Monday, October 22, 2012

In The Spirit Of Friendship And Cooperation, I Continue To Help A CVS Executive With A Vexing Problem.

OK......I swear I am not trying to turn my little blog garden into a CVS attack vehicle. I am sure that the other "BIG 2" do plenty of dastardly deeds worthy of mockery and exposure. As a matter of fact, I know personally that one of them does. But, the CVS material keeps popping up in my mailbox. Like I've said before, CVS' employees really.....really....seem to hate their company.

Some of my regular readers may remember Ron Snow, Manager of Professional & College Relations at CVS Caremark. I wrote awhile back how Ron had a problem that he just couldn't seem to get a handle on. It bothered his brain enough that he wrote an article in the Indiana Pharmacist’s Alliance quarterly magazine looking for an answer. Ron you see, just couldn't understand why today's smart young men and women seemed a little less than enthused with a career with his type of company:

I am not sure when the change started, but over the past few years I have noticed an inferiority complex growing among community pharmacists. For many years the proud neighborhood pharmacist was known as the most trusted professional, but now he/she has turned into someone with self-image issues. Why has this change taken place? The way I see it, this is a complicated issue with no easy answer.

Ron, the day The Drugmonkey came across your words was a very lucky one for you indeed, because there is indeed an easy answer. Take a look:

Subject: Pharmacy Service real time update *URGENT*
Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2011 10:20:12 -0400
To: ;

Team 4,
· We are self destructing this week on rx service!!!! 84.7; two days left let’s pick it up TODAY!! 
· 59.2 on addressed by name, 63.6 on wait time- Are we serious??? Do you think I will accept results like this? 
· Wake up and start delivering excellent service results NOW!!! You’ve worked too hard this month to throw it all away 
· If you’re not able or willing to lead your team to deliver excellent service to each patient each time please let me know so we can discuss your exit strategy- one thing I won’t accept are poor service results &; neither should you

That's an actual, real email from someone in your own company Ron. His name is Ryan Barna, a CVS District Manager from New Jersey. Maybe you've met him. If not you can certainly write to him. That's his real email address up there. Ryan sounds like the type of guy who likes to get emails. Maybe you could talk about his part in the looming federal investigation of CVS' apparent habit of enrolling customers in an automatic prescription program without their permission. 

Ryan Barna seems to be awful upset that only 59.2% of customers that responded to a company survey said someone used their name. He sounds like he's blue in the face and maybe his head's gonna explode. Kinda seems like he's totally ready to fire people for not using people's names.

Almost like to him that is the most important thing in the world.

Back to what you wrote Ron:

What prompted me to think about this image problem was a recent conversation I overheard between a couple of new grads that was centered on their career choices. The first grad talked excitedly about his choice of starting a career with a hospital where he was confident that he would eventually get the opportunity to move into a “clinical” position in the not too distant future. The second grad sheepishly commented that he was “just going to work for so-and-so pharmacy” because he did not want to give up his 3 years of service with the company. I did not hear any passion of excitement in his voice about his future career plan.

Ron, imagine you are a college student, and a pretty damn good one. Pharmacy school isn't easy to get into, you know that, and it's even harder to get out of. Years and years of fighting to fill your brain with pharmacology, biochemistry, microbiology, kinetics.....the Krebs cycle. The Krebs cycle can still give me nightmares to this day.

You remember what it's like, don't you Ron? That sense of accomplishment when you finally walk across that stage to get your degree, the gradual seeping in that you really are a drug expert, the first time you knew something a doctor didn't!! And now you can take a position where you're gonna put that knowledge to work in a clinical hospital setting making a real difference in patients health outcomes.....


Ron.....really....the answer is pretty easy now isn't it?

I'm glad I could help.

Once again, that address is


Anonymous said...

Great writing my friend, and I say my friend because you see it exactly as I see it. I laughed in a sick way as it is sick behavior by this pathetic company. I despise them so much I hope from the bottom of my heart that they are destroyed before they destroy our profession. This guy can stick his blue head up his ass. Unfortunately this behavior of un-professionalism is top-down behavior, he gets the same shit from above and so on, and at the top of the helm is the pharmacist in charge Larry Merlo. Merlo should be chastised for this. Kicked out of the profession!

Anonymous said...

Sadly, this is the corporate culture that exists. This theme is repeated in nearly every email and most definitely at every meeting. I still fail to understand how berating and threatening employees makes them more productive. Now I hyperventilate about rxs "going red" instead of focusing on getting the right drug to the right patient. The emphasis on the metrics is 100%, the mention of patient care is zero. When tech hours are cut, we are told to "pick up the pace." The latest is the flu shot "target". We are told to offer flu shots at drop off, pick up, and during phone calls. An"assistant" has been appointed to visit the stores to check on the progress. The assistant who harasses the staff into giving the most shots will win a prize. (Maybe night with an escort?)
The fun never ends...

PharmD Blogger said...

