Being a retired Paramedic I am well aware of the problems all states are facing where illicit pharmaceutical drugs are concerned. I agree that something needs to be done about that problem. I DO think that any pharmacist who distributes narcotics illegally should be held to and prosecuted to the very fullest extent of the law. That does not mean that ANY person employed at any drug store or Any pharmacist has the right to treat another human being without the same dignity and respect he or she would give to any other customer. Furthermore, just because there is a nationwide shortage of pharmacist, the corporate bosses in their charge should not let them get away with such actions for fear of loosing a pharmacist in their already short pharmacy staff.
I have promised myself that I will never again step foot into any Walgreen's Pharmacy for as long as I live. It will be a cold day in hell before I give that company a dime of my money or anyone gives them a dime on my behalf. So help me God.
Below is the letter I wrote and sent to Walgreen Company. Below that is the response I received over the phone from their District Manager and Department head of pharmacies. I thought I made my point. You be the judge. All I wanted, perhaps I should say All I Demand, is to be treated with the common courtesy and respect I would get if I was buying car or a pizza. Again, you be the judge....
Walgreen Consumer Relations
Supervisor of Pharmacy Staff Walgreen Company
1411 Lake Cook Road, Mail Stop #L428
My guess is the pharmacists shortage will make any legitimate points made in this letter mute.
I would guess, the fact that for so very long, not all, but many have routinely gotten away with mistreatment of loyal customers. Chalking their actions up to professional discretion knowing that this complaint and others like it will fall to deaf ears. I can also guess that corporate Walgreens, just like store #7808s manager, Dennis Goodman, lack the backbone necessary to stand up to such egotism and tell them things simple are not done that way or perhaps say she does not get to make the rules as she goes along. Mr. Goodman has heard my concerns, these exact concerns, in the past. Concerns of pharmacist and staff making me, a man that has absolutely no criminal past, feel like a common criminal.
A law abiding, tax paying, citizens I spent his adult life as a street Paramedic. There, the golden rule of
helping people without bias meant something. I was made to feel like a curb side junkie who had no constitutional rights solely because of narcotics on a medication list. Narcotic medication, I should add, that were a major percentage of $5761.67 out of my pocket and the $29,780.58 paid on my behalf in 2011 alone.
When compared to the estimated $4.2 million store #7808s pharmacy takes annually my mere $35,000.00 + wont be missed in 2012 and perhaps within that statement lies part of the problem. None the less, I will not subject myself to such feelings or character assassination from my local neighborhood pharmacy or any other, for any longer. Plainly defined as a crime, motivated by prejudice, or intolerance toward a member of a gender, racial, religious, or social group, I consider and perceived her words and actions as a hate crime.
I will stay within the parameters of this incident as those in the past were dealt with in a manor I thought best at the time. I will say I regret not filing my previous complaints at a corporate level as my thinking Mr. Goodman would at least look into my spoken words with a business managers fairness. I was wrong in such thinking. Mr. Goodman will recall the fact that I have brought my negative issues, as well as my praise of true professionalism, where it was due.
I want to note, and thank Crystal, for being the epitome of professional, 100 % of the time I had the pleasure of dealing with her. She is, and has always been the happiest, smiling face in the store. Even when one might detect she was not feeling well or had less than perfect conditions elsewhere in her life, Crystal is the consummate professional employee. This complaint begins about an hour after dropping my prescription at the drive thru window with Crystal. It was the phone call I received at 2:35 pm on Monday, January 9th, 2012 lasting 49 seconds from a woman who later identified herself as Lynn, the head pharmacist at Walgreens. I was at my Mothers house.
The very first words spoken by Ms. Lynn after, Jay and my replying Yes were, Where are the rest of your prescriptions? Thinking someone was playing a joke, not knowing what else to think, I said, Who is this? At that point is when she identified herself as stated above. She proceeded to say and I again quote exactly, I wont fill one pain prescription without filling them all. She continued, saying, I called your doctors office. Where are the rest of your prescriptions? Being absolutely dumb founded I responded with the five spoken words, I will be right over, and hung up the phone.
What is it she thought I did with them? I searched within, looking for a legitimate reason to make such a call that involved such a statement. Telling my Mother and father about the call they also thought hard, looking for any reasonable purpose or any possible misunderstandings that might have generated such a contemptible communication. We found none.
As I said above, store # 7808 is my neighborhood store being but 3 blocks from home. I waited approximately 30 minutes as I wanted to compose myself. This 49 second call that came out of nowhere aggravated me and I did not want to say anything in the heat of the moment or say anything I would later regret. For those exact reasons when I did arrive at the store I asked the first employee I saw, she was at the cosmetic counter, if she could find the store manager for me. She did, and I told Mr. Goodman about the call I had received. He asked me, What did she mean? Before I could answer completely I dont know, he said Well, lets go see.
