CVS employees told not to tell patients when scripts filled by person with COVID-19; new pharmacies in NZ area to explain reducing harms; Canadian pharmacist suspended after on-selling drugs bought for cash
US: A CVS district leader told pharmacy staff not to tell patients that their scripts had been filled by a person who returned a positive test for COVID-19, according to Business Insider.
The directive reportedly came to light in a leaked email, which was shown to the publication by a Georgia CVS technician.
The email told employees to locate the scripts filled by the infected employee and remove them from shelves – but if the patient had already collected the medicine, the staff were told that standard policy was to “NOT make an outreach call”.
According to the technician who shared the email, the employees were told they could be subject to disciplinary action or fired if they shared the information with patients.
“We were told not to contact anyone or let anyone know,” the tech said.
According to Fox News, CVS has now clarified the policy, with spokesman Michael DeAngelis saying that the instructions did not come from head office or indicate a company-wide policy.
“It is not our policy to prohibit our pharmacies from informing patients if their prescription was filled when an employee who tested positive for COVID-19 worked in the pharmacy,” he said.
“For patients who’ve already received their prescriptions, we cooperate with local departments of health and provide patient contact information as requested. In these situations, patients – if they choose to – can return and replace medications.”
Palmerston area, New Zealand: One of New Zealand’s Health Boards is reportedly “one step away” from implementing a new policy which would see applicants for pharmacy contracts expected to justify how they would handle being located alongside sellers of harmful products such as cigarettes and alcohol, such as in supermarkets.
Stuff reports that the MidCentral District Health Board placed a moratorium on permitting new contracts in December 2018 while it looked at developing its policy on nearby harmful substances.
At one point, it had considered banning allowing pharmacies near places where consumers could gamble or buy alcohol and/or cigarettes, but feedback indicated this would be too draconian, said Board adviser for commissioning and contracts Graeme Gillespie.
Instead, new pharmacies will be asked to show how they would improve equity and access, and reduce the potential harms from having their dispensaries next to alcohol and tobacco sales.
“It will enable us to have greater influence over where new community pharmacies are located,” Mr Gillespie said.
Stuff notes that the policy has been developed to give the Board grounds for refusing to grant contracts, thus allowing it to address problems of high concentrations of pharmacies in some areas, with low or no access in other locations.
Salmon Arm, British Columbia: A committee of the College of Pharmacists of BC has found that pharmacist Laurent Pierre Roy was purchasing prescription medicines with cash from a hospital employee, in behaviour that took place from 2011 to 2018.
Mr Roy has agreed to having his registration suspended for a year as well as a CAD$25,000 (AUD$26,017) fine after the investigation found he might have benefited financially by reselling these hospital supplies from his own pharmacy, reports Global News Canada.
“Evidence in the form of communication suggested the registrant was aware of the diverted nature of the supplies he purchased, and that some of the cash he paid for the supplies to the hospital employee were diverted away from hospital accounts,” the written decision says.
Meanwhile the Interior Health Authority, the owner and operator of the hospital in question, has now filed a notice of civil claim against both Mr Roy and the former hospital employee.
The lawsuit claims that the former employee, Ian Petterson, kept the cash and manipulated transactions in the recording system to cover his activities.
Manchester, England: A pharmacy worker was “mocked from the outset” for her age when she started work at the St Chad’s Chemist in Oldham, Greater Manchester, reports Metro.
Sue Walsh, who was 63 when the incidents took place, has now been awarded £15,649.13 (AUD$28,467), including £13,000 for injury to feelings, following a tribunal hearing.
The tribunal heard that Ms Walsh was targeted by workers 40 years her junior for not being able to hear them, even after she had a hearing aid fitted.
“They called her name ‘Sue, Sue, Sue!’ and called ‘You can’t hear can you?’ and they did this in front of each other and in front of customers in the shop,” the tribunal noted.
She was also reportedly mocked for asking questions of colleagues and for “not being able to remember things”.
The staff – including a manager aged 24, other employees in their 20s and one aged 17 – did not mock each other when they forgot things or did not hear them correctly, it noted.
When Ms Walsh complained to the director of the pharmacy, she was told to “let it go over her head,” after which the criticism from the 24-year-old manager intensified.
She was fired after suffering a fall at work, hurting her back and taking a sick day.
She told the tribunal that the pharmacy had become a “hostile climate” and was awarded damages by the panel, which decided she had been subject to discrimination on the grounds of age and disability.