Letter to Walgreens CEO #1



February 3, 2014

(Address removed for the crapbats who send spam and hate mail. lulz.)

Gregory D. Wasson
Chief Executive Officer, President and Director
108 Wilmot Road
Deerfield, Illinois 60015

Mr. Wasson;

I reach out to you in frustration and concern, and hope you can inform me of your corporate policy.

As a Block Watch Captain and volunteer neighborhood advocate in my Phoenix, AZ neighborhood, we’re working hard to keep our community safe for our residents.

Recently, we came across some prescriptions of Codeine (for “Drank”, a popular street drink), filled by Walgreens, being openly sold on some Facebook and Craigslist pages where people sell guns, drugs, spray paint and trade for dogs.    While the seller usually blocks out their name, they usually forget to block out the RX number on the bottle – key information that identifies someone if the pharmacy is willing to act.

When we reach out to your competitor, CVS, they are happy to accept a picture, click a link we send, investigate, notify the doctor and even call the police so we aren’t targets for reporting it.   One CVS Pharmacist has even given me her cell phone number so that when we come across prescriptions being sold by CVS locations, I can just snap a picture of my screen and send it to her.  I get a “thank you” and a follow-up phone call letting me know that our partnership is appreciated and that action was taken.   Too often, those medicines end up in our neighborhood, or traded for drugs or guns.   CVS “gets it”.

Out of 2 stores and 4 Pharmacy employees, I’ve learned that Walgreens does NOT “get it”.   At all.

This came from your store on 3502 West Camelback Rd, Phoenix AZ.  The RX number is [redacted] and this picture is currently on Facebook, though they usually get deleted after they’re sold:


[Anthnopology:  (The picture I sent lists the RX number)]

I was told by the pharmacy that actually filled the prescription that, “It’s not really our problem, see,  it’s probably a police matter”.    Well, sure.   I have volunteered with the PPD for several years here in Phoenix and do ride-alongs monthly with officers in my area in their patrol units.  I can tell you firsthand that none of the 5-7 officers on duty at any time in my precinct are exactly equipped to drop what they’re doing for a single drug felony when I can only provide an RX number.  I can’t even provide a name – though, Walgreens CAN.    But Walgreens isn’t interested in doing that.   Do you see why this concerns me?

The difference here is that CVS saw a concern that could negatively affect the surrounding community they do business in.  They took action, they took responsibility, they called the doctor, flagged the person in their system and they put the community at ease.   That’s what good stewardship looks like.

In contrast, Walgreens ignored my request, begrudgingly “took what information I had” with a very uninterested “We’ll look into it, I guess” attitude, gave me no reason to believe that they even care, and then told me that if [you] are *really* concerned, “go call the cops”.   With what?  An RX number?!

It takes me 4 hours with the police – as a community partner even – to do what a Walgreens Pharmacist can do in 5 minutes on the phone, and in that time, they can even contact the prescribing doctor to inform him or her.   I can’t do any of that.   My question is:  Why won’t Walgreens do that?  CVS does, so clearly, it’s not so much that Walgreens can’t do this… but is unwilling to do this, unaware to do this, and uninterested in doing this.

On 1-30-2013, I called your Customer Care Department and asked what the policy is when a customer reports that prescriptions filled are being sold illegally online, and there are pictures to prove it.  Surely your customer care would know what to do in this situation.

“We don’t know to do in that situation”, says the customer care agent.   NOBODY knows what to do, except “maybe call the police”.     “But our Customer Service Manager will review your question and return your call in 24-48 hours.   And if we don’t return your call, please call us back and give us your phone number as your reference number”.   Seriously?  Your call center can’t even commit to calling ME back?

Now get ready, Mr. Wasson.  You’ll be as shocked as I to learn that they didn’t call back, (at the time of this letter, it’s going on 60 hours now, not even counting weekends) and I really don’t believe anyone can handle this except someone at the Executive Level.   I have no faith in the Pharmacists or Technicians in the stores in my neighborhood, but I have faith that someone at the top MUST care about this.   Surely there’s a policy to report felony distribution of controlled substances!

Please send me your company’s policy so that I can either go into a Walgreens location near me and build a relationship with a Pharmacist near my zip code who will actually do the right thing on the occasional occurrence that this sort of thing happens, or make a program that makes reporting this easy, confidential and actionable (read:  believable and accountable) on Walgreens’ part.

I welcome a partnership, and look forward to seeing Walgreens step up to the plate.  It takes nothing but minimal time and effort to contact the prescribing doctor and flag someone for abusing controlled substances for them to either stop, or to make it more difficult for them to do so.  In fact, it takes more time and effort for me to find the information online in the first place than it takes your people reporting it.   So how about we meet halfway?

I’d like to see your company’s policy on this matter, please.  My address is above.

I appreciate your time and look forward to your reply.



1 Comment

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One response to “Letter to Walgreens CEO #1

  1. Pingback: UPDATE!! Letter to Walgreens CEO #1 Answered | AnthNoPology

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