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Cody Walgreens Not Affected By Walkout

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Despite pharmacists walking off the job in protest, the Walgreens pharmacy in Cody is not being affected.

KODI reached out to the pharmacy department at the Sheridan Avenue location and was assured by a pharmacy tech that “there [will be] a pharmacist on duty” to fill customer’s prescriptions and refills.

The Walgreens pharmacist walkout comes just two weeks after dozens of CVS pharmacists protested unsafe working conditions. Walgreens pharmacists followed suit with their own walkout Monday that left stores shuttered or short-staffed across the nation’s second-largest retail pharmacy chain.

The organizer estimated that several hundred pharmacists and pharmacy technicians participated in the protest, which will last through Wednesday.

A spokesperson for Walgreens wouldn’t specify the impact of the walkout as “minimal” how many staff or stores were involved but did confirm, a “small number of our pharmacies are experiencing disruptions, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”   The spokesperson added that the pharmacy chain is working to return these pharmacies that are participating in the walkout to regular operations

USA TODAY interviewed several Walgreens pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who are participating in the walkout, all of whom requested anonymity for fear of retaliation. They share concerns by CVS pharmacists when they walked out in late September. Among them: the company places unreasonable demands on pharmacy workers without providing the staffing or resources to do their jobs safely or ethically.

The biggest point of contention of the Walgreens pharmacists is that they are expected to manage a large volume of patient calls; perform rapid flu and COVID-19 testing, in addition to working with insurance companies on such issues as approvals, co-pays and reimbursements; and provide an increasing number of vaccinations, including COVID-19, flu, pneumonia and shingles.

Because of the added duties, pharmacist are crying foul saying the increase in duties have a trickle-own effect that ultimately can impact customers’ health and safety.  According to pharmacists who spoke to USA Today, staff are pressured to hit targets and disciplined for falling short. As a result, corners are cut and medication errors are on the rise, putting patients at risk.

The fast pace, one organizer stated, has led to an uptick in medication errors behind the pharmacy counter and an increase in accidental needle sticks during vaccinations.

In a statement to USA TODAY, Walgreens acknowledged that the last few years have been challenging for its staff and required an “unprecedented effort” to provide vaccines, fill prescriptions and perform health screenings amid the pandemic.

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