Have you been to a Walgreens pharmacy and noticed how busy everyone is? Have you ever wondered why they don’t hire more people or give themselves more time to fill prescriptions? Maybe pharmacists want enough time to closely check each prescription and consult with patients. Maybe they realize that there is a need for more pharmacy employees. But, could it be that wait times are not pushed back and more employees are not hired because Walgreens wants to make more money?
According to a recent investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and an $80 million settlement with Walgreens pharmacy chains, it was revealed that Walgreens pharmacies had bonus programs that encouraged pharmacists to fill more prescriptions in exchange for compensation.
The company wanted more money so badly it even gave its pharmacists incentives to ignore red flags and sell oxycodone, hydrocodone, and Xana. This means that pharmacists knowingly filled prescriptions for customers that were not using painkillers for medicinal purposes.
Walgreens even committed record-keeping and dispensing violations at its Jupiter, Florida, distribution center, as it failed to flag suspicious orders of drugs from its pharmacies. Enormous volumes of oxycodone were ordered from various Florida pharmacies. For example, the Hudson store ordered 388,100 oxycodone units in 2009 and 2.1 million units in 2011, all while the national average for pharmacies purchasing this painkiller is 73,000 units annually.
Instead of making a bigger profit, Walgreens was hit with a civil penalty of $80 million – the largest in the history of the Controlled Substances Act. Retail pharmacies that were involved included six locations in Florida and similar allegations in Colorado, Michigan, and New York. In addition to the fine, Walgreens agreed to retrain employees and end its compensation program rewarding pharmacists for the amount of prescriptions filled.
Mark Trouville, Chief of the DEA’s Miami field office, said this is “a clear example of inexcusable corporate conduct that existed only for greed and profit. National pharmaceutical chains are not exempt from following the law.”
When a company prioritizes profits over customers’ health and well-being, people could suffer as a result. When pharmacists are trained to keep going, push more, and overlook red flags, they may miss pharmacy errors that could cause serious harm or death.
If you were injured or lost a loved one due to a negligent Walgreens pharmacist, you may have rights to file a lawsuit against Walgreens. To find out more about your rights, call Kennedy Hodges at 888-526-7616 to speak with a knowledgeable pharmacy error lawyer in a free consultation. Be sure to also request a free copy of our report, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Your Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.