Hey DrugMonkey, this is harassment. I cannot believe he wrote these emails. The PICs should not let this bother them. He is just trying to get his bonus in the most horrible fashion I have ever seen. I feel bad for his family. I bet he never felt bad about firing someone. He probably never thought about their family. I am sure no one was fired over those metrics unless they had too many customer complaints. I am doing what JP said to do. I make sure I try to counsel almost everyone that comes to my pharmacy, even if they don't have any questions about the medicaitons they pick up.

Anonymous said...

They must have templates of emails they send....reads like it could have been signed by my sup at CVS

Anonymous said...

That e-mail is a year and a half old. And it's only gotten worse. Yup, the most important thing we can do at CVS is not provide someone their prescription, it's say their name. I've never, ever, ever seen upper management so completely out of touch. It wasn't always this way. This used to be a respectable company, then they decided stock price was more important than anything else.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, I know all too well about this management style. It's completely disgusting. Being with the company for several years as a PIC, I was let go for my first and only customer complaint. Yes, that's right-First and Only!! My character as a pharmacist was completely attacked. Did they ask they question, "hmmmm, what could've made one of our better pharmacists to have such a bad night?" No. Essentially, I was told that I was not a good pharmacist that had a bad night, but that I was a bad pharmacist that finally revealed my true colors. Unbelievable! Well, actually, not that unbelievable. I'm not the first pharmacist that they have terminated completely unjustified and I am sure I am not the last. Watch out current CVS pharmacists!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,are you over 50? Are you in NJ?
You were terminated for being old,but that would be illegal,so when the first "legit" incident came up,they had their excuse.
When it happened here it was like the christening scene in the "Godfather".the over- 50's were dropping like flies.

Our attorney says age discrimination is hard to prove &wouldn't take the case.
Luckily all the new grads were there to pick up the slack......
May Big Evil rot in Hell.

Anonymous said...

Just an FYI DrugMonkey, the idiots have changed their email server to


PS - My captcha read "terdshu", ha.

Anonymous said...

I worked for Ryan Barna.

Anonymous said...

Been there many times with Wrong Aid. Cried all the time. The key though is to get behind that counter and speak with a thick accent. Maybe change your appearance somewhat. You see customers will NEVER get irate or pick on a foreign pharmacist. They're too afraid they'll be labeled prejudice. I swear, when I gave some bad news (drug not in stock, insurance expired, co-pay high....whatever) as long as I used my fake accent I got away with only an understanding smile from these customers (of course this was way easier on the phone) Even the DMs and PDMs won't treat the foreigner as poorly as they will you, for the same reasons. Cmon fight back; tell this Barna guy you feel he is insulting your culture by typing in CAPITOLS

Anonymous said...

We used to receive those threatening emails on weekly basis(Mr. Barna's neighboring district). Then, on every Wed RPHs in "underperforming" stores had to spend an hour on the conference call, explaining what exactly we were doing in order to improve our service.
No patient counseling or MD calls could be done during that hour. RPHs were obliged to ensure our techs called every customer by name at least 3 times. All phones and the Drive Through must be answered in 20 seconds or less. My DM was sometimes hiding in the isles, listening to conversations, and then bashing the pharmacist if a tech forgot to call someone by name.
One of the CVS "pearls" from ex-my DM
I was just on a conference call with the region and Ryan Barna the RxSup in District 4 is determined to take over our reign at the #1 spot for text enrollment. I know most of you as well as myself have worked under him in the past so we cannot let this happen!!!
Please push that much harder over the next couple days/weeks to make sure we hold on to being #1!"
The only questions is, where in this equation is a patient? What happened to patient care and medication safety? It's all about imaginary numbers nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Apparently Ryan Barna has yet to be fired. Seriously DeAngelis?!? grow a sack and do your job.

Anonymous said...

I counted TWENTY targets/goals that determine whether or not a person is "exceeding expectations", None of them mentioned patient care. Meeting or falling short of these "targets" determines a raise/bonus or one's position on the emails of shame. I am sick of reading the lies about this.

Anonymous said...

This is the reason why I left pharmacy altogether. Community pharmacy isn't and never will be again what it used to be. CVStress couldn't pay me enough to come back. Why break your back for measly raises based on imaginary numbers?

I persuade all pharmacy students that I meet (especially those on rotations/shadowing at my hospital) to switch majors or at least never to work retail. I've diverted several over the years from seeking a retail position at a big boy pharmacies.

By the way, I'm a physician now. And 100 times happier. All you unhappy retail pharmacists out there, leave if you can. Not saying you have to go med, but do something, anything else that makes you happy. Don't feed the machine.

Side note, It's actually funny that other docs complain about 15 minutes with a patient! I wish we had that at the counter!

Dr. X, PharmD., MD

Anonymous said...

A friend working for CVS says she got an email yesterday from corporate saying how important it is to get patients to agree to sign up for Readyfill.

Anonymous said...

As much as I'd enjoy seeing CVS executives in front of Congress, I can't see how it's considered fraud if scripts are eventually backed out and returned to stock if they aren't picked up.

Pharmacist Bob said...

Great Article.
This article was so exquisite, so succinctly to the point. 6 years for this BS?
No doubt his blue head was about to blow-up, but his nuts were no-doubt being crushed from above as it is a cascade down pain endured delivered sick mentality here.