Lets unionize… or maybe not.

As I was reading a drunken rant by The Angriest Pharmacist about unions, I started to think as to why haven’t pharmacists formed a huge union to fight the evil employers about working conditions, etc.  I know that the topic has been brought up before, but yet a union doesn’t exist.  I came to a few conclusions as to our profession:

  • Pharmacists who bitch about their load, how many Rx’s they have to do, their hours, just working conditions in general (ie: not the patients like I bitch about) play the “I am/my position is in demand, so I should get work conditions of X”  Thats fine and good, but if you’re in so much demand, go and work for someone who doesn’t put you through such a shitty work environment.  I mean that’s pretty simple isn’t it?  Eventually when NOBODY wants to work for Evil Corporation X, maybe they will give you more techs/shorter hours/pee breaks/lunch, etc.  Oh, Evil Corporation gives benefits/pay of Y above everyone else, never mind.
  • Pharmacists (like their Doctor counterparts) are alpha creatures.  We are the keepers of the castle of pharmacy, and we all have an opinion.  A union of Chiefs does no good if there are no Indians.
  • Pharmacy is different depending on what chain/independent/hospital you work for.  Maybe your working conditions are fine (like mine).  A union won’t work if only the chain pharmacists join because some peeps who work for Target and the grocery stores are happy with their working conditions.  Is this union going to be the “High Volume Chain Pharmacist Union?”  Doesn’t work that way.  To be effective everyone needs in.
  • A pharmacy union would need mandatory enrollment for all pharmacists.  Like long-shoreman, electricians, etc we would need everyone to be signed up and pay dues into this union.  We all know how much we love to be forced into things, let alone forced into things where we need to pay money.

Now lets take things into perspective.  Say all the pharmacists in the nation joined this uber powerful union.  We’ll call it the American Pharmacists Union (APhU).  Now a bunch of CVS pharmacists go to the union for help because CVS is evil and they treat their employees bad (or whatever they whine about this month).  The union leader, to show CVS that the APhU means business, calls for a strike.  Do you really think that pharmacists would listen to that?  Realistically, do you really think you’d follow the orders from some union leader (who probably has not worked a day of retail in his life, but is a damn good bullshitter) as to when you can and cannot go to work?  What if you work for a CVS that doesn’t treat its pharmacists like shit, are you going to take one (and make your patients take one) for the team for a bunch of “woe is me, 100 with only me and my tech!” whiners in a town you’ve never heard of before? Well, you’d have to.

Now APhA and the associations should be stepping up to fight bad working conditions, but then they’d have to give up the revenue for that full page add from CVS on Page 58 in the August Pharmacy Today (and a small Walmart ad on page 60).  Hell, if I didn’t know anything about pharmacy and was looking at Pharmacy Today, I would think pharmacy involves sitting smiling in front of a computer screen, and getting handed awards while shaking hands and smiling all day.  This is between the page after page of drug-company ads for another “Me Too” formulation of an already shit product or Savella, a drug made to treat a made-up condition.  Where are the crackheads yelling at you? Where are the pictures of some strung out druggie pointing her finger at you while shouting at the tops of her lungs? The happy old white people in the magazines dont exist in real life. Where are the cow-eyes and looks of “duh” or that dirty plastic produce baggy full of scummy bottles?

So we have associations for every aspect of pharmacy, why are they not taking care of the work condition problem?

Recent Entries

88 Comments

  1. Phat says:

    Maybe instead of forming a union, because you are right it’ll never work, us bloggers should get together and form some type of Pharmacy Times-like magazine that tells it how it is.

    I agree that those periodicals are much too cheery and optimistic for me. I don’t remember what the cover of the last Pharmacy Times was, but I remember thinking that the cover should really be how Medco is starting to fuck over all the pharmacies across the nation.

    I’ve been turning more and more people into the various pharmacy blogs out there and virtually all of them go, “I didn’t know there were other people that felt like that out there.” We’ve all become each others support group in a way if that makes any sense whatsoever.

    Kicker is that was never the intention was it?

    • Marsha says:

      I agree, god forbid the pharmacy students at Rutgers should get a hold of these blogs, and see what it’s really about. But over time, they will, slowly, and so will the pharmacy schools taking their good money. Let our voices be heard and the bells will ring!!!

    • NY RX says:

      Yes, unfortunately, 90% of pharmacists are pussies. Its actually embarrassing that so many intelligent people can continuously put up with horrible work conditions. But there are a few who arent, in fact, there are probably thousands. It would take XYZ pharmacy or any other faggot corporation about 10 minutes to settle a union contract, if for example, all long island pharmacists decided to strike. A strong voice is essential, and a strike is inevitable. Its easier than we think. All we have to do is take a step back and ask ourselves the question “do i want to live the rest of my life being a fuking pussy?” And the answer should come shortly after. We are smarter than this.

  2. I agree…but I do think STRIKE is the only way to change these things since everything else will require sponsorship money from either drug companies or these evil chains.

    STOP WORKING for few hours…they will lose so much money that will create a big chaos in all over the US…they will have no choice but to agree with our basic demands like…lunch break…certain overlap while shift change…pharmacist to tech ratio…CASHIER no matter what…Pharmacist will not attend patients in Drive Thru…and got more if anyone is listening!

    By the way, we remain underpaid for the work and they way we are expected to work!

  3. kizell says:

    The reason that it would not work is b/c pharmacists are pushover pussies.

  4. Dr. Grumpy says:

    Absolutely right. We are personality types that are unlikely to effectively unionize.

  5. Techworld says:

    Let me talk for a second about over worked! I ‘m a tech that is applying into pharmacy school this year and every day i work i ask myself why do i want to do this again? Especially this past week! Take friday for example we are open from 8-10 and have one pharmacist all day we filled 630 scripts! Plus a 8 hour tech shift called out! There is no way in hell one pharmacist should ever have to check 630 script in 14 hours…plus she got no lunch and we just order pizza and toke a bit in between the scripts! So it gets better today i had to turn in the tech hours for last week and we were 20 hours over budget because it was totally crazy this week so as i’m getting lecture about going over tech budget i run a total script count for the week and are budget it 1900 and we end up with 2900!!!! Yeah 1000 over budget and you are yelling about 20 hours over tech budget! That is just crazy! Something has to give! This working enviroment is so stressfull and more and more mistakes will happen.

