Drugstores Respond to ’20/20′

By From The Blotter

Mar 30, 2007 10:13pm

ABC’s "20/20" contacted the leading national drugstore chains in advance of tonight’s "20/20" report. All declined to provide on-camera interviews but did provide the following written statements. 

Walgreens:
"In the last 10 years alone, we’ve invested nearly $1 billion in redundant pharmacy safety systems, safety training and new technology toward the goal of a zero error rate." 

"In our industry, any error is one too many. We deeply regret the few errors that have occurred among the more than 500 million prescriptions we fill each year at our 5,600 pharmacies."

CVS:
"Over the course of several years, CVS has designed and invested millions of dollars in a comprehensive quality assurance program to enhance patient safety. This program is fully integrated into our prescription fulfillment process."

"We are constantly examining and implementing new and innovative ways to further improve quality.  For example, just recently we enhanced our pharmacy system to further support the accurate filling of prescriptions."

"CVS recognizes the importance of the pharmacist-patient counseling relationship. It is our policy to offer every customer who fills a prescription at CVS the opportunity to receive counseling from their pharmacist. Any incident you may have observed where a customer was not provided an offer to counsel is unacceptable to us and we will take immediate steps to reinforce our policy on this issue."

Brooks Eckerd:
"The Pharmacists and Technicians at Brooks Eckerd Pharmacy strive to provide the highest level of Pharmacy service and patient care throughout the dispensing process in accordance with established company policy which requires that an offer to counsel be made for prescriptions in accordance with state guidelines. Policy also requires adherence to company procedures designed to prevent prescription incidents. Should specific situations be identified where company policy is not complied with, they are addressed in a timely fashion and appropriate action taken to ensure proper controls are in place to prevent reoccurrence in the future."

Rite Aid:
"All Rite Aid pharmacists and technicians are trained on counseling policy and procedures which is that every patient should be asked during each new or refill prescription pickup if they have any questions for the pharmacist about their medication. We don’t get many complaints about lack of counseling, but if we do we go into the store and retrain pharmacy staff."

"We want to immediately retrain the entire pharmacy personnel on our counseling policies and procedures at the four stores [ 20/20 ] mentioned."

Wal-Mart:
Wal-Mart declined to provide a spokesperson for an interview and referred ABC to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores for an interview.

In addition, ABC News’ "20/20" also contacted several regional chains that were included in the Auburn University study, ABC News’ "20/20" field test. Here are their responses:

Publix:
A spokeswoman for Publix Pharmacies told ABC News that the company wasn’t surprised to learn that a Publix pharmacist was the only Pharmacist in the ABC – Auburn University field test to warn patients about one potentially dangerous drug interaction. The spokeswoman told ABC News that as an employee-owned business Publix takes pride in its customer service and tries to staff their stores so  pharmacists have the time they need to properly counsel patients.      

Kroger:
"The safety of our patients is a top priority at Kroger pharmacies. We respect and appreciate the fact that our customers rely on the professional counsel our pharmacists provide. Our pharmacy professionals take their role as a primary source of drug information for our customers seriously and we as a company continue to provide ongoing training to provide the best service possible."

Albertsons:
"The accurate filling of prescription medications is the highest priority at Albertsons pharmacies.  Albertsons pharmacists take seriously their professional duty to fill prescriptions accurately.  Further, each of our pharmacists is required to utilize the comprehensive accuracy verification procedures we have established for our stores."

"To ensure that our patients receive the highest quality of care, the company is also committed to hiring and training top level pharmacists and highly talented pharmacy team members.  The company provides comprehensive and robust training to its pharmacy team to ensure that our pharmacy delivers unparalleled service and compliance."

Duane Reade, a Northeast drugstore chain, declined to comment.

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Read Walgreens’ response to the "20/20" pharmacy investigation.

Read CVS’ response to the "20/20" pharmacy story.

See the visual material provided by CVS.

Read Rite Aid’s response to the "20/20" pharmacy investigation.

Read Albertsons’ response to the "20/20" pharmacy story.

Read Wal-Mart’s response to the "20/20" pharmacy investigation.

Read The Kroger Co.’s response to the "20/20" investigation.

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