or 30 minutes and no one died. If a small pharmacy has set times well posted though out the day for small breaks then I would have no issue with that. Basically the counter could still be open as long as someone is just picking up meds or dropping them off since a tech can deal with that. Being a pharmacist is not a easy job and there responsible are great. However no matter how much we put technology into the medical field we need to understand that we are humans who make mistakes. When we are hungry, distracted, tired and so on, the more mistakes happen. In fact those mistakes cost 300,000 American lives a year. You have to wonder how many are caused by to many hours without sleep and breaks. In fact medical profession refuse to change how they train doctors with their 24 hours on call every few days because they see it as a right of passage. I call it stupid. Also there is a shortage of doctors so why do we not open more medical schools for doctors. Or better yet a program where a doctor gets school payed for but works for a non-profit organization, government or state agency to help the poor or the VA for a period of 5 years after they graduate. Now I am getting off subject so I will shut up.

  2. Its part of the job.You knew it before you became a pharmacist.If you don’t like it get some cajones and quit.

  3. No one can work 12 hour days with no time off at any job never mind a high stress job without making mistakes! Suppoosedly there are more pharmacists than there are jobs so quit being so greedy and hire more pharmacists!

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