Magazine article Drug Topics


Magazine article Drug Topics


Article excerpt

OSHA rules

It's nice that while David Work was executive director of the NCBOP, they passed a rule to limit the number of hours a pharmacist could work in a day and to limit the number of prescriptions that could be filled [Letters, November 2011].

Too bad his successors have failed to enforce those rules. What many pharmacists don't know is that there is a federal OSHA rule that prohibits an employer from discouraging or prohibiting any employee from using the restroom - but OSHA investigates only when someone complains or gets hurt.

A tired pharmacist is a dangerous pharmacist but prescription errors and their consequences are typically swept under the rug with gift cards, hush-money checks, and confidentiality agreements. With a reported 100,000 killed annually by medical errors and 1.5 million harmed by medication mistakes, it would seem that the system will not right itself until the cost of these errors starts to approach the system's net profits.

If those of us who work within the system don't speak up when we see things going on that we know will eventually harm patients, we share responsibility for all those harmed or killed. Collectively, how do we all sleep well at night?

Steven Arìens, PD


Wake-up call

I loved David Stanley's column about CVS pharmacists working 14-hour shifts [View from the Zoo, October 201 1].

I was a very happy Osco pharmacist for 8 years before CVS bought it out and implemented its core model. While CVS does not "require" you to work 14hour shifts, the only way not to do so is to work 7 -hour shifts 5 days /week and every other weekend, because CVS fulltime positions are 44 hours, not 40. That would mean working 12 days in a row and then a weekend off - if you can find a willing partner.

I managed to stick out 4 years at CVS before the night of January 2, the Monday after New Year's and the busiest day of the year, when I worked a 14-hour shift with one 10-hour technician, filled 240 prescriptions, fell asleep driving home, and ended up crashing my car into the median, As soon as I woke up, I gave notice. Now I work at a grocery pharmacy for the same money with much better hours and 10 times less stress.

CVS is an extreme case among retailers. Its new hires are almost always either recent grads or people who have bounced around the pharmacy world so often that they have nowhere left to go. …

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