    • maria says:

      Do you work for CVS? That sounds like one of my days!
      Why is it that CVS gets away with this… No lunch breaks.. no restroom breaks…check, check, check before everything turns F&%*#g RED …. We are not dispensing Burgers and pizza… Its MEDICATION that if given wrong because they rush (must be done in 15 min-waiters)CAN KIIL YOU!! Aaaaand you get scored on not how accurate you dispence BUT how fast you get waiters OUT!! and refills!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Please do a rant on Wellpoint. I would like to know your thoughts on this evil corporation. Being employed there has already made me quite physically and mentally ill.

    This working environment will end up killing me if I don’t move on. Two more years of working and graduate school and I can finally breathe again.

    God save my sanity.

  7. Handyr says:

    I know this sounds easier than it really is but each and every one of us must STAND UP FOR OURSELVES. Every time you feel that you have been abused by a customer, every time you feel that you have been being dumped on by a district manager, every time a new and even more ridiculous set of guidelines come down from the corporate office. I speak from 30 years of experience, a polite but firm defense is the most effective. Even if nothing changes you will FEEL better. Believe me, no one will make things better for you. Either individually or as a profession WE MUST BE HEARD!

  8. WagBoy says:

    TAP, Biggest reason why Union or whatever wont work is that our pay has consistantly increased for past several years. The only way to get pharmacists, including myself, attention is to decrease our pay. I along with countless pharmacists will bitch and moan about our working conditions, but at the end of the day we know we are highly compensated. I’ve heared the question, why do pharmacists stay and/or work at $4 or $5 chains? It’s because it’s not our money being lost, it’s the company’s money so who gives a fuck. We pharmacists may not admit it but as long as our pockets aren’t hurt then who gives a shit whose money is lost.

    • so you are saying…keep playing with patients’ lives…so what we give hydrochlorothiazide for $4…but if you know that 25mg twice a day is ridiculous dose…you dont have time to call the doctor and stay on hold forever…nor does the patient have patience…this is just a basic example…there are things more serious than that…we all know about it!

      WHY KILL SOMEONE BECAUSE OUR POCKETS AREN’T GETTING HURT? One day, you will end up losing the license and then it will hurt all your life…working conditions must change, not for ourselves, not for the business, not for the respect…BUT ONLY FOR SAFETY OF PUBLIC HEALTH!

  9. Nothing will change until you do (all of you together).

  10. Independent Minded says:

    With healthcare changes on the horizon, this is a great time to have your voices heard like no other time in the past. Write your Congressman and Senator. If they receive enough letters from us, maybe one of the letters might actually be seen by someone in Washington.

    The reason you have the working conditions you have is because fewer and fewer giants have larger and larger slices of the pie. Congress is talking about passing legislation that will tell insurance companies to reform our healthcare system. How retarded is that! The way they will accomplish this is to make healthcare worker work more for less so they can continue to pay their CEOs there multimillion dollar bonuses and there stockholders expect a little also.

    You chain pharmacists are already giving antibiotics away for free and pills in bottle for $4. Allowing that to happen under your watch cheapens our profession. You have to check so many prescriptions in a day how can you possible be talking to patients about the pills you put in bottles? The big guy would love figure out how to eliminate your salary altogether.

    I love when one of my regular customers goes to one of the chains because of the pills in a bottle plans or $25 gift cards or some such other get the customer in the store to buy lipstick and a bag of Doritos promotion. I can’t think of any customer that did not eventually return, only to say the discount was not worth it. I get comments like, \they told me it was going to be a 3 hour wait or the pharmacist did not talk to me about my medication\… the comments go on.

    One way to fix our profession is through legislation to give us back our profession. The big guys are too big. They control too much of the market to unionize and have walkouts. That will not work. Another way is for chain pharmacists to go across the street and open your own independent pharmacy. That way you can run the show. It can work. I did it.

    • RxScruples says:

      Please tell me how you opened your own business. I have been contemplating this for a while and need to know the steps to take.
      Chain pharmacy is one of the worst jobs on earth! I used to work for an
      independent that sold out and loved everyday on my job. Now on my days off I just stay in bed I am so depressed. Last week, my PDM wrote me up for not coming to a so-called mandatory store meeting. It was my weekend off and the meeting was at 8am on Sunday morning. I live an hour away for my job and work 12 and half hour shifts when on duty. She drove 2 hours just to come to the store and write me up. She never asked if I had a reason for not coming to the meeting and proceeded to tell me how I thought and felt.
      I have to get out of this job!

  11. VeteranTech says:

    Well, blame the Walgreens pharmacists some for thier “ridiculous” attempt at a strike a few years ago. Last I heard, Walgreens was the biggest pharmacy in the nation and the pharmacists, fed up with lousy work conditions, not enough staff, and being treated like dirt in general by thier employers FOLDED LIKE LAST WEEK’S LAUNDRY. I think they made it ONE WEEK (two maybe, I can’t remember).

    WAY TO STICK IT OUT AND GET WHAT YOU DESERVE MEATHEADS!

    You just set pharmacists (and pharmacy in general) back 20 years AT LEAST. Now Walgreens and thier competitors KNOW they can do whatever they want and we have no COJONES to stand up for ourselves. I’m just a tech and no matter what I do “the man” won’t listen to me. I/we needed YOU GUYS (and GALS) to do it for me/us. You backed down without getting ANYTHING.

    So this is proof (in my feeble opinion) that a Pharmacist’s Union will never work. So my suggestion to the pharmacists out there is to suck it up and go to work and shut up about it. Walgreen’s pharmacists made your bed for you… so lie in it and enjoy. Maybe you can quit “Evil Pharmacy X” and find a place (hospital or retail) you can enjoy working in. Unless of course, we ever decide to actually grow a pair and stand up for ourselves despite the cost of doing so.

    Additionally, wouldn’t it make more sense to form a Pharmacist AND Technician union???? The only union I have ever been part of (as a tech) we were lumped in with the “Food and Commercial Workers” which was garbage because all of our demands/problems got ignored because we were such a small portion of the overall union our voices were never heard. A Pharmacist and Tech union would DEFINITELY turn the corporate bozo’s heads and make them listen!

