retail news in context, analysis with attitude

From the New York Times:

"Pharmacy employees at Walgreens told consultants late last year that high levels of stress and 'unreasonable' expectations had led them to make mistakes while filling prescriptions and to ignore some safety procedures.

"But when the consultants presented their findings at Walgreens’s corporate offices this month, there was no reference to the errors and little mention of other concerns the employees had raised.

"That’s because senior leaders at Walgreens had directed the consultants to remove some damaging findings after seeing a draft of their presentation, a review of internal emails, chat logs and two versions of the report shows."

The Times writes that "pharmacists in dozens of states have accused Walgreens, CVS and other major drugstore chains of putting the public at risk of medication errors because of understaffed and chaotic workplaces … In letters to state pharmacy boards and in interviews with The Times, pharmacists said they struggled to keep up with an increasing number of tasks — filling prescriptions, giving flu shots, answering phones and tending the drive-through, to name a few — while racing to meet corporate performance metrics they characterized as excessive and unsafe."

The chains have pushed back on the accusations, saying that such mistakes are rare.

In the case of Walgreens, the Times notes that the company downplays the information gathered by the consultancy, Tata.  The story says that Tata now has been given a $1.5 billion deal to run Walgreens’s technology operations.

You can read the Times story here.

KC's View:
 

I know what that $1.5 billion deal sounds like to me.  Boy, I hope I'm wrong.

If these charges are true - and I must admit that the denials ring hollow, with little persuasive evidence that exactly what the pharmacists are saying is happening isn't actually happening - it would be unconscionable for the chains to be closing their eyes to them.  They may think that they are protecting their companies, but they are doing exactly the opposite.  They are, in fact, putting their companies at long-term risk - financially, reputationally, ethically.