Walgreens execs hid customer medication complaints: Report

Stressed-out pharmacy workers put more than one drug in pill bottles, could not complete all tasks

Walgreens executives apparently directed the pharmacy's consultants to hide important findings that could damage its business, The New York Times reported Friday citing internal emails, chat logs and two versions of a safety report.

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After Walgreens Tata consultants shared employee concerns that overwhelming pharmacy demands were leading to prescription errors and safety concerns, senior leaders told those consultants to hide those findings in a report presented to Walgreens’ corporate offices earlier this month, the Times reported.

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The two versions of the report — one draft version and one final version — reviewed by the Times discussed "a widespread perception that there is not enough time to respond to all pharmacy tasks."

Walgreens retail location. (iStock)

Chat logs and a draft of the report detail how Amy Bixler, Walgreens director of pharmacy and retail operations, directed consultants to delete a bullet point in the presentation that noted how employees "sometimes skirted or completely ignored" correct pharmacy procedures to due overwhelming work conditions. Another slide detailing "errors resulting from stress" was removed, according to the Times.

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"We were told that pill bottles had been found to contain more than one medication," consultants reportedly wrote in the deleted slide.

Kroger-Walgreens. (Courtesy of Kroger, Walgreens.)

Walgreens spokesman Jim Cohn said the pharmacy store's consultants were helping it gain a "better understanding" of employee complaints and pharmacy mishaps.

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Cohn added that the draft report had "information gathered through informal engagement with staff at a handful of stores," and changes were made to the final report "to help ensure that [it] appropriately focused on the most relevant aspects of the technology and user experience," the Times reported.

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Additionally, Walgreens has taken "any concerns seriously to ensure the appropriate parties are aware and working to address them," he told the Times. The consultant group declined to comment.