By now most of us are familiar with the case of the “Post Office Pharmacist” and the fate that befell upon him at the hands of the Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP)
If this injustice was not enough, the OCP went on to publish this decision in its recent publication Pharmacy Connection.
The assumption must be that, because so many pharmacists reacted negatively to this decision, the OCP felt the necessity to reinforce the reasoning behind the decision.
I wrote a blog about this incident a few months ago.
The pharmacist involved went on to appeal the decision of the Inquiries Complaints and Review Committee (ICRC) of the OCP to the Health Professions Appeal & Review Board (HPARB). This did him no good, and even though he had counsel present, HPARB ruled in favour of the ICRC/OCP.
Consequences? This pharmacist lost his job, suffers from anxiety, and basically has had his life turned upside down. And what for?
This altercation with this irate post office customer (not a patient) may be subject to further scrutiny, but the essence is that, unable to deal with this individual effectively, he went looking for help from the physician at the clinic next door. He probably should have just called the police and let them handle what could be described as harassment and a potential threat. The recommendation to call police was what Canada Post gave when contacted about this incident for advice.
In its zeal to make an example of this unfortunate pharmacist, the OCP hinged its decision on the fact that the pharmacist “left the pharmacy unattended” while he went out seeking help in a desperate situation. One wonders what the consequences would be for a pharmacist who ran out of his store during an armed robbery.
This pharmacist, concerned about his safety, stepped out the front door two feet and went right next door looking for help. This is a fact, but what happens in a Super Colossal Big Pharmacy Retail Store (BPR) when the attending pharmacist needs to use the washroom, which is located hundreds of yards away from the actual pharmacy department? (This assumes the pharmacist is allowed to go to the washroom)
In this case, which is highly frequent, now that many pharmacies are just departments in huge mega food drug combos, the pharmacist is much further physically from the pharmacy, and for a much longer period of time.
Why does the OCP not intervene in these physical circumstances and hold the non-pharmacist pharmacy owners accountable? There’s a very simple solution. Every one of these pharmacy departments should have self-contained handicap accessible male and female washrooms right in the pharmacy department.
Of course, these washrooms would then take up more square footage than the actual pharmacy and would cost a ton, not to mention take up highly valuable retail space.
Conclusion. To make a point, it is much easier for the OCP to take action against a single pharmacist with little leverage or power, than to take on BPR and the big-name law firms BPR employs.
This is both a hypocrisy and a gross injustice.