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    Are CVS’ metrics unfairly eliminating older pharmacists?

    That’s the assertion of four former CVS pharmacists who recently filed lawsuits in U.S. District Court in South Carolina claiming the retail giant created a metrics system that unfairly eliminates older workers and causes dispensing errors.

    Second Ala. pharmacist wins age discrimination lawsuit against CVS

    According to the lawsuits, CVS implemented a performance-based metric system prior to 2010 that has been used as a “tool” to eliminate older workers, particularly pharmacists.

    “Under the metrics system, pharmacists are directed to meet unobtainable goals, which, if they did, would cause them to violate the law regarding their professional responsibilities and governing practice rules,” the lawsuits allege. “Due to the metrics system, pharmacists cannot meet their directives and are forced to decide whether they violate the law and regulations pharmacists must comply with, or attempt to meet the company directives.”

    A CVS spokesman, Michael DeAngelis, said the allegations have no merit and that CVS intends to vigorously defend against them. “Like other companies, we measure the quality and effectiveness of the services we provide to ensure we are meeting our customers’ expectations and helping them to achieve the best possible health outcomes,” DeAngelis said. “Our systems are designed to help our pharmacists manage and prioritize their work to best serve their patients.”

    Former CVS pharmacists Christine Gardner, Richard McClure, Terri Simpson, and Larry Powell filed the lawsuits. They allege that CVS has an established pattern of eliminating older workers in South Carolina and nationwide.

    Powell claims he started struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder because he couldn’t meet CVS’ production obligations and metrics. He took a leave of absence and, upon his return, said he discovered that younger pharmacists had replaced a number of pharmacists 40 and older.

     

    “During plaintiff’s employment, he and other co-workers over the age of 40 were being treated differently as compared to younger, less-experienced employees who were treated with preference, provided promotions, and paid higher wages,” Powell’s lawsuit alleges.

    Simpson, in her lawsuit, claimed she began receiving harsh treatment after reporting alleged age discrimination. “A number of pharmacists who were all older individuals…were fired within a short period of time,” her lawsuit alleges. “Substantially all of the terminated employees were replaced with younger replacements.”

    See also:

    Is there age bias in pharmacy?

    Mark Lowery, Editor
    Mark Lowery an Editor for Drug Topics magazine.

