WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Pharmageddon, is a planned protest by some drugstore workers to call in sick to highlight a lack of support from their employers. Demonstrations began on Monday and are planned until Wednesday.
News 8 spoke to a local pharmacist, Yehia Aryan, about the impact of the walkout. Aryan owns an independent pharmacy called The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in West Hartford.
He bought the pharmacy after years of working for a big box store, saying he didn’t like the direction they were heading in.
“They started putting a lot of pressure on pharmacists more work, more work, more work claiming they don’t make enough money off of them and I got sick of that,” Aryan said.
Aryan told News 8 he understands why pharmacists are walking off the job because the job is about more than handing out pills.
He said he wants to make sure his patients are not harmed by the drugs and that there are no medication interactions. Aryan said by running his own business, he has enough staff on hand to take the time to talk to each patient.
“[You] need people to service people, technology cannot do everything for you,” he said.
Ahmed Abdelmageed, the dean of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford says the big box stores push metrics and bottom lines.
“Some of them are walking out to say if I am not here to do this work that needs to be done, or if this environment is not changed, I am putting myself and my patients at risk,” he said.
Abdelmageed said patients should not expect to receive their medications in 15 minutes because pharmacies are not a fast-food service. He mentioned the possible complications that could arise if a pharmacist were to not take the time to counsel a patient.
“We will have your prescription ready in 15 minutes or less has done a disservice to the practice in that setting, because it’s not fast food right, there are a lot of complications that could arise and you forget or ignore the impact the fact that I counseled somebody and save them from a visit to the ER,” he said.
One thing to keep in mind when you pick up a bottle of medication is the amount of work a pharmacist does behind the scenes to ensure your safety.
Pharmacists have to double-check that each patient receives the right medication, the correct amount and that there will be no unsafe interactions with the medication based on the patient’s history.