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Walgreens Target of Consumer Complaint

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A consumer and labor watchdog has filed a complaint with Florida’s Department of Health, targeting the way Walgreens pharmacists talk to customers.

Change to Win said they’re concerned about a new pharmacy layout in Walgreens stores called “Well Experience.” This new format removes a pharmacist from behind the counter and places them in a public part of the store.

Nell Geiser, a spokeswoman with Change to Win, said it’s not necessarily a bad thing to have pharmacists closer to consumers.

“But the problem here is that there is still only one pharmacist responsible for the whole pharmacy,” she said. “And they are going to be increasingly distracted by these new services they need to provide and being in a public area. And distraction has been academically shown to increase the danger of prescription errors.”

In this new format, pharmacists will be monitoring prescriptions and staff remotely via computer screens. The group says in its complaint to the state health department that this not only presents privacy issues for consumers, but it also violates Florida statute requiring direct pharmacist supervision of pharmacy staff.

Walgreens spokesman Michael Pozin said in a statement that the stores’ new format allows pharmacists to “practice at the top of their profession, consistent with state Pharmacy Practice Acts, and offers a broad range of needed health care services to local communities.”

The statement also said Walgreens worked closely with each state Board of Pharmacy to review the new model.