Tuesday, February 04, 2014

I Provide Much Needed Aid To The American Prescription Filling Consumer. Seriously, You Need To Read This Post Before You Get Your Next Prescription Filled.

Because, Mr. and Mrs. American pill popping consumer, you need my help. You evidently really need my help. I'll start with a snippet from Drug Topics, the world's greatest trade magazine that employs the world's  greatest pharmacy columnist:

When it comes to filling scripts at retail pharmacies, a shopper behavior study indicates CVS is the top consumer choice, followed closely by Walgreens.

"Sad but not surprising" those in the profession are saying. "They are the two biggest, managing to shoehorn themselves on nearly every street corner in the country."

....The study also provided insight into why consumers choose certain pharmacies

"Well this will be useful." us insiders are now saying. "It will be good to know exactly how these behemoths managed to get in this position of market dominance."

"CVS shoppers (68%) were most concerned with quality;"

Everyone in the profession just now shot coffee out their nose. Seriously. Even if they weren't drinking a cup when they read that, the shock of what they just saw instantly created coffee out of nothing and made it spew forth from their nostrils.

Some families got more than they bargained for at a New Jersey CVS drugstore when their childrens' prescriptions for fluoride pills were filled with a popular breast cancer drug instead. 
Tamoxifen, the drug mistakenly given to the kids, is a popular estrogen-blocking drug, used to treat many breast cancer patients with estrogen-receptor-positive cancers.

Yup, at CVS quality is job one.  Here's some more:

Police say a 26-year-old woman has been filling pharmacy prescriptions with false credentials.
Nancy Rose McGowan has been working at a CVS pharmacy in East Austin for about two months, using the identifying information of a licensed pharmacist and a counterfeit US Army ID card. 
She was arrested last Thursday after a Board of Pharmacy investigator reported her to police as a person acting as a pharmacist without a license. The board was conducting a routine compliance check at the drugstore.

Routine compliance check turns up what CVS' pre-employment screening process doesn't. Hell yeah. That's what quality is all about. I could go on, but I'll just say I'm thinking the American consumer has been bamboozled, or perhaps is smoking large quantities of crack while participating in shopper behavior studies. Back to the Drug Topics article::

Walgreens pharmacy customers cited speed of filling prescriptions, while Rite Aid customers identified price as their most important factor in choosing a pharmacy.

The 20 minutes plus I routinely spend waiting to talk to a human when calling my local Walgreen's makes me lean more towards my crack-smoking hypothesis. Also, a hint to Rite Aid customers: I used to work there and know exactly what you've been paying.  Wave your little Wellness Plus card around all you want, but 20% percent off an astronomically high price is still pretty damn high.

But I'm here to help my friends. To be a problem solver as opposed to just a bitch and moaner. The next time you let one of the Big Three pharmacy giants start to make you feel all warm and fuzzy with the power of a multi-million dollar marketing campaign, take a look at this chart from your good friends at Consumer Reports, the highly respected and not nearly widely enough read journal that tries to keep you from wasting your dollars:

Seems pretty self-explanatory, but just in case it's not, I'll point out CVS, Walgreen's and Rite Aid all come in dead last for "speed and accuracy." As a matter of fact, it kinda looks to me like CVS is tied with the Son of Sam for worst rating in everything.

By the way, take a look at where your local independent drugstore stands. You'll want to start at the top.

So American Public, I'm not sure exactly on what you were basing your perception of CVS quality. Something besides evidence apparently. Now however, you know what has been obvious to pretty much everyone in the pharmacy world for at least a decade.

CVS sucks. You're welcome.


Allison said...

I understand that CVS is the spawn of Satan. However, my employer contracts with Express Scripts, and they have dumped Walgreens from the network on my plan. We travel a lot, we need a pharmacy that's everywhere, so that leaves CVS and Walmart. CVS was the lesser of the evils. Many customers don't have a choice in where they go, their insurance plans dictate that. So, that's one reason why someone would have any contact with CVS.

Anonymous said...

What I noticed in that survey was that no matter where you went, pharmacists knowledge was at the number 1 or number 2 spot for ALL LOCATIONS!

Pharmacists rule!

It's the businessmen that give us such headaches =\

HavensFire said...

Not to take away some of your thunder, but your linked graphic doesn't show CVS, Wallgreen's, Rite Aid, or Walmart as getting the "worst possible rating," they just got the lowest of all.

Worst possible would be a completely filled dot. Nobody on the chart got that, though.

But yeah, independents rule!

DrugMonkey, Master of Pharmacy said...


Correction made. Thanks.

bcmigal said...

In CVS own metrics, there is no mention of accuracy or pharmacist's knowledge. Only "SAT": (satisfied with time to fill) carries any weight. Even Consumer Reports equates filling prescriptions with fast food. As I hand someone their rx filled in 2.3 minutes, I am thinking "I hope I did everything right". Maybe there is a score for that.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been to your site in over a month, but I was hoping this topic came up. A CVS pharmacist for over 20 years, I was doing my regular shopping at Wegmans (I also get my scripts filled here) and casually grabbed Consumer Reports on my way out. The standings in the drug store article were no surprise to me! Throughout the years, I have periodically asked Wegmans employees what they thought about their employer (always out of ear/eye shot of mgmnt). Consistently, I have gotten answers that can only be described as jubilant.
I already know what the answer would be from my CVS partners and techs. Take out the curse words and perhaps I could post it here.
I have to go now, time for My Customer Experience beating from my supervisor.