    • WAG pharmacist says:

      The reason that it didn’t last was because most of the pharmacists couldn’t afford to not work. Thus, they were forced to cross the picket line. Over 200 pharmacists were forced to resign from the union so that they could work to make money to support their families. Another reason the pharmacists stopped the strike is because they cared about their patients… and didn’t want their patients to suffer throughout all this.

      That is the real reason the strike didn’t work.

      By the way, my working conditions at the WAG aren’t so bad. I get to pee when I want and I get to go get a pop or chips when I want. I float around to different stores in my district… but if a store fills > 500 rx’s per day, the pharmacist gets to leave for a 30 minute break when the next pharmacist comes in (Pharmacist shifts: 8-4, 11-7, 2-10). At a “normal” store, I fill about 400 per day, with 4-5 technicians, and I still am able to talk with patients on every new Rx that comes in…

      Just saying… not all chains, or all stores within chains, are bad…

      • Techworld says:

        Man that is the difference i work at another chain and we fill over 500 monday-friday and we only have pharmacist overlap monday and tuesday from 2-6 otherwise we have one pharmacist that works a 14 hour day!

      • suchabill says:

        As a WAG pharmacist I have seen the good and bad. BUT there are worse. As an immunizer I interact with patients, answer their questions and make a difference with their lives. Yes some days I work my ass off and want to kill the whole lot of them. But on the whole it is a whole lot better thean CVStress, Riteaid aan
        Walmart.

        • marsha says:

          That is sort of frightening, unless you’re a robo-pharmacist. Seriously, WAG better than CVS, it’s like comparing Granny Smith to Golden Delicious, they’re all apples, no? Check out my blog, it’s all there, the semi-rants that is.

      • Marsha says:

        I really think you might have nothing to compare this job to, and that is why it seems palatable, I worked in a few other professions and it was vastly different, sort of like comparing a beach day to well, prison. We really are on the chain gang.

  12. GhettoPharm says:

    I laughed so hard on the comment about pictures in pharmacy publications. So very true…..where are the pictures of the druggies smoking their lungs out in the car while waiting for their Percocet and Oxycontin to be filled at 3 AM? Oh, wait a second, how about the picture of the pharmacist (me) handing them cigarettes so that they can smoke and won’t notice that I’m calling the ER to tell the doc that he or she is restricted.

  13. Wally says:

    Collectively, we pharmacists are a bunch of whining pussies. Unfortunatley, you, TAestP and the others like us who want to stand up for ourselves are countered by liberal bleeding-heart pharmacists like David Monroe Stanley (aka Drug Monkey). We take 1 step foreward and are knocked backwards a mile. I would like to see it work, but it never will. And associations, don’t even get me started.

  14. vga says:

    To be honest with you, pharmacist unions won’t work. Most of us are just mercenaries who like to bitch. If we cared about our work environment we would have just refused to work in stores with drive through windows or no lunch. Instead we just asked for a bigger signing bonus and went on in. Now we’re stuck with it.

    Honestly, I don’t see it getting better either. We could try to legislate it but that would probably fail. We’d petition the Boards for a lunch break and wind up with 10 more hours of required CE, a report to fill out and maybe and one less tech slot. If we are lucky, we could *gasp* get that asinine rule about not being able to dispense already filled prescriptions without a pharmacist on duty suspended for 30 minutes a day so we could get a lunch if the chains decided to be so generous.

    The only way that I see for things to get better would be a resurgence of independent pharmacies. If the pharmacist owned and operated the store he or she could make the call about having a cashier, or getting an extra tech, or whether to close for a lunch break. The choice of better work environment vs more money in the bank would for once be up to the pharmacist, not a faceless corporation.

    Problem is that if you don’t have an entrepreneurial background going into pharmacy school (which most pharmacy students don’t), you aren’t going to get one while in pharmacy school. Aspects of setting up and running your own pharmacy haven’t been taught in years. Even if new graduates knew how to run their own business I wonder if they could compete successfully with the likes of CVS and Wags.

  15. Watson349 says:

    It is not easy to have one union, but we can have regional unions. Moreover, CVS, SWY, TGT, WAG, WMT can all have individual unions. This is actually a good thing. Think about it, if CVS got a raise, WAG can say we want one too or we strike. While WAG, the company, can care less about its RPh’s, it cares about its market share. When WAG RPhs strike, customers are not going to stick around and wait for it to be over, they’ll start going to other chains.

    Some may ask, what about patient care. I’m sorry, while I do not wish to cause harm on the patients, my first priority/responsibility is to my family. Besides, if “Pharmacy the America Trusts,” “For all the ways you care,” “With us, it’s personal,” or “Save Money, Live better” companies don’t give a rat’s ass about the patients’ well being (and they are the ones making money off of them), why should I?

    • marsha says:

      Well said, I’d love to see a line of patients asking for their scripts so they could go across the street. Only problem is, I believe the patients too are pissed off and know that going to CVS won’t change anything. They’d probably just stand there and wait. We’re all lowly cows in this game, the only ones laughing are the people at the top. Check out my blog, it’s there.

  16. pharmacyslave2000 says:

    This is an interesting debate. With the current economic crisis, we are all asked to do more with less. Our companies do not care about patients or pharmacists, they care only about profits. Where does it end? Independents are a dying breed. Very few pharmacists fresh out of school can afford to take on the burden of more debt in order to open their own store and there is far to much competition from big box retailers who will do anything, i.e. free antibiotics, $4 rx’s, gas coupons, to really grow a business from the ground up. There is no one left to fight the battle against the corporations. My suggestion is to find the best work environment you can (the grass is always brown in our industry, just try to find a spot where it is the least brown) and put in your time. Do the best you can and go home and collect your paycheck. This may sound apathetic, and it is, but we’re fighting a losing battle. Our profession was taken away from us years ago and we are not going to get it back. Enjoy your six-figures while you can.

    • James says:

      Collect your paycheck off the counter with all the dust on it? Let me tell you a simple story. My friend worked in a factory which produced medications. She was there a total of one year. After developing skin rashes and a cough, she left for another company. She is 42 today. Three of her friends who worked with her at the factory have died of brain tumors. Good reason to become a Pharmacist. In your profession, any type of “Brown” may equal death.

