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    Pharmacy’s Catch-22: Save a life — or save your livelihood?


    Zero tolerance

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure that if you were to ask any of the corporate bigwigs directly, they would tell you not to leave an asthmatic wheezing on the floor of their store. But those same bigwigs are also constantly sending out memos that say you must do this and we have zero tolerance for that, while the company’s liability lawyers have done everything they can to come up with a policy for every situation, which employees violate at their peril.

    So when a snap decision is called for, “What is our corporate loss-prevention policy?” can compete in an employee’s brain with “What is the best thing for the patient?”

    This means we have too many pharmacists who want all the credit for being professional without ever taking the responsibility for making a decision, such as ones who won’t dispense syringes to a patient with insulin in their medication profile, or who tell a tourist with no refills on a blood pressure medication that they’re just out of luck over the weekend.

    We’ve all worked with one of “those” pharmacists, and from what I’ve seen, correcting “those” pharmacists doesn’t seem to be a priority among the big chains.

    Am I wrong?

    I might be wrong. Maybe there are now state board regulators who would discipline a pharmacist for giving nitroglycerin to a heart attack victim. If so, I’m dying to hear from one.

    But not so literally as the patient who might be affected.


    David Stanley, RPh
    David Stanley is a pharmacy owner, blogger, and professional writer in northern California. Contact him at [email protected]


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