Virginia law prohibits pharmacies to operate without a licensed pharmacist on duty and patients are in danger

Cheryl E Preston
Pharmacy shortage could be deadlyPhoto byNational Cancer InstituteonUnsplash

The pharmacist crisis will affect lives

This morning I went to pick up several prescriptions for a family member at CVS Pharmacy at 1916 Orange Ave NW and found it was closed. The employees at the front desk said the Pharmacy was scheduled to open at 2:00 PM but that would only be if a licensed Pharmacist was available. Virginia State law does not allow anyone to work in the pharmacy unless a pharmacist is on duty. Not only does this affect the ability of employees to earn a living it is dangerous for the lives of those who need prescription meds.

Prescription medications are to be taken on time but often they are not called in for a refill until an individual is out which means they miss a dose or two or three. I had a relative who never reordered her blood pressure medication until she had been out of it for a few days. Sometimes her physician had her make an office appointment before he would issue a refill which was an additional delay. Even missing a low-dose aspirin can be deadly.

A delay in obtaining prescription meds can be deadly

I have seen television commercials and read online about individuals who missed a few aspirins and had a heart attack or a stroke so it's important to make sure prescriptions are on hand. The two CVS employees at the front desk told me the pharmacy shortage is the problem and that it takes 8 years of education to become a licensed pharmacist which is confirmed online. In the meantime, it's important to reorder prescriptions as soon as possible and do all you can to have them on hand when needed.

I recall decades ago a neighbor I did not know knocked on my door and asked me to take him to CVS because he really needed his medication. I was going out of town and on a time limit and was unable to help him. Many of the customers who use the CVS on Orange Ave, don't have transportation and depend on the schedule of others to obtain their meds. Not having a pharmacist on staff during normal business hours could be a matter of life and death but at this time there sadly is no solution.

The law prohibits a pharmacist from authorizing anyone else to fill prescriptions in his or her absence and in one case this caused a suspension of a license and closed the pharmacy for a year. In the meantime, those who need prescription drugs and have called them in on time may not be able to obtain their meds on schedule which could lead to medical episodes, ER visits, hospital stays, and unfortunately death.

miss doses, suffer a health crisis, fill the ERs, or worse.

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I write, about breaking news, and current events. I wrote a newspaper column from 1997 to 2007 and have written for various online platforms since 2012 including Yahoo Contributor Network, Hubpages, and Vocal Media.

Roanoke, VA

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