  17. Borris Badenough says:

    Chain pharmacist need to look at what the physicans that worked for Kaiser did years ago. They formed their own for profit company \The Permanente Medical Group\ and contract all there services back to Kaiser. So if all the CVS pharmacist formed a forprofit company and then the corperation represented collectively all the pharmacist and nogotiated wages, hours, etc. The other benifit is that as a corp. you could provide benifits, health, retirement, disability and work for a higher wage. In fact if CVS and other chains might be very interested in this model as the corporation that you form could if run efficently reduce the chains overall labor cost and potentially increase the money in eaach individuals pocket through profit sharring. But it has to be all or noe.

  18. James says:

    Hello Again,
    As I have previously stated, I am not a PharmD. nor a Pharmacist. I wrote a piece on why Pharmacists should unionize about 3 or 4 weeks ago for these webpages. I will conclude that Pharmacists, in general, really don’t care about their work envioronments, their work rights or wage disparities simply because they get paid “enough” not to risk being terminated from their positions. You poorly interject, “Thats fine and good, but if you’re in so much demand, go and work for someone who doesn’t put you through such a shitty work environment. Pharmacists are in short supply” Well, that all depends on where you actually live. Pharmacists are being paid aroung $50-ish in South Florida because there are probably 1.2 Pharmacists for every job vacancy. In this case, your theories fall flat. When there are more Pharmacists than positions available, Pharmacists get kicked around like smelly dogs. I also believe schools are becoming more lax. They want to pump out students, simply worried about “PASSING THE STATE TEST”, and not producing a Pharmacist who can actually think and problem solve. Pharmacists used to be chemists who could compound materials and actually understand what it was they were producing and distributing. I stand by my position that Pharmacists should unionize. It would solve more problems than it would create.

    • Robert says:

      I am currently represented by a union in CA. The only value I have seen over the past years is a constant increase in my dues without any improvements in patient care or work conditions. The unioni only want the pharmacists to donate more monies to their political ideals and to help the union make it better for the social worker or lab tech (also represented by the same union and bargening group). Last year I resigend from the union and now only pay the “fair share” (saves $2 per month). The union is a joke and I will not rejoin until they demononstrate value. I am not holding my breath.

  19. just a girl says:

    James, has a point. If we were in such high demand we would be treated like the pampered princess and not the smelly dog being kicked to the curb. However, we except the conditions we work in and allow our pay-check to remedy the situation. What fools for the \Benjamins\ we all have become!

  20. marsha says:

    Where have all the flowers gone? Thank god I left the profession for 3 decades. But from my relatively fresh vantage point, every chain pharmacy will bleed you to death. Maybe with Obama’s plan, we will be in more demand, and that would be the perfect time to MAKE DEMANDS! Truly not getting lunch breaks, running around giving flu shots AND checking scripts… us bladder retentive pharmacists are in purgatory.

    I pity us all. I don’t know about you, but I will continue searching for an independent pharmacy with a kind owner… I’ll let you know if it’s out there.

  21. omniciderx says:

    I work in Long term care. We now have a chart hanging on the Pharmacy wall with each Pharmacists name and the number of scripts they either verified or final checked the day before. This is updated daily by the Tech/manager. I am supposed to look at it daily and think DAMN I only verified 580 scripts yesterday and Rph Joe did 690, so this is supposed to make me work just a little bit harder today. They actually put up the #scripts verified per hour, which means I now know exactly how many minutes a day I am staying late (like that’s going to keep happening). According to the managers who came up with this dimwitted idea the minimum we should do is 54/hour. We are going to be losing some pharmacists real soon, and these same managers are going to be asking me to do some extra hours. Guess what my response will be? I’ll do the extra hours when the wall chart comes down and management stops trying to embarrass and humiliate me into working even harder than I already am. For some reason that wall chart never seems to record how many allergies I have to call on, how many IV’s I checked and how many Vanco and aminoglycoside dosings I do in my spare time. Could that be because that is not easily retrievable info from the computer by the tech/manager?

  22. Ryan says:

    This seems very accurate. On the first thought, a union seems good, but most would never go for it. And yeah, most people complaining should just look for another job (which is what I’m doing!). And yeah, CVS is horrible. We converted from Longs, and they apparently didn’t do much research on Longs previous system; it was extremely more efficient. They don’t even let the tech see the RX image, so we don’t know what we’re filling. Our pharmacist keeps not getting paid for the last few months and can’t seem to get the company to pay him. I’m sick of complaining about pharacy, I’m leaving, but I’ll always check this site.

  23. Mary says:

    Hey TAP, how about dropping Ms. Mean from your links. She hasn’t updated anything for over a month.

  24. bcmigal says:

    I used to believe I was a health professional, now I feel like a whore for a great pimp of a drugstore chain. My whole day is spent worrying about the “wait time vs promised time” report. Will I make 90%? Will my score be better than anyone else’s? Did I check off everything on the “workload manager”? Our work has doubled and our staff has been cut by 40%. Now the 2nd oldest profession is the same as the first! What the heck happened?
    Although I have been a union member, I do not think that forming or joining one will solve what seem to be universal problems. And, frankly, I do not know what will. Maybe CNN needs to send in an undercover pharmacist or tech and then report to the public on how appalling conditions are.
    “We have seen the enemy, and he is us.” We have allowed our “profession” to decay year after year and now we are stuck in our self made pile of rot. How very, very sad.

    • just a girl says:

      Love the undercover CNN pharmacist spy! Where do I sign up: WORKING conditions are appalling, and now the corporate pimp is refusing to pay us for the extra time we are spending in the store since they have decreased the tech budget! Gotta love that one! So now, we can work and not even get paid for it! Can I give you my first born too!! What more can I f***en do for you Mr. Corporate pimp? Please tell me. Do you have a report for how long I worked vs how much I was paid today: or what about the bathroom time report vs waiting on people: or the did you eat dinner or verify prescriptions reports: check those and get back to me! The labor board would LOVE you!!!!! Today my score was best in these, no bathroom, no water no dinner 2 unpaid hours!

      • wag whore says:

        like my walgreens dm tells me, “you are a salaried employee, you don’t punch a clock”.

        • Karrirx says:

          I am salaried..but we clock in where I work. If we work over 40 then we get paid for it. It’s one of the best “chains” (small grocery store chain) I’ve ever worked for. I’ve worked for some others…started as a cashier for Eckerds at 16 years old back in 1992. Learned alot from the employers I worked at over the years…which was good when I graduated from pharmacy school I was very picky!!! If you don’t like the working conditions THEN LEAVE!!!! I put up with so many things for so many years (many of them as a tech) and I just won’t do it anymore!!

