Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hand Shook, Plaque Awarded.

WASHINGTON DC- (That's right! Washington! aren't you impressed!!??)- A rather limp handshake was given from one middle aged man to another while both smiled for a photographer and imagined themselves to be very important, according to every issue ever printed of Pharmacy Today, an official publication of The American Pharmacist's Association.

The two men wore glasses, conservative haircuts, and suits of the type to be found in a regional Midwestern department store chain, the magazine has continuously reported since at least 1973. A plaque was also exchanged, usually commemorating one of the men's vision of the profession's future.

A vision of the future can also be found at the CVS pharmacy two blocks from APhA headquarters in Washington, DC, where wait times to pick up a prescription have been reported to exceed two hours.

That's right, Washington, DC, right on the National Mall with breathtaking views from the Potomac View Terrace overlooking the city's national landmarks. This will be mentioned in every issue of Pharmacy Today for the next decade.

Asked if the limp handshake was a metaphor for the organization's weak grasp of the issues actual pharmacists might care about, one of the pale men said "Not at all, if you add up the total number of our members who are pharmacists, pharmacy students, pharmacy technicians, and 'others' it comes out to less than a third of the number of people who are practicing pharmacists, which really shows where we stand. I mean, think about it, that probably means less than one on four actual pharmacists is a member of our organization! We totally must understand a thing or two!"

"Just nothing that a majority of people in the profession actually care about." He concluded.

At times, according to Pharmacy Today, conferences have also been held, discussions have taken place at round tables, and a small trophy has been given instead of a plaque. Plain looking women also seem to be taking part more frequently. While conventions take place around the country, APhA headquarters is in Washington, DC, where people with actual influence also live.

APhA would also like you to know they recently moved into a new building, located in Washington, DC. Four hundred plaques were given to various executives involved in overseeing plans for the new building, which again, is located in the nation's capital.

Insiders report that a banquet will soon be held to celebrate APhA being nowhere to be found in Mother Jones magazine's list of the top 75 contributors to Congressional campaigns, which includes The American Medical Association (#6), The American Dental Association (#26), and The American Hospital Association (#27).

Even The American Academy of Ophthalmology managed to come in at number 61 for Christ's sake.

"Everyone knows you get the best results for your membership by not making waves or advocating too forcefully for their interests, it also helps to have an idea of what those interests might be, which is why we've been in the process of building a consensus to move forward for the last 38 years." said a bland man or woman. They then proceeded to the award banquet's buffet table, while a pharmacist in Florida continued to starve himself in an effort to be heard.  


TechTard said...

Hits at the heart of my ruminating. At store level noone gives a flying f..k about what anyone says. Corporate expects production with no regard to reasonable fill times. Staffing is cut and we must accomodate to the expectations or face further cuts. Bristly with the "politics" in the first place, it's becoming an Eat Your Young mentality. Employees paranoid about their pensions (when they should be LOOOOONG gone already), will not share skill training to others. Pharmacist overlap cut so said "senior" tech processes from 9-5. Duties jealously guarded go undone. Giving out medications outdated by 5 months, sig and medication errors,lost presciptions, wrong doctor data, mislabeled factory bottles(90 expensive units labeled and billed for thirty), unscanned pickups, people given other people's orders. INCORRECT SIGS AND MEDICATION ENTRIES - filled and sold. Underdosing,overdosing,I found a Nasonex label on a Veramyst box - only because the limited English guy brought it in for a refill! on and on and on. My coworkers hate that I "MAKE WAVES" about our process and environment. I'm so tired.

Anonymous said...

Quotas aren't just for mail order anymore. My employer has threatened to with-hold wage increases and/or terminate those pharmacists who do not administer an "appropriate" number of flu shots. It's nice to know that those practicing the "most trusted profession" are so well treated and respected. Fuck the corporations and chains. I hope you burn.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for speaking up.

My term for what you describe is Battered Pharmacist Syndrome(c)

Raj Bhat RPh Tampa Florida

Anonymous said...

Students...are you paying attention? Stay OUT of the pharmacy trade unless you just have some innate love for it. You are treading a path towards disaster if not VERY careful. The best you can hope for is high paid misery...the worst? Low paid misery. Do not just stray into this field. The professors and recruiters speak with forked tongue. If you are not almost 100% sure...flee. Rex

Anonymous said...

Rex--please explain "innate love for it"---NO ONE can love retail pharmacy, no one can actually enjoy risking patient's lives every day because corporate doesn't give a fuck about errors only about the number of F4's and F1's and getting flu shots to everyone, or in actuality their bonus which is obviously tied to this stupid numbers. Maybe at an independent someone could have this "innate love" but there aren't enough of those left to employ all the graduates....I go to work every day praying that I can make it just 2 more years without killing someone and wondering how I will live with myself if God forbid I do, knowing that the conditions are there and due to greed I don't leave....

Raj Bhat --you are my hero! Keep up the great work! I admire you for your integrity.

ThatDeborahGirl said...

OMG. You come to the point of this one way too late. I've been trying to get to this post for a bit now...and all this time that guy has been starving himself....

Geesh. I'm trying to get it the radio station article greenlit on FARK. This guy needs some attention ASAP.

Cristal said...

Prepare to love me forever my darling my drug monkey because this is now a FARK greenlight!

OMG! Let's see what happens once the FARKERs, DIGG, Something Awful and god help us 4Chan get hold of this!

