Walgreens – Seriously, step up to the plate.

Every now and then, you find that a company you trust has a bad policy. Not just a little “oopsie” or “moral disagreement”, but a serious lack of ethics and borderline neglect that makes you stammer, “…. w… w.. wait, WHAT?!!!”

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This has nothing to do with birth control pills.  I don’t want you to have kids if you don’t want them.  So we can all agree on that.  Let’s just get that out of the way.

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I find – as I often do – kids selling guns or drugs online.   More recently, I’ve found prescription drugs (codene for “drank” – Google it up if you don’t know…)  and most doctors and pharmacists are happy to assist in limiting or stopping the drawing up of prescriptions for people who abuse the system by selling medicine instead of using it.

Here, check out the hazards section:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_drank   and see why I’m concerned.  It’s a problem.  There’s no argument on that.

Particularly if they then sell or trade the prescription meds for money, drugs, spray paint or pitbull dogs (which unfortunately here can end up in fight rings by the same element) – as is common on Facebook or Craigslist.

A few months ago, a kid was dumb enough to post his bottle online, and our neighborhood group contacted the CVS drugstore who was happy to give me a number to text a picture of the page, or a link, and they would personally contact the doctor, put a note in the file and if it happens again, contact the police and stop the person from filling prescriptions.   Hey!  How about that?  You take responsibility for where your products end up, and if it’s an illegal situation, you get involved and take information and do the right thing.

Nice job CVS.   You set the bar, and did what you should have done – the RIGHT THING.  THANK YOU.  They even contacted me to thank me, and let me know what they did.  That’s pretty awesome.

I called Walgreens with a similar expectation.   But alas, not so.   I called the number where it was filled, and the pharmacist technician – who had difficulty transferring me to the pharmacist’s line (yeah, that builds confidence, thanks!) finally got me to “”Mr. Pharmacist in Phoenix (name withheld)”.    He had NO CLUE what to do if someone was selling their prescriptions online.

Let me repeat that, and I paraphrase pretty closely here:  “I don’t know what to do in this sort of situation.  Could… you know, could you maybe call the police?  They could handle this”.

Yes, because one of the 5 on-duty officers currently will drop what they’re doing and start an investigation based on a citizen concern of a Facebook post.   It carries much more weight when you have a doctor reporting a medical fraud or distribution problem.

See what I’m getting at?

He said that he’d take the information, and “think about what to do, and maybe figure something out”.   No.  Your incompetence already tells me everything I need to know.  You, Pharmacist at Walgreens….  You… are… USELESS.

I was a bartender.   You know what I did when people misused what I served or got drinks that I didn’t serve?   I GOT THEM A F****** CAB!    Why?  Because I CARE about my community and I HAVE A RESPONSIBLITY  to do that for those around me. 

“Hey, that guys drunk.  Call the police!” would be just as useful in THAT situation too!

This is not Tylenol Extra Strength.  This is friggin’ codene which is regulated because of a specific misuse popular with kids – much like why they put Ephedrine products behind the counter because people were making METH out of it.  This is why the FDA and DEA have imposed strict limitations on the quantities that can be purchased and dictate that products containing this ingredient must be kept under lock and key.     So yes, THAT level of problem of misuse.

So I’m surprised to find little ol’ me – common regular guy – more in tune with the street drugs than my average Walgreens pharmacist.  THEY should be calling in reporting someone illegally selling CODENE because it’s an alarming situation that requires some sort of responsibility and action.

So I called my NEARBY Walgreens – clearly I ran into an idiot who was clueless at that location downtown.  It happens.   So let’s get someone competent to handle this situation.

So I spoke to another Pharmacist Technician who argued with me that “we don’t really care what people do after the medicines are sold”.    I couldn’t believe it.   I realize, my life is normally pretty good, and I consider myself a pretty “common man” kind of guy.   But who SAYS THAT to a customer that called up EXPRESSING CONCERN that something actually ILLEGAL took place that their place of employment is not only responsible for lawfully, but morally for the community?

So #2  “Pharmacy Technician” telling me “It don’t matter”.   Time to talk to Head Pharmacist #2.

I spoke with ANOTHER pharmacist who concluded that “it wasn’t her concern” that her company was issuing controlled substances and turning the other way when people openly and publicly resold their prescriptions, even when faced with proof.   “It’s a matter for the Police to handle”, they told me.

So let me translate that for you.    They just don’t care.

No wonder it’s rampant.

So I called Walgreens’ Customer Care (800-WALGREEN) and asked for them to review their company policy and prepare a response – written or emailed – for me.   It’s outrageous that COMMON SENSE doesn’t tell Walgreens that if someone reports that their establishments are:
1.  Breaking the law
2.  Turning away from someone reporting an illegal activity
3.  Not taking responsibility for products they distribute under law
4.  Telling concerned customers to “you know, you deal with it.  It’s not our problem” when it is.

It tells me that Walgreens doesn’t care.

So I’m going to post this and encourage people that when they have the option, choose CVS or an independent pharmacist that would care if someone was misusing or distributing controlled substances.   This response from 2 Walgreens locations is not only surprising, but offensive.

For what it’s worth, their customer service person did apologize (for me being offended, mind you, rather than the actual obvious problem).  But they get crapped on a lot and I appreciate their job.   So I’ll let this be between the “Pharmacists” and the Walgreens Management.

Walgreens has lost my business until I can call ANY location and make a report that will be taken seriously by a staff member who respects both the law, AND the community they serve.   If I have to meet with my local Councilman to get this done, I’m going to.   He’s a Firefighter (even as a Councilman), and I’m sure served in his own fair share of impaired drivers.   Certainly he has an opinion on this.

Shame on you, Walgreens.   Man up and own the problem, and take responsibility.

So you with me?

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January 31, 2014 · 5:18 am

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