          I am fortunate to work for the company that I do. They actually care about their employees!!

  25. John says:

    I know several people who work at wal-greens and talk about how they love their job. I work for a grocery store (Giant Eagle) and nearly every one I know there complains about their job. Giant eagle is the hell of retail pharmacies. $4 generics, installing drive through windows, expected 15 minute wait times, fuel perk promotions, scanning giant eagle cards, etc. etc. At least if you work at wal-mart you don’t have to deal with “fuel perks” or drive through windows.

    • pharmacyslave2000 says:

      Ah, Giant Eagle. I’m from the same area but work for a different chain. How’s that “free antibiotic” program working out for you?

  26. Bluetowelboy says:

    There is a shortage of mds out there, time to crack the books until Obama ruins that market too. I say get out if you can. If you are too old or don’t want to, ride it until the gravytrain ends. But by all means don’t kill yourself for your employer they won’t do shit for you.

  27. marsha says:

    Hey Just a Girl, my son just got a spy camera, it films through walls, maybe sending a 5 minute clip of the daily chaos of retail pharmacy to CNN. Check out my blog, it’s all there or getting there.

  28. bcmigal says:

    Another day of pharmacy phun! In the last week, one tech was transferred and not replaced, our college students (who worked 4p-9p) went back to school, one cashier’s hours were cut from 24 to 8 (so he quit) and a tech (whose hours went from 32 to 24) gave his notice. In the blink of an eye, we went from a staff of 9 to a staff of 4. And we are still expected to fill “waiters” in 15 minutes or less. Filled by whom? I think the Keebler elves are too busy making cookies to help out at the register.
    So if there are any folks out there who have even a marginally good work situation, I would certainly like to hear from them.
    BTW, YouTube is a great way to spread “news”/

  29. wag whore says:

    what about the stress of being forced to immunize without any additional compensation or supportive personnel during cough/cold/flu season?? personally, i’m tired of being walgreens’ whore. i don’t buy all the high school football coach rah rah speeches about \furthering the pharmacy profession\, \stepping outside the box and making sacrifices\ by becoming an immunizer an not getting paid an additional cent to do it. are you freaking kidding me??? then having a patronizing e-mail sent down from the dm about how much your extra work is appreciated. how many millions of additional dollars are generated for walgreens per flu vaccine. 15 dollars a pop?? do the math. not to mention practically having to kill yourself in the process of the added workload. face it, chain pharmacists are whores! any chain pharmacist that disagrees is brainwashed whore.

  30. bcmigal says:

    So I guess you are not a happy WAG phamacist? I was told today that i was not “compIiant” because I did not make the “work board’ for our whole staff of 4. Then we got 6 phone calls from a customer who said she was suicidal because she got the orange clonazepam instead of the green ones (we switched from Eon to Activis). Now if there is no cashier, the pharmacist is expected to go to the register. So after 2 undergrad degrees and graduate school, I get to ring up mops and makeup!
    Perhaps the public has to complain about our situation. People would not stand for it if their dentist , attorney, accountant, or physician was interrupted half as much as we are.
    If a union contract was really inforceable, that would be a step in the right dirction…??

  31. pharmacyslave2000 says:

    “Wag Whore” is absolutely correct. I’m not an “immunizing pharmacist”, I’m not a “diabetes specialist” and I don’t do MTM. Why? Because I don’t get paid extra to do it! I’m not going to add stress to an already stressful day. I’m paid to dispense rx’s and advice and that’s what I do, nothing more. I’ll admit I’m a total whore but there’s a limit. I do this job for the money. I do the best I can for that day and then I go home. I don’t give a shit as long as my paycheck is in my bank account every 2 weeks. If you let yourself be taken advantage of, your company will continue to do so and expect more from you in long run. Don’t kill yourself for nothing. Life’s too short.

  32. RphMadasHEll says:

    Hello! We cant unionize, we have way to many female members, who arent designed to take the stress and lack of cash flow a strike demands. Plus we make way to much money for ON AVERAGE for what we do. Plus, with the new rx schools like LECOM and others coming out with 3 yr programs that put crappy rphs into the workspace, how can u unionize? Someone else will be right there to take that crappy job.

  33. Phar-mom-acist says:

    I have worked 10 hours every day this month! I had 2 days off so far the entire month! I have taken maybe 10 bathroom breaks and 2 lunch breaks in those 15 days, I have had to work 10 hours on my feet without a pee-break 9 months pregnant! Now they’ve got me on the flu-shot deal. Yesterday my pharmacist station was empty for 90 minutes while I gave flu-shots until my relief showed up. I’ll bet the board of pharmacy would LOVE that. Mandatory counseling my a**, I don’t have time to say hello my patients let alone counsel every freakin’ amoxicillin/vicodin rx. I am so glad I found this blog.

  34. renee murphree says:

    i don’t know if anyone has told you what a great work you are doing here on those long hard days that i want to quit i to to your website and know i am not alone.

  35. dr.mc thumpy says:

    look all pharmacist must join a union for the protection of us all. we are seriously facing the possibility of being replaced by pill dispensing machines on dec 21 2012. its coming androids and all “we better unionize my fellow pharmacrats”.also welfare mothers of america have been engageing in hate crimes against pharmacist all across the us due to taps HIGHLY INFORMATIVE welfare mother rant. we must unionize “NOW” BEFORE TOMORROW COMES OR WERE ALL VENDING MACHINES! we must unionize before dec 21 2012. please do it now!

  36. bcmigal says:

    Women can’t take the stress of a strike? Really? I did it for 6 months in 2003 (and as a single parent). We make too much money for what we do? Surely, you jest!
    I would love to see more comments on the entry by “RphMadasHell”.

    I do not think that being represented by a union is the answer. My customers (who now must wait days for their Rxs due to lack of staffing) are asking how they can help. One even took a photo of the long lines at the pharmacy counter. Complaining to the “company” would only penalize us. Complaining to the board of pharmacy might prompt a visit from them. Maybe someone should contact the state attorney general before one of us commits a serious and harmful error?

    What is worrisome is that these issues are almost universal. Would your trust your surgeon if he or she was multitasking during your operation? Would you have confidence in your accountant if he or she was juggling the tax forms of 4 or 5 folks simultaneously? Why is it okay for pharmacists to work under such stressful conditions? It is the public who should say “enough!”

