Missouri to probe pharmacists’ working conditions after hundreds of complaints

The chronic pain community needs to make note of this …  The PRIMARY CHARGE of the various State Boards of Pharmacy (BOP)  is to protect the health/safety of the general public. Historically, when Pharmacists complain about working conditions .. the typical BOP’s response – if they bothered to responded at all – is that they don’t have the authority to interfere in how the owner of the pharmacy runs their business.  It took HUNDREDS of complaints from Pharmacists to the MO BOP to get them to react and seemingly take action.  Under the original Pharmacy practice acts, there was a Pharmacist that was designated “Pharmacist in Charge” (PIC) .. ” back in the day” the majority of community pharmacies were independently owned … so the Pharmacist/owner ended up being the “Pharmacist in Charge” and was legally responsible to the BOP for the legal operation of the pharmacy… Starting in the late 80’s the pharmacy chains started expanding dramatically… it was reported at their peak … one such national chain was opening a “brand new store” every 15 hrs – 7 days a week.

Now that the chain drug stores dominate the local community pharmacies … many BOP or state legislatures have changed the term PIC to Responsible Pharmacies… and in the case of the chain stores.. the former (PIC) is in CHARGE OF NOTHING and RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING THAT GOES WRONG.

Then this article appeared in 2008   Chains’ ties run deep on pharmacy boards   So the majority of BOP’s were dominated by corporate Pharmacists… many no longer practicing… just executives of the pharmacy chains… and since the chains are the ones with the most lobbying money… either the BOP changed the designation of the PIC or the chains used their lobbying money to influence the state legislature to make the change.

Those in the community who believe that a few complaints to any state medical licensing board will gets some action, should pay attention that it took HUNDREDS OF PHARMACISTS to get – MAYBE – for the BOP to take some actions to help protect the health and safety of the general health – THEIR PRIMARY CHARGE ALL ALONG !

Missouri to probe pharmacists’ working conditions after hundreds of complaints


Missouri’s board of pharmacy is forming a task force to investigate working conditions at pharmacies across the state after hundreds of pharmacists have alleged they’ve been overworked, pressured to meet metrics and don’t have time to fill prescriptions safely, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported July 3. 

Some pharmacists told the board they’re unable to take a break or go to the restroom during their shifts. Ron Fitzwater, CEO of the Missouri Pharmacy Association, told the Post-Dispatch: “I’ve heard pharmacists say that they don’t drink anything before they go on shift because they’re afraid they may not get a bathroom break. That’s not even healthy, much less a good business practice.”

The pharmacy board said it would appoint the task force this month, and that it will investigate pharmacists’ working conditions, including staffing, prescription volume and rest breaks. 

“While the board recognizes business needs, patient safety should not be jeopardized for company profits,” the board stated in April.

Of 963 pharmacists surveyed in Missouri in 2019, 60% said they agreed: “I feel pressured or intimidated to meet standards or metrics that may interfere with safe patient care at my practice site,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

Fifty-two percent said they didn’t have adequate time to do their job safely and effectively. A 2019 study by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy found 71 percent of U.S. pharmacists rated their workload as “high” or “excessively high.” 

Kimberly Grinston, executive director of the pharmacy board, told the Post-Dispatch that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed more demands on pharmacists, including administering COVID-19 vaccinations. There also have been more staff absences because of quarantine or illness, she said.

Some states have passed laws requiring breaks for pharmacists or mandating staffing ratios of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, but Missouri doesn’t have any such laws, the Post-Dispatch reported. 

Two of the nation’s largest retail pharmacy chains, CVS and Walgreens, both told the Post-Dispatch that they are committed to patient care.

CVS stated that it looks forward to “working cooperatively with the Board of Pharmacy in our common goal of providing safe and high-quality pharmacy services to Missouri patients.”

Walgreens said it is “committed to ensuring that the entire pharmacy team has the support and resources necessary to continue to provide the best care to our patients.”

Read the full article here

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