Short-staffed Oregon pharmacies lead to long wait times
Pharmacy customers looking to fill prescriptions have been experiencing unprecedented wait times in Eugene and throughout the state.
A line of cars waits at the drive through window at the Walgreens on Coburg road. Online, customers report waiting three hours or more to fill prescriptions. Long waits are a product of staffing shortages, Walgreens’ recent acquisition of Bi-Mart’s pharmacy and demand for COVID-related services.
According to Kevin Russell, Central Oregon Regional Director on the Oregon State Pharmacy Association Board, pharmacies have long struggled with understaffing because of PBMs or Pharmacy Benefit Managers. Here’s Russell on OPB’s Think Out Loud:
“The people who actually pay the pharmacies and determine what the patients pay for prescriptions are PBMs. They determine what the pharmacies actually get paid. Each year, that payment has gotten less.”
Russell suggests customers experiencing long wait times complain to their employer insurers, the clients PBMs answer to.
“If enough people complain to the insurers and employers, they’re going to go back to the PBMs and say, ‘Hey, our people can’t get drugs. What’s going on here?’”
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