    Your thoughts?

  37. 247 Heidi says:

    I have worked with a lot of pharmacies and pharmacists in my life as well as taken a whole ton of pills (heart related……don’t get the wrong idea!) and I think that pharmacists should be made as happy as possible. Unfortunately the giants like cvs etc have some very disgruntled people there and I feel a little uneasy when having them dispense my prescriptions and those of my clients. The small mom n pops are the best because they treat their employees right. Pharmacists are well educated, fine commodities and should be treated as such and if it takes a union to make the big boxes realize it then I am all for it!

  38. Ozzy West says:

    Whoa!

    What is happening on Dec 21, 2012 ??

    Is that when the Inca Empire thought the universe would end?

    Oh Well….

    Oz

  39. just a girl says:

    Wow….so right you are rphmadashell! Just to many women pharmacist for us to unionize! Must be that my stress is in direct proportion to my tits size! Maybe my brain size is affected by them too? Oh yes, the stress of child birth is f–en nothing, and forget managing a house hold, getting the kids ready for school, packing lunch, arranging child care, doctors visits, making dinners, cleaning the house, taking care of the dog, the cat, and the kids homework…NO FUCKEN STRESS HERE!!!! BUT managed perfectly! Oh and by the way look at the facts! There where and still are more men in the chicago union, of which the men ( oh tear ) where the 1st to cross the picket line. Second the corporation that picketed has all their pharmacy supervisors licensed chicago and all their dptc licensed in chicago so that they could go there, at the treat of a strick! Which they did. Look into the facts and get back to me…
    I think you will find (( tear ) that the WOMEN had little to do with the strick failure! sad….but true …do you need a tissue?

  40. fedup pharmer says:

    Well, maybe a union would help us avoid the bogus creation of experts & managers. For those of you who have not watched the creation of a pharmacist specialist in a teaching hospital let me share the steps with you:
    1) find someone who despite no special training or experience that would qualify them as a specialist or manager but is willing to say & do anything including, melighning co-workers,to please the boss.
    2) reward & encourage them espeially in front of their co-workers as this will help to build their confidence & sense of entitelment. This also serves as an indirect method of notifying the rest of the staff that this individual now has special status with management & must be catered to & not challenged.
    3) overlook all their blunders even as they put patients in jeopardy.
    4) give them special extra tasks to do as this will make it easier to justify that they are indeed worthy. If the outcome of the task is poor, just explain it away somehow.
    5) you are now ready to promote them & or deem them a specialist or manager
    6) Alternatively – take a similar personality, give them a residency, let them do data collection or some other mindeless thing for year, maybe two then just simply promopte them to supervisor them to specialist them to manager. Voila!!
    7) say abra-ka-dabra!!!; we’re all doomed to mediocrity.
    All the progress that has been hard gained is now in reverse gear. Congrats on your leadership fellow Pharmers.

  41. bcmigal says:

    The workers in the field (not to denigrate farmwork!) have more rights than pharmacists. We just shrug our shoulders and say “it’s that way everywhere”. What’s wrong with this picture?

    A huge chain of 7000 stores does not give a hoot about you and your pharmacy. Just keep up with those cycle counts, psrs, waiting bin inventories, etc. And keep your customers happy . Do all this with a support staff that shrinks by the day. Did I mention no lunch penalties or OT? If you are hoping that the corporate folks are going to validate your worth, you are naive and delusional. You are just a serf in the great fiefdom. You are replaceable, expendable, and disposable. The chains are powerful monsters who are beholding only to their shareholders.

    Thanks for the comments, just a girl. I had more colorful language in mind, but you summed it up very well. At this point, I see no positive outcome from forming a union.
    But I would like to see some ideas that could by implemented in real life.

  42. toddq138 says:

    I work as a pharmacy manager for a regional grocery store and I have been over my tech budget limit several times! The reason is because now intern hours get counted as regular tech hours. (they blame this change on the down economy) They used to be counted separate and I would always be under my tech hour budget. They made this change right before they launched a coupon campaign in the entire columbus market over the summer. In state of ohio interns can give and receive transfers and tech can not…yet they are both counted as tech hours!

  43. theevilredhead says:

    I swear I have worked with you either that or you are reading my mind. I’m a tech who spent 13 years in the retail trenches. I had to laugh my ass off on the “old person with the produce bag filled with scummy drug bottles”. They are everywhere.
    I always thought that as techs have advanced in responsibilities etc that techs should unionize but again, as with RPh’s, your working conditions depend on your compnay and setting.
    I currently work as a supervisor of techs in a hospice call center. Life is good! This is the promised land!!

  44. Safety says:

    Anyone fired for not dispensing an Rx w/o an Rx. Or moving DUR (4 point) to the final check, in your software, so you could warn the patient of an allergy risk, interaction, or contraindication?

  45. redeye says:

    Oh, my God I have read all the above comments. before I found this site I always wonder why all this smart pharmacist working for retail are getting abused in this land of america. I have been a retail phrmacist for one of the big one for more than 10 years. I justed started working for small chain. Less prescription number no tech help most of the time. I am doing my pharm d to see if I can get out of the retail hell and work in hospital. I agree with establishing a regional association since we have a useless pharmacy association. Let’s create a way for all unhappy pharmacist to join together ( maybe a website ) to do something for the sake of our safety and public safety. Let’s stop complaining! enough is enough! I will do anything to get pharmacist to have a good working condition like other professions! Please do not tell me this can not be done. We can do it. Let’s start before they kill us and our profession.

  46. John says:

    Yeah, whatever! How can a mere pharmacist, someone who counts pills for a living (which needs no special training) and plays Hearts on the Internet all day at work, know anything about made up diseases? Ohh, 4 years of Chemistry. If you are are the Prodigy of all things in pill, liquid or suppository form, and go the full monty—6 years—to become a DOCTOR of counting pills, where do you find the time to go to med school?

    JESUS, Angry Pharmacist!! You are the very epitomy of all that you hate and dispise! You are a product of your own making! You are:

    1. Afraid of Unions because it upsets the balance when you are down there licking the man’s pie hole

    2. You bespeak of unions like only a corporate office boob can do

    3. You might have to give up 3 percent of your precious pill counting earnings in dues—how will you make your rec toy payments?

    4. Overall, you speak ill about everything that goes along with being a retail druggist like only a man or woman with a paper asshole would.

