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Denver7 Story: 'My prescription was in purgatory': Pharmacy staff shortages leave Coloradans without medicine

DENVER — It's a worker shortage that could be bad for your health. Our Contact Denver7 team keeps hearing from people desperate to get the medicine they need but struggling to get prescriptions filled.

The bottom line is Colorado needs more pharmacists and pharmacy techs, but, until then, patients are paying the price.

When Christina Cimino couldn't stop coughing last Friday, she went to urgent care. They called in a prescription to her local Walgreens in Northglenn. 

"I go to call them to check if my prescription is ready Friday night, and the pharmacy is closed," Cimino said. "I'm like, 'You got to be kidding me.' So, I call again — pharmacy is closed."

It turns out that her Walgreens posted new hours, and it was closed at 6 p.m. Friday and for the entire weekend. On top of that, she said they could not transfer her prescription to another Walgreens.

"My prescription was in purgatory. They see it in the system, but they can't release it because it's a narcotic. It's stuck at this particular location," Cimino said. "So, I spent the whole weekend coughing my brains out, and, honestly, I just want to breathe. I really just want to breathe."

Read full article and see interview with CPS Executive Director, Emily Zadvorny.

 

Lack Of Reimbursement Forces Colorado Pharmacy To Not Offer Antiviral COVID Pill – CBS Denver

LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) – A new antiviral pill for treating COVID-19 could play a key part in moving past the pandemic, but some pharmacists won’t carry it. That’s because some are getting paid as little as $1 to give it out.

“It’s not the best feeling, but sometimes as a business owner you have to make hard decisions,” said Jennifer Palazzolo, owner of the pharmacy.

Between vaccines and COVID-19 testing, Flatirons Family Pharmacy in Longmont has been there every step of the pandemic, but lately, there’s one thing they won’t do.

Read full article.

 

Advocacy Alert – Action Request; NCPA Part D Rule Pharmacist Comment

Please take time to send a letter to US Congress via the process outlined here. We all need to do our part to stop DIR fees. It will only take a few minutes!

(From the National Community Pharmacists Association)

We wanted to share a pharmacist comment template for comment on CMS’ proposed Part D rule, that includes language addressing pharmacy DIR fees. Template comments can be personalized and submitted through NCPA’s grassroots portal. Please share this link (https://p2a.co/Pb86xUt) with your stakeholders and strongly encourage them to personalize the template prior to submission to make their comment more impactful.

The template can be effectively personalized by:

  • Adding background on pharmacy including personal anecdotes about how long your pharmacy has been serving Part D patients and what percentage of reimbursement Part D represents
  • Discussing the harm that will come to their patients, pharmacy, and employees if pharmacy DIR fees are not addressed (examples: have reduced pharmacy hours, stopped providing free home delivery of medications to seniors, closed your pharmacy)
  • Providing examples of how pharmacy DIR fees have increased and how they have impacted their business (examples: reduce staff, reduce charitable/community donations)
 

COVID Cases & Labor Shortages Along The Front Range Affecting Walgreens Pharmacy Locations

DENVER (CBS4) – A combination of COVID-19 cases and staffing shortages is leading to growing frustration with Walgreens’ locations across the Front Range. In the last week, viewers have alerted CBS4 to issues with long lines, shortened hours, and sporadic closings at the chain’s pharmacies.

For more than three decades, Eric Braden has counted on Walgreens for every prescription, but lately he’s grown frustrated.

“It’s really too bad to see it going downhill this way,” Braden said.

According to Braden, long lines and a sudden closure kept him from getting an important prescription last Thursday. The next day, there was another issue.

“I went back, and they had posted a sign saying, ‘pharmacy closed today, no pharmacist available,'” Braden said.

Other viewers have shared stories of multiple day closures and staffing shortages at Walgreens locations near them. On Wednesday, the company acknowledged the challenges some of its locations are facing in a statement to CBS4.

See full article and video here.

 

9news.com | Demand at pharmacies ramps up as COVID-19 vaccine booster shots approved

From KUSA

AURORA, Colo. — As booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine gets approved for more groups of people, demand for the shot is climbing back up at pharmacies – and today, an FDA panel gave its initial green light Tuesday recommending Pfizer's vaccine to children ages 5 to 11. 

The expansion to groups eligible for booster shots and additional efforts to get people their first doses of the vaccine has increased demand from both locally-owned and retail chain pharmacies administering boosters. 

"We had seen a little bit of kind of that lull where people who had wanted the vaccine was starting to even off, or even decrease," said Emily Zadvorny, the executive director of the Colorado Pharmacists Society and clinical associate professor for the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy.

"But you know, now that we have the boosters for not only immunocompromised people, but pretty much for a lot of the population that we saw in our high-risk populations and older populations be able to get the boosters, that's bringing all that same rush back into the pharmacies," she said. 

See full article here.

 
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