Chain drugstores under probe in Oklahoma after claims of inadequate pharmacy staffing

The Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy is investigating claims of inadequate staffing levels at chain drugstores after a New York Times report on overburdened pharmacists, according to Oklahoma City TV station News 9.

The Times report, released in late January, found that pharmacists at the largest retail pharmacy chains in the U.S. are overburdened and concerned that a focus on unrealistic metrics is causing more medication errors, such as dispensing incorrect doses or giving patients the wrong drug.

Pharmacists at retail pharmacy chains are often tasked with filling prescriptions while also giving flu shots, counseling patients, calling physicians about orders and talking to insurance companies. This is coupled with a need to meet corporate performance metrics.

The Times report revealed that an "overwhelming" number of pharmacists complained about staff cuts at chain pharmacies last year.

The Oklahoma Pharmacy Board confirmed it is looking into chain pharmacy staffing levels in the state to ensure patient safety.

"I talk with some of my pharmacist friends who work for chains. Some of their staffing has been cut by 50 percent," Greg Clyde, a pharmacist at an independent pharmacy, told News 9. "More mistakes are going to happen."

Responding to The Times report, CVS stated: "We fundamentally disagree with the recent assertion in The New York Times that patient safety is at risk in America's pharmacies."

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