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CVS pharmacists strolling off the job to protest working situations

CVS Well being is contending with walkouts by pharmacists protesting working situations and shutting down a number of drugstores in and round Kansas Metropolis, Missouri.

The nation’s largest retail pharmacy chain noticed a dozen of its places shut down unexpectedly on Sept. 21 and Sept. 22 in protests that unfold this week to incorporate almost two dozen pharmacists throughout the Kansas Metropolis metropolitan space, revealed experiences and advocates say.

“These issues have been ongoing for over 10 years across all the big chains, and exponentially worsened during the pandemic with increased services such as COVID vaccinations and testing while simultaneously having staff cuts and hours shortened,” Lannie Duong, a scientific pharmacist in California who advocates on behalf of pharmacy employees, stated in an e-mail.

CVS stated the walkouts aren’t affecting its enterprise. “Our ability to serve patients in Kansas City was not impacted today, and we are not seeing any abnormal activity in other markets,” a spokesperson stated Wednesday in an emailed assertion. CVS additionally stated it was offering extra assets to assist shops “that may be at capacity.”

CVS despatched Chief Pharmacy Officer Prem Shah to satisfy with the pharmacists on Tuesday, however she reneged on an settlement to difficulty a public apology to workers and clients, in line with Bled Tanoe, an unbiased pharmacist talking for organizers of the protests.

Workers shortages

Pharmacists are fed up amid a backlog of prescriptions and having inadequate employees to reply telephones and administer flu and new COVID-19 vaccinations, stated Tanoe, a former Walgreens pharmacist who created the hashtag #pizzaisnotworking in 2021 to decry working situations that she argued couldn’t be addressed by supplying a free meal for workers.

Pharmacy chains previously employed technicians and clerks to reply calls and deal with different duties to maintain operations working easily.

“At CVS and the other stores now there is only you and hopefully one technician in there, and as soon as the phone rings, one part of the work flow is taken out, and if the phone rings again it’s shut down completely,” stated Chris Adkins, an advocate and pharmacist who left CVS after 9 months and now works at Capsule, an unbiased startup pharmacy in Los Angeles.

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The difficulties confronted by pharmacists aren’t new, however have worsened lately, in line with the Kansas Pharmacists Affiliation. Greater than half, or 57%, of pharmacists surveyed by the Kansas Board of Pharmacy reported not having sufficient time to do their job safely and successfully. Not having sufficient employees and employer-ordered quotas have been the largest components cited.

The affiliation “is aware of and supports pharmacists and pharmacy personnel that are protesting unsafe working conditions that put their patients’ health at risk,” the state skilled group stated Monday in a statement on its web site.

“When pharmacies are paid for the number of prescriptions that cross their counters instead of the clinical knowledge and services they provide for their patients, the system inappropriately values medication volume over safety and quality of health care,” the Kansas Pharmacists said.

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in California “stand with our colleagues across the nation who are bravely protesting poor working conditions to preserve and protect patient safety,” the California Pharmacists Affiliation stated Wednesday in a information release.

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