While walking to the pharmacy I said to Mr. Goodman that this is exactly what I mean when I say getting treated like a second class citizen because of the medications I take. Again I quote his exact words of, let me stop you right there. We stopped half way to the pharmacy and he continued, I have to respect her professional judgment. What I expected I dont know but I was again left dumbfounded to the point of speechless, and we continued to the pharmacy.
We arrived to find Lynn on the telephone so we waited for 3 to 4 minutes without words when Mr. Goodman said let me go see what I can find out. He waited another minute or so and then spoke to Lynn, for a minute or so, in the back of the pharmacy. She approached the counter as I did and said to me as she pointed her pencil at the medications that she was referring to that she had written on the back of the prescription I had handed to Crystal earlier. That is how I practice my profession. I wont fill one pain medication without filling them all I was trying to help you. I looked at Mr. Goodman, now standing next to her, and asked, are you OK with this? Shaking his head he said he was. I took the hard copy of my prescription, told Lynnette she was not trying to help me, she wanted to play cop and be my doctor too. I left the store.
The Walgreens official, corporate, reaction on this matter I expect I may never hear. Ms. Lynette, (who refused giving me her last name stating it was for her own safety she was not obligated to do so) in my opinion, mistreated me for the one and only reason I stated. She had absolutely no right even asking the initial inflammatory phone question of where are my other prescriptions. I can only wonder what she thought I had done with them. I dont feel I owe her any explanation. I can think of 3 or 4 legitimate reasons I did not present any other prescriptions. Ms. Lynette, in the way she practices her profession needed only look to her computer to see that 1 of the prescriptions she was demanding was filled but 6 days prior, another 19 days prior at that very store from which she was making her professional demands. Both of which are 30 day supplies. With her overwhelming desire to help me, does she even realize it is January and does she realize Medicare patients are paying not only their Part D deductibles but their Part B deductibles as well? All on the same fixed incomes. Do I need to disclose a financial statement in order to fill my medications at Walgreens? I ask, does anyone who sits in the corporate towers care that some, one, or any of their customers are being treated in such a professional manor?
These are my perceptions and this is not the first time I have been made to feel them. I will see
this injustice through to its very end. Up to this point in time I have been a long time, loyal customer of
Walgreen #7808 and regardless of Ms. Lynettes obvious and blatant prejudices I am a human being. A human being who, like every other, deserves to be treated with the same courtesy, dignity and respect afforded us as Americans. The legitimate prescribings of my legitimate physicians cannot be permitted to change any of the absolute and inherent rights all humans are afforded in America.
THAT IS THE ENTIRETY OF MY LETTER TO WALGREEN CO.
I am sure that I am not the only one to perceive such injustices as I have spoken to other people who perceive the same for the same reason. I can also be sure that it is not all pharmacists who take a negative attitude in such circumstance. What I did not know for sure till today was the extent Walgreen Co. would go to in order to protect their dwindling pharmacy staff. It is also the reason for me filing this Rip Off Report.
I was contacted by telephone (I only have the spelling of names the way I jotted them down so they may or may not be 100% correct) and answered the message request to call 941-483-4511 which was supposed to be district headquarters. I was to tell a secretary Tina who I was and I would be re-contacted. I was, by a Hugh Morrow and an M. McLaughlin. One of which was the district manager and the other the head of pharmacy staff. Although I can not repeat the conversation verbatim I have to wonder if my letter was read with even 1/2 the respect I gave in writing it. I say this because they literally asked if I filled my prescription and when I said I did they asked if I did so at another Walgreen. It was obvious to me that I was on speaker phone and for all I know and assume I was being recorded as well.
On 3 or 4 occasions they continued to reiterate, even after I said the first time I had absolutely no problem with her calling my doctor's office that doing so was with-in her scope. After stating I had no problem with that part of it they asked, and I quote, "well then what is your problem if not that she called the doctor" I actually had to state "I won't be treated like a junkie because of the medications on my profile". One of them also said and I quote "well I guess we could call store 7078". That said to me that they had not even looked into my written words. Are they so afraid she might throw a temper tantrum and quit if they were to approach this pharmacist or store manager?
In ending, I will not spend another cent in any Walgreen for so long as I remain on this earth. And corporate Walgreen's does not care I won't. If there is any reader who know's a better way to make my point felt by corporate I would appreciate any input. If anyone wishes to join me (and others) in my boycott of Walgreen I would also appreciate that even more.
As I wrote in my letter, I will see this issue to the very end.
Those dirty dogs.