PROFESSIONAL SERVICES QUOTAS WHY SURPRISED?

Since the intrepid CBC aired its recent piece on pharmacists being given quotas to produce professional services by their employers, there has been “much weeping and gnashing of teeth”.

Some pharmacists and their Associations are outraged by the attitude the CBC is taking, seemingly and singularly targeting pharmacists.  Why is the CBC picking on the pharmacy profession…especially during ‘Pharmacy Awareness Month’?  Wow, it takes a whole month to make the public aware about the importance of pharmacy.  Why are there no Medicine or Nursing or Dentistry awareness months?

Some pharmacists are simply dismayed as they witness the continuing downward spiral of their profession, as big commercial interests (aka Big Retail Pharmacy) tighten their grip around pharmacists’ throats in their never ending quest to squeeze out every drop of profit they can extract.

Some pharmacists, mostly the academics and regulatory bodies types, take the ‘ostrich approach’; they simply turn away and pretend the whole thing is not happening.

All this outrage and disillusionment and dismay and anger and nowhere to direct it towards.  Shouldn’t the real questions be:  Why is everyone surprised and angry?  Why are you dismayed and embarrassed, as your friends and loved ones watch this stuff, and make you feel tainted and less professional and honest than you believe you are?

Everyone knew this stuff was happening.  Heck, even the government has been on it for years now… conducting various studies with university types as to the efficacy of these services, and their impact on the cost or quality of healthcare delivery.

The Pharmacy Associations have all known about it, and never put up one baby finger of protest as their pharmacy practitioner members squealed for help.  How could the Associations do anything?  It’s not their job to dictate to the marketplace, they claim.  Nor perhaps can the Associations be expected to jeopardize their funding, considering the stranglehold that Big Retail Pharmacy has over their agendas.

Whatever happened to Individual Pharmacist Billing Numbers?  Quashed.  Too disturbing of the status quo thank you, so off the agenda.

The crows are coming to roost on this one.  Big Retail Pharmacy long discovered that these ‘professional services’ were a licence to print money.  Think about a $60 Medscheck fee.  At 3% net profit, a retailer would have to generate $2,000 in sales to make that kind of money.  Then there’s the ‘Pharmacy Opinions’ and the flu season injections, and the smoking cessation programs etc. etc.  …a veritable cornucopia of free cash without any added ‘labour’ costs.  Just issue the quotas and keep ratcheting them up until the system squeaks.  District Manager types love this kind of stuff; it’s quantitative and targets can be created, and then people can be measured against them.  Quality is not an issue, quantity is, and the bonus dollars support and reinforce this.

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