Register / Log In

Rite Aid offers 15-minute Rx guarantee

Rite Aid is promising to fill prescriptions in 15 minutes or less. If a fill takes more than 15 minutes, the patient gets a $5 gift card. Company spokeswoman Ashley Flower said the offer is attracting solid consumer reaction. Professional reaction is less supportive.

"It lasted all of 2 days in New York," said Selig Corman, director of professional affairs for the Pharmaceutical Society of the State of New York. "The Board of Pharmacy heard about it and promptly told Rite Aid it was not acceptable. Rite Aid pharmacists were quite upset at the offer. That is the kind of pressure that leads to prescription errors. It's a dangerous policy."

Flower said the guarantee is designed to avoid pressuring pharmacists. The 15-minute window starts after a script has been logged in and applies only to standard products that are in stock and do not require special attention. Scripts that require special handling, calls to the prescriber, extra attention for adjudication, or other professional services do not qualify. Counseling is also excluded from the 15-minute limit.

Almost every chain has tried Rx fill time guarantees or promises at one time or another, said Mike Cohen, president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. In some cases, state pharmacy boards squelch the program. More often, chains launch a time guarantee to great fanfare and quietly abandon it when they discover that rushing scripts is bad medicine and bad business.

"It is utterly unprofessional," he told Drug Topics. "It's unacceptable to hold pharmacists to an unrealistic time frame when they are working with medications. Such claims should help identify pharmacies that prescribers and patients may want to avoid. New York is doing the right thing. State boards can regulate this."

Drug Topics board member Phil Burgess, who chairs the Illinois State Board of Pharmacy, agreed. "They are going to run into some major pushback from Boards of Pharmacy," he predicted. "This is 180 degrees away from everything we are trying to do in moving the pharmacy profession toward being patient information-focused rather than product-focused. And it's counter to our many efforts to improve patient safety."

Are pharmacies subcontractors when they fill prescriptions for TRICARE, the federal health program for military personnel? Not according to the National Association of Chain Drugs Stores.

Pharmacists need to leverage any tool that will minimize the demands placed on them and reduce distractions that can lead to medication errors, longer patient waiting time, and other complications. One available tool is the call center.

FDA recently called for the addition of new Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy requirements for medications. This article examines some resulting challenges and potential solutions.

A roundup of reports on risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism; direct factor Xa inhibitors; and managing clopidogrel hypersensitivity

Soon after taking the reins at NCPA, Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, spoke with Drug Topics' Contributing Editor Christine Blank about his short-term and long-term objectives for NCPA.