    Yeah, this is your site. You are too big a tit with Xanax residue in your pockets to print this and you will most certainly come up with some pseudo-clever dribble shit to say against me…..

    BUT WE ALL KNOW YOU BITCH THE LOUDEST BECAUSE YOU ARE THE MOST INSECURE!
    NOTHIN’ WILL EVER CHANGE THAT!

    Now, I need 30 Savellas for my imaginary Fibromyalgia. Hurry before I punch you in the throat for taking too long to count them out and counsel me! I can hardly wait until pill dispensing machines hit the market.

    Love,

    An even angrier consumer, who you cater and serve because your salary depends upon me.

    • just a girl says:

      Thank you for my salary…..you do pay it! And at the end of the day it is still Dr. Pie Hole licker! Yummy!!! But…I like you missed the point! Love you John oops is it Dr. ….guess not!

    • Pharmacist123 says:

      Your message is STUPID to say the least!! We aren’t doctors of “counting pills” we have educations so that we can prevent MD’s and patients from killing themselves you dumbass. Obviously you aren’t a pharmacist or you wouldn’t be so stupid. Counting pills is the very minimum of what we do, if you were part of the profession you would know that. You are a stupid, f&^*King moron. I hate you. You should take all the pills in the bottle that your “doctor of counting pills” gave you and die.

  47. John says:

    When you loose your job, down at the good ole’ apothecary, and end up 3rd shift manager at Kwik Trip because you can’t find a job in your field, just remember these words, \Do the best you can and go home and collect your paycheck. This may sound apathetic, and it is, but we’re fighting a losing battle. Our profession was taken away from us years ago and we are not going to get it back.\ I know an excellent pharmD who got his pink note and will be doing just that. Keeo thinking this way…the world needs toilet cleaners always (just don’t shake my hand!)

  48. Mohammad Jesus Cohen-Patel says:

    Most pharmacists are afraid that if they unionize they will be fired. I don’t know why someone will say. No to unionization but then quit a week later to go from one bad job to another. Instead of looking for the better job, I learned a long time ago that you need to make the job you have better. No patient of mine has ever died because they had to wait a littlwe longer for a prescription. If the big chains really wanted the wait time in 10 minutes or less then they will properly staff the department and develope a computer system that moves faster. Right now the company I work for is switching computer systems to one that takes twice as long to process a prescription with no increase in tech help. So guess what every store they convert over loses business.
    If you don’t look out for yourself no one will.

    Union…YES!!!

  49. Come On says:

    Chains have taken over the Profession of Pharmacy. Sad but true. It is our profession and we should have some say in how much our compensation should be and what our working conditions should look like. That will not happen without a Union of Pharmacist butting heads with the corporations in a negotiating format. Company mentality vs. Professional mentality. Both need to make money to survive. Money vs. working conditions is interesting as we all know time is money. A happy consumer is money and a happy consumer is usually someone who gets in and out in a short amount of time. Therefore there will always be pressure for speed in all aspects related pharmacy, and the pharmacist will be pressured to get them out in the 15minutes as mentioned by previous posters to keep the consumer happy. Pharmacist being highly compensated ($$/Minute) will always be expected to produce rapidly to keep consumer happy and help the company bottom line. You will always be expected to work hard, and it is hard to multi-task thru the job at hand—phone calls, consultations, side problems and company demands. What would make you complain louder—making $50/hour with fewer demands, or making $100/hour and working your ass off? You are going to work your ass off. It therefore comes down to how much/hour you are willing to work your ass off for. That is why you need a union. I read comments that the union has done nothing. If you are a member of a union—you are an intricate piece of it, and when you say the union has done nothing—you have done nothing. That is why they call them unions—the group must act together as a whole to be effective in the negotiations. They will bring in their best $1000/hour union breaking big mouthed union busting highly trained attorneys to save the company millions of dollars. Shit, maybe $2000/hr. Strikes, sick-ins, slowdowns, might bring results? Just getting together and speaking with one voice will get you noticed, as you then have special legal rights/protections.

  50. pill pusher says:

    Ah finally my favorite subject to talk about, a pharmacy union. Quite frankly, I am surprised that my spell checker doesn’t give the red underline when I type the word “pharmacy”. I mean why shouldn’t it? It has no idea what metronidazole is and underlines it every time. No one cares about what degree that the person behind the counter has, all people care about is that someone give them their pantoprazole shortly after they ask for it, and the quicker the better.

    The general public has no idea what havoc will reach their lives if they receive digoxin instead of Dilantin. Furthermore, most do not recognize the subtle dosing requirements for either of these 2 drugs and that what is therapeutic for one person can be fatally detrimental to another. Fortunately, for the public it is impossible for a pharmacist to graduate pharmacy school and get licensed without understanding these concepts as well as many others. Unfortunately, when we are forced to “verify” 200, 300, or 400 scripts during a 12 or 14 hour day and are interrupted 15 times in 10 minutes it is increasingly likely that these subtleties might go unnoticed or forgotten about, lost in the myriad of work in front of you, behind you, to your left, right, and diagonally across the counter as you struggle to hear if your tech responding to a patient’s question correctly. All of this happens without a break. However, your unionized/non-unionized techs may or may not be qualified to work for you are forced to take breaks and prohibited to work beyond their scheduled shifts. How can a smelly dog kicked to the curb be responsible for supervising a technician who is treated like their master? What level of respect does our profession command that we have allowed our techs to enjoy these common human rights while we work at a breakneck pace, relentlessly pushed by our employers to pump out more volume all for the sake of making them more money and where does this leave the patient? Your employer could care less about the patient as long as he is feeding his money into their register and the way they see to that is by forcing you to fill more prescriptions faster, don’t worry they are insured if you make a mistake by hastily approving a prescription for warfarin 10mg po qd instead of warfarin 1mg po qd. In the end the volume of rx’s you fill will make up for the money lost in that insurance claim.

