Oregon Pharmacists Confess to Safety Violations in Online Survey
Posted on Mar 09, 2012
An Oregon Board of Pharmacy survey discovered that over half of all national chain pharmacists in the state think there are serious safety issues in their workplaces.
The anonymous survey collected data from over 600 chain pharmacy employees in Oregon. Of these, 350 said their working conditions don’t encourage safe and effective patient care—and that patient practices are only getting worse.
Many respondents stated that increased competition between chain-store pharmacies is to blame for the bottom-line mentality that guides their businesses. About 30 percent of chain store pharmacists agreed that their working conditions made patient care a priority, compared to 76 percent of independent pharmacists.
Over 200 responding pharmacists commented that an unreasonable workload contributed to safety issues. Many complained of increasing numbers of prescriptions and decreasing employees, 12-hour shifts without breaks, and constant distractions from patients and staff members.
One pharmacist reported quitting a position at a chain because he felt “like [he was] going to jeopardize the patients every time [he] stepped into that pharmacy.” Another reported a dangerous number of potential pharmacy malpractice cases due to lack of staff: “We have seen a huge increase in errors. We used to have a couple per month, now we have a couple per week and sometimes more than one in a day!”
The report confirms findings from a state board survey done last summer. The board’s online survey collected information from about 5,700 licensed pharmacists in Oregon, many of whom cited safety concerns in the workplace.
While the Oregon Patient Safety Commission encourages voluntary reporting, pharmacies currently are not required to report errors to any public agency. The pharmacy board receives about 80 cases a year involving medication errors; however, only 94 Oregon pharmacies have signed up to be part of the error reporting program.
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