Pharmacists are responsible for ensuring patients understand how to safely take their medications. Unfortunately, some have argued that drug store policies can make it difficult or impossible for pharmacists to converse with patients. That is because pharmacists at these stores may be understaffed and overworked. These policies may increase the risk pharmacists fail to warn patients of dangerous drug interactions.
Earlier this year, a union representing CVS pharmacists claimed policies at the national chain of drug stores are putting people at risk. According to the union, CVS pharmacists are overworked and do not receive enough help with tasks. The union claimed CVS gave these pharmacists excessively long shifts with too few breaks.
In addition, the union argued CVS bogged pharmacists down with superfluous tasks that made patient care more difficult. These allegations suggest pharmacists have less time to converse with patients about their treatments.
Do Overworked Pharmacists Warn Patients About Drug Interactions?
A recent article in the Chicago Tribune discovered many pharmacists do not warn patients of dangerous medication interactions. In fact, the investigation discovered pharmacists warned patients of harmful interactions only 51 percent of the time! According to the article, Chicago-area CVS pharmacists dispensed medications without warning of interactions 63 percent of the time. The Chicago Tribune investigation found instances of pharmacists dispensing medications, that when taken together, can cause stroke, kidney failure, birth defects or unexpected pregnancy.
One of the major reasons pharmacists do not warn patients, is because they simply do not have time. According to the investigation, some pharmacists fill 600 prescriptions during 10-hour shifts, about one prescription every two minutes.
There is pressure on pharmacists to get as many people in and out the door as possible. Unfortunately, patients pay a heavy price for these policies.