What I am about to tell is explosive. I would even say “scandalous“. Something, you were never supposed to know. But now , it is time to reveal the secret.
Let’s start with an illustration.
Imagine you board for your flight. Your plane takes off. And while it is in the air, you hear your pilot, make the following announcement:
“Attention ladies and gentlemen, this is your pilot. Shortly, I will be passing out snacks and drinks. This is part of my added duties by the airline company although it violates FAA rules. Please make your selections now. I have to fulfill those demands in a timely manner as I need to return to my seat to pilot the plane. I will do my very best to get you safely to your destination . This is my one and primary concern. Unfortunately, for circumstances beyond my control, the airline company has redirected my focus and priority to passing snacks and drinks. My sincere apologies if we don’t make it safely. This is not how I had imagined my career would go. Thank you for your cooperation and thank you for flying with Greed Airline”.
This scenario is not much different from what has been happening in the retail pharmacies. #PizzaIsNotWorking was never about whiny pharmacists and technicians. It was never about centralizing the heaviness of the pandemic just on us. It is obviously clear that everyone has been impacted… emotionally and physically. Every sector has faced some type of struggle in the last year and half.
You see, #PizzaIsNotWorking has always been about you… the patients. The working conditions in retail pharmacies have gradually gotten worse with time. The weight had been felt for a long time. The Pharmacy Staff had hoped for changes. Promises had been made. However, nothing has been done. Nothing is being done. Instead, The Pharmacy has been running under conditions which have greatly endangered patients’ safety. Mistakes have occurred. Patients have received the wrong medication. Major allergies and drug interactions have been overlooked. Incorrect strengths or directions have been dispensed. Patients have received the wrong vaccines. Treatments have been delayed because the staff has not been able to maintain the pace between vaccines, testings, phone calls, companies insane metrics while being asked to fill prescriptions under 15 mins. Many times, mistakes and delays in care have been minor to moderate to patients. But unfortunately, at times, those events have caused patients to end up in the hospital or even worse.
Snacks and drinks instead of piloting to safety.
For too long, we have not spoken publicly about those working conditions, because we were afraid. We have endured silently. We have filed safety reports which by-the-way, put the entire blame on us. We have stressed to those above us that our poor and toxic working environment has been the catalyst of those medications errors. Those who had the courage to speak publicly, have suffered consequences; fired under false pretenses.
The oath , we took as Doctors of Pharmacy and Technicians, to protect patients’ health has been broken too many times and not by our doing.
Consequently, we can no longer remain silent. We can no longer be instruments through which lives are lost. It is clear that no one is perfect and mistakes in the medical field are bound to happen. We do not claim to be without faults. However, we can not accept to work in conditions which will lead to the death of someone. Across the nation, Pharmacists and Technicians are speaking out. They are saying no more. Many will probably lose their jobs for their bravery. It is a risk they are willing to take. Because silence is no longer an option. It has been a costly factor for us… for you. And it will continue to be…unless something changes.
Therefore listen Dear World. This is about you. This is about your loved ones. This fight is between you and your retail pharmacies. We have been asking for changes for a long time. But we are not the generators of their wealth. YOU ARE. You are the users of their clinical services . You are the leader of your health. ONLY YOU , have the power to make changes. We don’t. If you choose to put your health at risk and accept those conditions, we will NOT help you in killing yourselves. No. We won’t.
HOWEVER, if you value your life and want to fight, then you have allies standing with you. We will fight with you. The changes which are desperately needed, will only come with reforms and laws. File your complaints with your Board of Pharmacy. If you see poor working conditions at your local pharmacy, call corporate. If you can leave complaints because you did not receive your rewards points at the register, then you surely can do the same when your health is in danger. Write to your legislators. Reach out to your news outlets. Use your voice.
Lastly, remember that your fight is not against the pharmacy staff. Pharmacists and Technicians don’t set the conditions in which they work. The mistakes which have occurred and will continue to occur, are the direct products of the working parameters set by the employers. The Pharmacists and Technicians are not the ones who are preventing you from picking your prescriptions at a safe and timely manner. They are not the reasons why pharmacies are closing across the nation and therefore, you are unable to pick up prescriptions. Your adversary is not them . It is your retail pharmacies. To them, you are simply “customers “. To us, Pharmacists and Technicians, you are our “patients”. Customers buy goods. Bad goods can be returned or exchanged. Patients are users of clinical services. And bad clinical services can have deadly consequences.
So what is it going to be? Are you going to sit back and accept snacks and drinks? Or you are to make sure that your pilot gets you to safety? Choose.
With Much love,
Dr. Bled Tanoe