Just after seven o'clock Thursday morning, Katherine O'Connor and her boyfriend were walking home from a McDonald's in Garwood, New Jersey, when she suffered an asthma attack.
Her inhaler was at home. The couple was near there, but a CVS on North Avenue, near Cedar Street, was closer. They went in and found the pharmacist on duty.
Time for one of those CVS everyday miracles.
He was told the inhaler with tax would cost just over $21. He was short a dollar and change.
"I said 'Can you just give her the pump. She's on the floor wheezing," Jack said. "I didn't know if an ambulance would get there on time. He said there was nothing he could do for me."
CVS corporate offices sent Fox 5 a statement: "The well-being of our customers is our highest priority..."
"Right after money" they didn't add but believably could have "Every sweet sweet, last precious dollar...."
This being Fox news I can imagine the next line from the anchor desk being something like "Bob, what do you suppose is the connection between what happened here and the proposed Obamacare death panels?"
You could say this was just the case of one CVS pharmacist out of thousands using incredibly poor judgement, an isolated incident, and you would be right. Just like the one CVS Pharmacist who proposed a trade of Xanax for sex or the other CVS pharmacist who practiced at a CVS store without actually being a pharmacist.
Or the CVS pharmacist who posed a customers information on a Craig's list sex ad when the customer pissed him off.
Exactly how many isolated incidents have to occur before it's a pattern? Because I gotta tell ya, while Walgreens has almost the same number of stores and pharmacists, the bat-shit crazy ones always seem to be employed by CVS.
Our next story isn't about some random nutjob though. This one would be a failure at a higher organizational level:
The smurfers loved CVS. And CVS loved them back.
The giant drugstore chain became the go-to spot for hordes of shady buyers, called smurfers, who ran around scooping up over-the-counter decongestants under orders from bad guys who cook up methamphetamine.
Since 2005, federal law has limited how much pseudoephedrine a person can buy (no more than 3.6 grams a day). And retailers, like CVS, are supposed to police that by checking IDs and requiring people to sign for the stuff
But the chain switched from a paper logbook to an electronic system to keep track of things. The computerized ledger didn't prevent the same person from making a bunch of pseudoephedrine buys on the same day. And store employees, the feds say, were told to obey the computerized system's approval of sales, even if they had their doubts about the buyers.
Other retailers did a much better job on complying with the law, so the smurfers took their business to CVS, the feds say.
In a statement, CVS Chairman and CEO Thomas Ryan said, "We have resolved this issue, which unfortunately resulted from a breakdown in CVS/pharmacy's normally high management and oversight standards."
High management and oversight standards. The same standards that resulted in the company paying $36.7 million for ripping off Medicaid.
The same high standards that resulted in them "accidentally" charging people enrolled in CVS/Caremark's Medicare part D plans too much.
The same high standards that had two of their executives fighting off charges they tried to bribe a Rhode Island state senator. High standards would be avoiding even the appearance of impropriety. At least at most companies.
Again I'll ask, how many isolated incidents does it take before it's officially a pattern? Their "high standards" seem to be about as effective as the extensive pre-employment screening process they claimed to have when they got busted for hiring the fake pharmacist.
Who by the way, evidently had no problem practicing pharmacy the way CVS expects it to be practiced.
Something stinks here my friends. Something here totally smells like a rotten company.
Thanks to the alert readers who tipped me to the stories.