There will be results. Be prepared for some crass bullshit, but what happens on FARK does not stay on FARK. They can work for evil or for good and every now and again....

cross your fingers.

DCPharmacist said...

I would also like to mention that the lovely APhA headquarters can be rented for events (such as a wedding) for $20,000 for the evening. No, there is no member discount. No, I won't be renewing this year.

Rajendra "Raj" Bhat RPh said...

Pharmacists are at a crucial point in relation to the challenges posed on the Practice of Pharmacy in the interest of PATIENT HEALTH & SAFETY. Today is the 96th day of my fast. I urge the readers to visit by blog at "" and get more Facts and Truth about the details of my fight.

You can read my recent postings 1.My Final Message 2.Justice delayed is Justice Denied and 3. WHAT YOU CAN DO. You can also post your comments on my blog, participate in a debate and make a difference. Every voice counts.

Burde said...

On Oct 17, 2010, I read a Washington Post article titled, “For many foreclosure processors, speed equaled money, rewards, penalties imposed for moving slowly” by Arlana Cha and Zachary Goldfarb. It states that, ‘Law firms competed with one another…and were paid for volume, so they processed as many as they could, leaving little time to read the paperwork and catch errors. … The system was so automated and so inflexible that once a foreclosure process began, homeowners and consumers advocates say, there was often no way to stop it…. This was a systemic problem…and pervasive and everyone knew about it. ---Speed and profit were emphasized over fairness to homeowners”. Now the state and federal law enforcement officials are conducting a fraud investigation.

Similar situation exists at this time at Medco Health Solutions, one of the largest mail order pharmacies in the United States, says Raj Bhat in his blog. Speed and profits are emphasized over pharmacists sworn duty to patients and their safety by imposing a quota system.

Bhat says that Medco's quota system, which requires their pharmacists to check 130 to 150 prescriptions an hour, is too much. Pharmacists are being forced to cut corners on public safety.

In the corporate interests of perceived efficiency and profits, does a pharmacist have to ignore his sworn oath to put their patients first and be just a technical robot without applying professional judgment and ones own conscience? Does a conscientious pharmacist like Raj Bhat, has to resort to a hunger strike jeopardizing his health and his life? Do many more patients like Emily Jerry have to die from incorrectly dispensed medications before authorities investigate the grave danger to the public and put a stop to this dangerous practice?

Please take action NOW before people you know suffer from wrongly dispensed meds.

Anonymous said...

Medco commits another crime of assault

Our democracy depends on our faith in justice. Our lives depend on justice itself.

Based on the following I have made a complaint to the FTC dated 11/2/10:
I am disabled due to an auto immune disease and neurological disorder. My scripts require 6 month reviews to be covered by Medco. This review is overdue although all the paperwork was filed by my Dr weeks ago. Medco hasn't made a judgment on my current case and claim they have not received a single fax from my Dr's office. ( Dr's office faxed 5+ times, and Dr. personally faxed once). The problem of so many 'lost' faxes happened to me before.

Within two weeks I will be out of money for my meds and have to be hospitalized. I will also be about $20,000 in debt for which I may have to remortgage our family home.

It is clear that Medco employees regularly throw out prescriptions and faxes that will require extra time to process so they can make their unreasonable quotas. The company and its senior officers are aware of this practice. Medco has been repeatedly prosecuted for this practice by both federal and state governments. They have been prosecuted and fined for many other crimes; fraud, negligence, kickbacks and more.

In every case I have read our government has traded the public's health and safety for cash. All the agreements include the phrase that "Medco did not admit to any wrongdoing." By this one phrase, they have made it almost impossible for those harmed or relatives of those killed to win civil suits and legally impossible to hold Medco's directors criminally liable for their behavior.
Medco has racked up hundreds of millions of dollars in fines since 2000. A slap on the wrist since they make billions in profit, record profits for 2010 Q3.

As per the 2006 settlement agreement with the government, AG-324916,
"The United States alleges that Medco ....
• (i) Canceling, destroying or re-entering prescriptions into ... system to report a later and inaccurate prescription " receive date"... for the purpose of... avoiding contractual penalties;
• (v) For unfilled prescriptions delivered from one Medco facility to another for processing, falsely recording ... date of receipt, rather than the actual date the prescription was first received by Medco;
Case No. 99-CV-2332 4
• (vii) Canceling prescriptions without a valid reason using a stop cancel code " STCXL" in combination with reason code " CX999" ;
• (viii) Canceling prescriptions for which no record exists in Medco' s Protocol Management Database (PMD); .......
• (x) Canceling prescriptions in doctor call, drug utilization review (" DUR" ) and other areas in the pharmacy without making an attempt to clarify the prescription with the physician or patient."

I have had problems with every Medco interaction. From what I have read, so have many of their other clients. I believe overwhelming evidence proves that Medco keeps costs down through pain, misery, and ultimately killing their sickest and costliest clients.

The Law Reform Commission of New South Wales offers:
• "Corporate crime poses a significant threat to the welfare of the community. Given the pervasive presence of corporations in a wide range of activities in our society, and the impact of their actions on a much wider group of people than are affected by individual action, the potential for both economic and physical harm caused by a corporation is great."

Similarly, Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman (1999) assert:
• "given the absence of political control today, corporations serve to destroy the foundations of the civic community and the lives of people who reside in them."

My prayers are with all the employees and patients who are now suffering or have suffered from Medco's criminal activities and corporate greed.

Anonymous said...

Wow all I can say is that you are a great writer! Where can I contact you if I want to hire you?