Pharmacy Workplace and Patient Safety

In light of recent events across the country, the West Virginia Pharmacists Association (WVPA) stands firmly in support of pharmacists and pharmacy staff who put patient safety and their own safety as a priority. The news of pharmacists leaving their jobs in other cities and states is truly a sign of desperation coming from professionals who, although committed to a lifetime of helping patients, found themselves needing to take a stand.

WVPA is committed to fostering safe and optimal work environments that permit pharmacists and pharmacy staff to focus on providing pharmacist care services. Our neighbors at the Ohio Pharmacists Association articulated the issue best – “When the fiduciary role of a drug store chain to shareholders and the fiduciary role of a pharmacist to patients no longer overlap, public safety is at risk.” That public safety extends to our pharmacy teams who are encountering significant stress and trauma as a result of poor conditions. WVPA also works tirelessly to optimize the pharmacist’s role in healthcare through legislation advocacy, that provide avenues for practice models to not only take care of patients but promise to alleviate the pressures of the modern healthcare infrastructure. 

WVPA also recognizes the need for a better drug pricing system and pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) reform. Poor reimbursement for services is causing all pharmacies to have less staffing and more stress for those who are working in this setting. Adequate reimbursement for pharmacy services and medications are essential to keep pharmacies adequately staffed to provide patient care and develop a positive pharmacist/pharmacy technician-patient relationship.

The WV Legislature in 2023 passed new WV Board of Pharmacy Rules §15-15-7 proposed by the WV BOP at the recommendation of the WV BOP Task Force of Pharmacy Workload and Patient Safety. These changes became effective May 2, 2023. They place restrictions on hours works, quotas, require an uninterrupted meal break along with other protections. Please take a moment to review them. Complaints can be filed here for the WV BOP to investigate.

It is essential that our communities and our Society help support WV pharmacy professionals as one of the most accessible healthcare providers WV residents can utilize. As the demands (yet also opportunities) of our profession are substantial and ever-increasing, it is incumbent upon us to advocate for the well-being of our colleagues for their benefit as well as their patients.

WVPA, as a representative of pharmacy professionals in all practice settings in WV, stands by all of our pharmacy colleagues with our Together We Are Stronger slogan. We will continue to work to protect the integrity of our profession, the well-being of our members, and the communities they serve while advocating for patient care. These ideas are symbiotic.

For more information and resources:
o Pharmacy Workplace and Well-being Report – Recent published reports are available here. The PWWR is a safe, confidential, and anonymous avenue for pharmacy personnel to report positive and negative workplace experiences developed by the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). We encourage all pharmacists and pharmacy staff to complete this confidential and anonymous survey to be used to drive lasting change in our industry.

Well-being Index – A tool designed to be used on a regular basis by pharmacy professionals – this collective knowledge assesses the pulse of a workforce stretched to their limits and encourages action from stakeholders based on those results. We encourage all pharmacy staff to engage for their own sake.