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Ohio's Capitol Journal has a fascinating story saying that "at least eight CVS pharmacies in Ohio are so understaffed that they have seen rampant turnover, dirty conditions, lack of controls over dangerous drugs and wait times as long as a month for prescriptions, according to reports by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy. 

"The waits have been so long that a harried CVS pharmacist in Wooster said he was 'actively triaging prescriptions to ensure lifesaving, life-sustaining medications are filled in a timely manner.'

"In one case, pharmacy workers told inspectors they begged their superiors – unsuccessfully – to close their pharmacies so they could catch up. In another, a pharmacy did intermittently close, making it impossible for patients to get their medicines during the closures.

"In another instance, pharmacy board inspectors couldn’t tell if employees were stealing controlled substances. In yet another, they couldn’t tell if CVS was improperly billing insurers for scripts it didn’t fill.

"And in several additional cases, inspectors repeatedly found expired and adulterated drugs on pharmacy shelves and filled prescriptions that gave patients the wrong instructions."

The story notes that "the inspections come after CVS – already the nation’s largest pharmacy retailer – has for years bought up competitors, closed them and moved the prescriptions of the closed pharmacies to existing CVS stores."

CVS management downplayed the issues, referring to them as “isolated incidents.”

You can read the entire story here.

KC's View:

Part of the problem with this story, at least as I read it, is that I kept getting the queasy feeling that the problems likely are much worse than the investigators found and than CVS is willing to admit.

It isn't just the pharmacies - this is a company that wants to play a far greater role in the nation's healthcare ecosystem.  Stories like there are unhelpful.  Plus, if you've ever actually been to a CVS, I suspect that you have not been encouraged about its ability to deliver on a healthcare value proposition.