    As for a union, I agree with TAP the only way it could work is if all of us were forced to join a common union. There are many reasons why that wouldn’t work because all of us don’t share the same interests. However, the way we can make it work while sharing a common interest is by requiring all pharmacists to have an individual NPI number so that the insurance companies can get billed directly for our services. This way the union can strike against individual insurance companies and not their employers. So if you happen to work in a hospital your reimbursement rate would per rx and complexity of rx filled would be the same as someone working in retail. How much money does a hospital get for the TPN that you prepared? Sure, they provide you with the facility and means, but without you there is no TPN, let them hire a tech to dispense it, oh I forgot that is illegal and for good reason. I propose this: a retail chain such as CVS would hire you for a nominal fee to be their staff pharmacist, let’s say for 20k per year plus benefits. Then the rest of your reimbursement comes directly from 3rd party payers. Since we are now unionized we can ourselves determine what a fair workload would be and decide that 70 rx’s per day is worth $100k per year, and if you fill 90 per day you can interview a tech and hire them to work for you. Ok sure there a lot of details that need to be ironed out but this approach will bring pharmacy back to the pharmacist. It just amazes me that it is next to near impossible for a licensed pharmacist to own a pharmacy, yet anyone with money can buy a pharmacy. They can hire you to make money selling their drugs using your license while they have no clue that you need finasteride and flecainide on the shelf at the same time because they don’t know the difference all they know is that you have to get rid of one or the other because they cost too much.

    Ok people help me here. I am dying, I once loved my job and now it’s hard for me to go to work. We need to do something to make this better. It took us at least 6 years of schools and no doubt many of us could have bought a 2nd house with the amount of money that we spent on school loans. Is this how our hard work is rewarded? Are we the dirty, smelly wet dogs of health care, throw me a bone here please.

    And for the cynics out there, I am not going to shut up and stop whining or get a new job, if I did, you would not be safe, so I am doing this for your ungrateful asses. Perhaps you think I get paid too much? Well, I make more money now than I ever did, and it’s just enough money to keep me from pissing in your cough syrup.

  51. bcmigal says:

    Although I am as cynical and jaded as you are, I am not sure if a union would help. I have worked in both union and non union stores. Being a union member did save me from an SOB of a store manager who thought pharmacists were prima donnas and did not understand why he could not override pharmacy law. But unions cannot change the corporate culture. The suits are not interested in how many lives we save but only in how quickly we can fill and how many reports we can turn in on time. Unless there is an uproar by the public and the media, nothing will change. But the public is only interested in fast food pharmacy and cannot understand why it takes so long to slap a label on a box. “Outsourcing” and call centers for every chain are right around the corner. I sincerely doubt that anything or anyone can stop that.
    I caution folks who are contemplating a career in pharmacy to rethink their choice. Pharmacy as we know it will cease to exist in a few years, if that. The handwriting is already on the wall.

  52. How is CVS get away wih not giving pharmacist lunch hour and not paying over time when Target phatmacy closes for lunch and Walgrren pharmacy pays overtime after 40 hours?

    Isn’t this against labor law?

  53. I also work for CVS and the company is going stupid with ideal slogan.
    talk about PSI,CSI,WBD,WBW,PCR,GER,WBR,first fill,New RX pickup call,Adherence calls…OMG..KPM,Business execution score,waiting time,
    Ready fill….
    When is it enough?

    • pharmacyphil says:

      If another 30 something corporate asswipe comes up with yet another three letter acronym for a program he or she developed for retail use, I am going to put a gun to my head, seriously. I think they watched too much Sesame Street as a child.
      They should publish a translation code and dictionary for all the crap we have to deal with daily, who thinks of this? Really….

  54. bcmigal says:

    Labor law will continue to be ignored until someone gets really po’d and complains to the DLSE. These flagrant violations are not isolated incidents and would not be difficult to prove unless one’s credentials and register code are used by other employees during lunch. We are always on camera at our place. Perhaps your clone is at the QA terminal while you are in the break room. Where is Cesar Chavez when you need him?

    Isn’t the use of CSI a trademark infringement? You forgot OOS scans , AIM, cycle counts, waiting bin. What did i miss? . We have 15 binders on the counter for all the daily reports. Maybe the next one will be WTF.

  55. Pharmacist123 says:

    It’s not against the labor law (though it sure as hell should be). We’re “professionals” and aren’t entitled to lunch as such. I work for Albertson’s and while I can’t bitch about doing 300+ per day I don’t get a lunch for 12+ hours of work and have to hide in the corner from customers while I eat.

  56. bcmigal says:

    Actually, pharmacists in California were removed from the \exempt\ or \professional \ list several years ago. This means that pharmacists are entitled to a lunch of not less than 1/2 hour after 5 hours of work. If the shift is 6 hours, lunch can be waived by mutual agreement. A paid \on duty\ lunch is permitted if the employee (the pharmacist) has agreed to it in writing. You may be working an \alternative schedule\ which, in California, allow more that 8 hours of work at straight time pay.

    I do not know your state, but, just to be clear, in California, denying a lunch period violates the wage orders of the Industrial Welfare Commission even for pharmacists. This info is available online at http://www.dir.ca.gov/iwc/iwc.html

  57. noob says:

    man…this sounds really depressing and I’m just trying to get into the field.

  58. noob says:

    Do they really not let you have a lunch break? That’s just absurd… a job is a job, but we all gotta eat. I mean that’s one of the reasons why people are working so hard…so sad.

    • Shera says:

      No lunch for 13 hours…and if you find time to pee, you will have to sweet talk your bladder sphincter into letting go since you hold it for so long…(come on fella..it’s ok…you can relax…seriously…)

  59. bcmigal says:

    How to circumvent paying for a holiday:

    Our company includes Easter in its list of paid holidays. However, since one receives an extra 8 hours of pay, each staff member must be scheduled for one day less during the pay period. Otherwise, horror of horrors, you would be paid for 48 hours! This occurs whether or not you work the holiday. WTF, why not just say we offer no paid holidays or we force you to take an extra day off without pay!!!! Too bad a lack of moral responsibility is not enforceable by the FSLA.

  60. Diane says:

    Do you seriously believe that Fibromyalgia is a made up disease??? I weighed 130 pounds when I was diagnosed. I wasn’t able to get out of bed for weeks. The pain was unbelivable and with idiots like you who think I’m faking or making up the symptoms/pain; I’m surprised that they have any medications at all to help. Just because you have never experienced it or can’t explain it doesn’t mean that it is not a real illness. I wish just for ONE DAY that I could give you all of my pain and fatigue. Your a moron!!!

Leave a Reply

 

The Angry Pharmacist is Stephen Fry proof thanks to caching by WP Super Cache

%d bloggers like this: