A complaint filed today with the state Department of Health alleges that a Walgreens pharmacy format, called “Well Experience,” creates unlawful risks to public health and patient privacy. The complaint comes as state lawmakers and regulators consider changes Florida’s requirements for pharmacy supervision.
“With this model, we believe Walgreens is violating its legal and ethical responsibilities to patients,” said Nell Geiser, Associate Director of Change to Win Retail Initiatives, the organization that filed the complaint. “Florida’s largest drugstore chain isn’t above the law, and we are calling on the pharmacy board to make Walgreens adhere to the legally required safeguards.”
Pharmacists in the Well Experience format are removed from the traditional pharmacy work area and are stationed in a public facing desk in front of the pharmacy counter. The out-in-front pharmacist generally views digital pictures and video feeds on his or her computer to supervise prescription fills, and often does not actually handle medication before it is given to patients.
Watchdog group Change to Win Retail Initiatives’ complaint argues that the Well Experience model’s reliance on supervision via computer screen violates Florida statute requiring direct pharmacist supervision of pharmacy staff. At its April 1 meeting, the Florida pharmacy board’s rules committee will consider changes to the supervision law that could permit technological supervision, and the Florida legislature is currently considering legislation that could allow pharmacists to supervise an unlimited number of technicians.