Long Wait Times for Your Prescription Could be Coming for Illinois Residents
Need your prescription filled? If you live in Illinois you better be ready to hurry up and wait. Your pharmacist will be entitled to eight breaks per day under proposed legislation that will have you scratching your head in disgust.
The Illinois legislature is considering a plan that will, if passed into law, cause considerable wait times for prescriptions to be filled. The plan calls for pharmacists to be limited to filling ten prescriptions in an hour.
The Illinois News Network is reporting that the Teamsters Union is pushing a plan, because they feel pharmacists are over worked and should spend more time talking to customers about their medications.
Here's how things would work. Let's say you walk into a pharmacy at 10:15 am and have three prescriptions to fill that your doctor prescribed. You hand your scripts to the pharmacy counter. At 10:35 am, the pharmacist completes the first two of your prescriptions, but those prescriptions are number nine and 10 for the hour because of customers before you. You would have to wait 'til the 11:00am before the pharmacists could 'begin' working on your third prescription. The time between 10:35 am - 11:00 am would be a 'waiting time' to allow the pharmacist to rest.
Now imagine a line of six or seven people who each have four or five prescriptions to fill. You could be waiting all day, or days. Cancer patients often have seven or eight prescriptions to fill at the same time. How many times have you seen just one pharmacist on staff at your local drug store? It happens.
The bill is being pushed by Democratic Rep. Mary Flowers of Chicago. The Illinois News Network reports that the Illinois Pharmacists Association opposes the bill.
Executive director Garth Edwards says
We're against the bill as it's currently written. That's an unreasonable ask not only for pharmacy but for the public in general.
By the way there is a lot more involved with filling a prescription than just counting pills, putting them in a little bottle and slapping a label on them. A Reddit user posted this:
We have to wait for the printer to give us the label, and it may already be printing other labels. Sometimes we have to wait for the robot to count the pills, but then there are times when the robot is out and we have to wait for the pharmacist to refill the cell.
Then, the script waits for the pharmacist to verify accuracy and check for interactions. However, the pharmacist is usually on the phone, consulting a customer, or doing other tasks (such as refilling the robot).
While all of this is being done, there usually isn't a Tech designated to only fill. They usually have to answer the phone, assist at the register, deal with insurance, etc. A lot goes on back there that the customer can't see.
P.S. It bugs me to no end when people say, "just slap a label on it."
I didn't know there robots working at CVS at the pharmacy, did you?