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Does CVS break its own refill rule? One ex-pharmacist says yes

July 20, 2012|By David Lazarus
  • CVS denies it, but a former pharmacist says the drugstore chain pressures workers to sign people up for automatic refills without their consent.
CVS denies it, but a former pharmacist says the drugstore chain pressures… (Associated Press )

My column Friday on CVS signing people up for automatic refills without their say-so included a statement from a CVS spokesman saying the drugstore chain doesn't tell employees that they have to hit a quota (or metric, in CVS-speak) of ReadyFill enrollees to qualify for bonuses.

Well, along with numerous emails from readers saying they, too, experienced an unwanted enrollment in CVS's refill program, I received the following from "Ed." He identified himself as having been a CVS pharmacist for 10 years.

"There is without a shadow of a doubt an unreasonable quota, or 'metric,' as CVS management coins it, that can only be reached if patients are enrolled in ReadyFill with little or no consent," Ed wrote.

"The pressure to enroll patients was high, and middle management definitely threaten job security to pharmacists who fail to meet designated metrics, especially the ReadyFill quota. You refer to an incentive to enter patients into ReadyFill in the form of a bonus. LOL. No bonus. CVS is not that generous.

"Instead, the message at CVS is to enroll patients into ReadyFill or we will replace you with another pharmacist who will. No joke. And in a bad economy, everyone at CVS listens."

Ed said the practice of enrolling people in ReadyFill without prior consent is especially effective with "the elderly and those on welfare."

As I wrote in the column, CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis says the company doesn't condone enrolling people in ReadyFill without their say-so.

"The way the program is supposed to work is that it's on an opt-in basis," he said. "The pharmacist is supposed to have a conversation with the customer about their maintenance medications, and then the customer can decide whether to enroll in the program."

Or so CVS says. Have you had a different experience?

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