    16 Comments

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    • Anonymous
      I worked for independent pharmacies for the first 25 years of my career. Got " traded" to a large corporate pharmacy when my last independent employer sold the business. I then worked for 20 years for that company. The pharmacy I managed was usually in the top 5% in the metrics ratings. A new larger store was built nearby and the pharmacy was moved. Shortly after that my manager came to me and stated that " l should look at the complany's retirement benefits, because they were really good". His statement in itself is a joke. When I went on medical leave for several months for joint replacement and rehab and returned to find my position filled by one of my younger peers. The person that replaced me is very capable. However, I feel I really got stiffed by middle management,if not the corporation for not even being made aware of the change prior to my return and not being offered my job back. Recently I retired and usually forget about the problem until I read an article about older peers being treated in a similar if not identical manner.
    • JohnRenna
      I have been witnessing the demise of the independent pharmacy for over 30 years. CVS has been buying out just about everything to do with healthcare: just bought out Rite-Aid pharmacies, Target pharmacies, Coram Healthcare and other agencies that provide nursing services, Caremark, etc. The pharmacists who worked for RiteAid and Target will mostly be going down to the unemployment office especially if they are over 40yrs of age. With the number of pharmacy graduates & increasing number of pharmacy schools that have opening, there is an ample supply of young, debt-ridden pharmacists who will be looking for employment. I suspect that the managers of CVS and Walgreens will create "paper trails" on the older pharmacists to slowly replace them with younger pharmacists most likely at a lower starting salary. Ancillary support at the counters will also be lacking but of course upper manager will justify this by monitoring the amount of business per hour down at the pharmacy department to support the decision to have the supervising pharmacist alone, on roller skates and a low residue diet so bathroom use would be minimized. With 3rd party reimbursement at a ridiculous point (at times less than 1%)the pressure will be applied to fill as many Rxs as possible per hour, take care of the ordering & stocking the Rx area, answer the phone, get to the drive up window ASAP, fill Rxs accurately with monitoring for AE, drug interactions, etc (systems are not very effective in picking up many of these) and yes provide excellent customer service despite the fact that your lunch and coffee are still on the back counter from Noon and it is now 3PM. Yes, very professional.. I wonder how the upper management would feel if they were asked to perform in the same way- little time for lunch or bathroom breaks, no stools or chairs, constantly under the gun to produce and of course do not make a mistake or miss a serious drug interaction, overdose, etc. These individuals go home each night not having to worry about these issues. Very sad to see how the role of pharmacist in providing quality care and as part of the so called health team has been reduced to a "lick and stick" practice
    • Anonymous
      All that I know was that where I live the 2 CVS pharmacy managers with > 20 years each with the company were fired on the same day rumored to be due to "metrics". A recent graduate I know had an interview with CVS and was told "they are slowly weeding out the old guys". After double-digit years of above average reviews with my company I was given a poor rating by a new supervisor (no longer with the company) and demoted from my position to fast-track another employee to a supervisor position (that didn't happen). A pharmacist locally in a third company spoke his mind to a supervisor (no such thing as an open door policy) and was subsequently transferred to a more remote location from where he lives. All levels of management live on metrics only. Work hard, do your job, take care of your patients but don't completely trust your management at any level.
    • Anonymous
      I worked for Walgreens for 12 years in San Diego and 2 years at CVS between 2010 and 2014. CVS in San Diego create an extremely hostile working environment for ALL store and pharmacy employees especially pharmacists. I have been a floater pharmacist for CVS since 2008 and I have seen it all. In 2008, they hired a 30 year old Pharmacy District Supervisor who came in and fired and harassed numerous of older pharmacists INSIDE the pharmacy, using derogatory term regarding their age and performance based on CVS metrics. Terms like you are too old to work or too slow. They wrote up numerous counselings on pharmacists, pharmacist techs daily, weekly and fired them at their wish. They keep moving pharmacists around against their will to other stores and keep replacing with new pharmacy graduates and FORCED them to be pharmacist managers or get fired. They took advantage of the 2007 economic crisis and the abundance of pharmacists to keep threaten pharmacists to comply with their metrics or else face the ultimate penalty of getting fired. I have personally seen numerous of firings of pharmacists, techs on the job without any justifications. The average lifespan of a pharmacy manager is 6 months. Pharmacists are leaving CVS at an alarming rate. The 'don't care" and "it' s me or the "highway" altitude display CVS' arrogance and disrespect for human dignity is beyond imagination.
    • Dr. Yue
      I worked for Walgreens for 12 years in San Diego and 2 years at CVS between 2010 and 2014. CVS in San Diego create an extremely hostile working environment for ALL store and pharmacy employees especially pharmacists. I have been a floater pharmacist for CVS since 2008 and I have seen it all. In 2008, they hired a 30 year old Pharmacy District Supervisor who came in and fired and harassed numerous of older pharmacists INSIDE the pharmacy, using derogatory term regarding their age and performance based on CVS metrics. Terms like you are too old to work or too slow. They wrote up numerous counselings on pharmacists, pharmacist techs daily, weekly and fired them at their wish. They keep moving pharmacists around against their will to other stores and keep replacing with new pharmacy graduates and FORCED them to be pharmacist managers or get fired. They took advantage of the 2007 economic crisis and the abundance of pharmacists to keep threaten pharmacists to comply with their metrics or else face the ultimate penalty of getting fired. I have personally seen numerous of firings of pharmacists, techs on the job without any justifications. The average lifespan of a pharmacy manager is 6 months. Pharmacists are leaving CVS at an alarming rate. The 'don't care" and "it' s me or the "highway" altitude display CVS' arrogance and disrespect for human dignity is beyond imagination.
