That Walgreens pharmacist strike

Here in the Chicago area, about 1,200 pharmacists at Walgreens drug stores went on strike about two weeks ago to protest what they call a staffing shortage and unsafe workloads.

The National Pharmacists Association, which represents pharmacists in northern Illinois and northwest Indiana, says that the workload at many Walgreens pharmacies routinely exceeds the “safe” threshold of 20 prescriptions filled per pharmacist per hour. The company disputes the claims and says that about one-third of the original strikers have returned to work.

Regardless of who is right, the debate clearly is missing something. Raise your hand if you think that the so-called “safe” level could at least double without endangering patient safety if every prescription came in electronically, with potential interactions, insurance coverage and formulary compliance already verified.