By Rosalyn Vellurattil | November 15, 2023

They are walking out across the country for better working conditions and a commitment to increasing staffing levels needed to perform their job safely and effectively for the patients they serve.

Employees are staging walkouts at some of the biggest pharmacy retail chains in the country. A string of pharmacies closed at CVS in Kansas City. Later pharmacists held walkouts at Walgreens. More recently, an estimated 4,500 pharmacy workers from all three of the biggest chains, CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid, announced participation.

#Pharmageddon is trending in nationwide protest. Pharmacy Guild, a new worker empowerment project, announced its efforts to unionize. With the recent news of the SAG-AFTRA strike ending, and the United Auto Workers declaring victory in new contracts, there is hope agreements can be made for resolution.

I worked as a community pharmacist early in my career more than 20 years ago. I dreaded times when I was alone in the pharmacy—every shift—haphazardly filling prescriptions while getting tied up on the phone adjudicating insurance claims, all the while running from one end of the pharmacy to another inputting, verifying, and dispensing prescriptions rapidly.