    • Dr. Yue
      I worked for Walgreens for 12 years in San Diego and 2 years at CVS between 2010 and 2014. CVS in San Diego create an extremely hostile working environment for ALL store and pharmacy employees especially pharmacists. I have been a floater pharmacist for CVS since 2008 and I have seen it all. In 2008, they hired a 30 year old Pharmacy District Supervisor who came in and fired and harassed numerous of older pharmacists INSIDE the pharmacy, using derogatory term regarding their age and performance based on CVS metrics. Terms like you are too old to work or too slow. They wrote up numerous counselings on pharmacists, pharmacist techs daily, weekly and fired them at their wish. They keep moving pharmacists around against their will to other stores and keep replacing with new pharmacy graduates and FORCED them to be pharmacist managers or get fired. They took advantage of the 2007 economic crisis and the abundance of pharmacists to keep threaten pharmacists to comply with their metrics or else face the ultimate penalty of getting fired. I have personally seen numerous of firings of pharmacists, techs on the job without any justifications. The average lifespan of a pharmacy manager is 6 months. Pharmacists are leaving CVS at an alarming rate. The 'don't care" and "it' s me or the "highway" altitude display CVS' arrogance and disrespect for human dignity is beyond imagination.
    • Anonymous
      CVS can not run without the pharmacist, I just don't understand why we don't band together. I am ready! I am done having the license I worked so hard for being used for their gain and I continuously work long days off the clock and go in on holidays as board members relax and enjoy.
    • RichardMontoya
      I will join any age discrimination lawsuit against CVS. I am 55yo and a pharmacist of 28 long hard earned years that I gave to the best of my abilities only to be terminated 2 weeks ago for not meeting the metrics! I am glad not to be in that toxic environment anymore but the manner by which I was tossed aside was not justified or dignified. I feel bad for all of you guys my brotherhood of pharmacists and wish you find a better environment to practice. That's what I am looking for!
    • Anonymous
      I worked at CVS for 10 years. As one of very few American pharmacists in the district I was targeted for not meeting metrics and for filling controls for legitimate patients. The new Egyptian Pharmacy Supervisor has systematically replaced older pharmacists with newer Egyptian pharmacists that will do his bidding. CVS is the most unethical, two-faced, back-stabbing people I've ever encountered in my life.
    • Anonymous
      I am 68 years old and after 6 months working at a CVS pharmacy that had been open for 10 months I was given a choice of having my hours cut from 30 hours/week to 5-10 hours/week. This store has never met it's metric goals. This was part of their solution!? I was told that my job performance was fine. Also at a earlier date we were told that we could only take at most a 15 minute break to eat something or eat while working or not at all. This is when working 10-14 hour shifts. The possibity for med errors increase under these conditions. It is my opinion that CVS does not care about employee or patient health. I do not understand how stopping the sale of tobacco but continue to sell alcohol shows real concern over a persons health.
    • Anonymous
      NABP passed a resolution (I think in 2013) declaring that the use of Metrics and Quotas in Pharmacy endangers the public. Here is a link; http://www.nabp.net/news/performance-metrics-and-quotas-in-the-practice-... So CVS and any other chain that uses them is out of step with the national regulatory board for our profession in the United States. Seems to me that an enterprising law firm somewhere should be able to make a very profitable class action lawsuit out of this. Or am I wrong? Any lawyers care to comment?
    • Anonymous
      Oh yeah? And I can present to the clown DeAngelis the write ups that led to the termination of my partner(who was about 60)and me(nearly 40). The write ups specifically say, and I quote"on performance warning for failing to exhibit the ability to deliver and drive various business results. Some of which include" PCI(AO, NSPU) KPM and Service targets" This write up was copied and pasted by my DM 3 times. I was explicitly told to my face that they have a big line of new grads willing to take my job. More, according to my DM running a store dispensing 400-500 prescriptions per day with 1 pharmacist and 1-2 techs is perfectly fine, as long as you can manage your techs.
    • Mr. scrowe
      This happened to me back in August of last year with CVS. The exact scenario in West Virginia is happening. Do not trust CVS any longer. Now working for Kroger and the world of pharmacy is much better.
    • Anonymous
      CVS Pharmacy staffing levels are horrendous! This leads to errors and poor customer service. They only care about bottom line. I am proud these pharmacists came forward with their legal action.
    • Anonymous
      ...the same unfair criminal practice happened to me back in Las Vegas 2010,the vice president of operations for the whole District made up a special metric system just for me because I questioned in a big meeting when he he announced all pharmacist are expected to, on their days off, to go out, no reimbursement ,procure and work to generate flu shot clinics saying it was part of the job description when we got hired. He then forced me to sign a special document, that no other R.Ph had to sign, saying I had to meet metrics of 95% across the board, and that I was going to be reevaluated every two weeks and if I did not meet those metrics, I would than be rated as "not meeting expectations". I than got ahold of HR who got the document dismissed, but I was forced to quit because superiors started coming in once a week 'writing' me up, for example a dirty sink, due to a few smudges. Doing more than 600 rx's a day as well as immunizing,no overlap coverage, they than cut my tech grid weekly from 325 hr to 175,20% reduction every week. Unfair labor practices permeate this whole organization.
    • Anonymous
      You speak the truth.