Peanut eating in pharmacy

Posted on: Fri, 02/27/2004 - 11:17am
wendysco's picture
Joined: 05/03/2003 - 09:00

Today I went to pick up a script for Rhinocort for my son and the tech put down a bag of something and grabbed the bag with my kid's prescription. I peeked at the bag and sure enough, trail mix loaded with nuts and seeds. Well I explained the danger and tossed all the external packaging and took just the vial which I cleaned off and my kid is fine. The manager seemed unreceptive and clueless, I have called the headquarters for Eckerd's and they took my complaint and said someone will get back to me Mon or Tues. I also stopped at Wal-mart and they said they sometimes eat in the pharmacy for employee's birthdays. Is this all over the place or just our town? Aren't there some kind of regulations about food and dispensing medications? Has anyone else had a similar experience? Just when I think I'm dealing well with normal everyday risk, something like this happens and scares the heck out of me. Thanks for listening, I'll post an update when I talk to the district manager who is supposed to call me next week.

Posted on: Fri, 02/27/2004 - 1:49pm
momma2boys's picture
Joined: 03/14/2003 - 09:00

wendysco, I hate to tell you but I think its everywhere. Not even limited to pharmacies. Most offices, dr. offices, hospitals, people eat. They are busy and dont have time to take breaks so they eat. I worked in a pharmacy, and a pharmacist has to be there at all times. Most nights there was only one on duty. So they obviously couldnt go out and take a dinner break. So they ate behind the counter when they had the chance. And everybody munched. I myself did it. I know now it seems horrible, but I can honestly say it just never crosses your mind if you arent in the situation we are in now. I never had any ill intent or disregard for allergies. I have them myself. You just dont think about it. You're busy, no break , people bring in food, you eat.
A couple months ago my dh had knee surgery and while he was in recovery we were across from the nurses station. I looked over and one of the nurses opened a jar of peanut butter , grabbed a spoon and some crackers. She held that jar the whole time. Put some on a spoon, spread it on the cracker, ate it, licked the spoon, and started over. I was just cringing. But I know that she didnt even think about it being an issue.
This is just something that is going to happen, whether we like it or not.

Posted on: Fri, 02/27/2004 - 8:43pm
StaceyK's picture
Joined: 05/06/2003 - 09:00

I have never seen any of the people working in our pharmacy eating (and there are many people behind that counter - it's very busy - ) and I honestly have to say that I find it unsanitary. At the same time I know that no one thinks twice about nuts/peanuts unless they themselves are involved with the issues that we are. Still, if it were me I would NOT eat while on the job behind the counter especially working with medicines. I have to think it's not very professional. I don't blame the workers, but the store or company should make sure there is adequate time for people to eat.

Posted on: Sat, 02/28/2004 - 12:18am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Eating in a nurses station is disgusting. Those poor sick people having to smell food as well as being sick.
I think we have to think of so much more than ordinary people do, we have to watch out for so much more, and this makes us so sensitive to bad habits of others.
They are rarely going to understand. The nurse probably misses lunch more than she'd like and during flu season the pharmacists are swamped and also miss meals.
Still not a good enough excuse for threatening my chid's life. But what we do about it? I cannot imagine.
Complain case by case, make the point, use the word fatal, but in this world where people complain about peanut-free classrooms I doubt much will be done.

Posted on: Sat, 02/28/2004 - 12:20am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I have seen it often at pharmacies. I have mentioned it myself but think that it doesn't do much good at the local level. Maybe we need to start at the corporate level. Maybe this would be a good news story suggestion.
A very good friend of mine is a pharmacist and I mentioned this to her. She had never even thought of it as a problem. She understood the severity and planned to mention it to other pharmacists. This seems like a good, "Take Action" topic. What do you all think?

Posted on: Sat, 02/28/2004 - 3:41am
punkinsmom's picture
Joined: 12/07/2000 - 09:00

My brother used to be a pharmacist and he often ate while working. It happens more often when there is only one pharmacist at a time working. They often eat while they are working their shift because they need to be available to answer questions from patients. At a larger pharmacy with more than one pharmacist available, they are more likely to take their breaks away from the pharmacy.

Posted on: Sat, 02/28/2004 - 5:32am
cathlina's picture
Joined: 06/29/2001 - 09:00

It is a violation of state pharmacy rules to compromise or contaminate a pharmacy area.
(There may be no specific rule about food in your state rules but all states will have a rule about not compromising the pharmacy area with contaminants.)
I noticed this in a Wal-Mart pharmacy and called the state pharmacy regulators and was told to file a complaint.
Instead, I called the district manager for Wal-Mart and was told it was a corporate policy that pharmacists not eat in the dispensing area. They also must wash their hands before returning to the pharmacy.
So, if this happened at a chain...I would scream all the way up the corporate ladder.

Posted on: Sat, 02/28/2004 - 11:03am
wendysco's picture
Joined: 05/03/2003 - 09:00

Well, it's very discouraging. There were at least FIVE people in the pharmacy that afternoon, I think they could have eeked out a break. I work in healthcare so I know what it's like to not be able to have a break, however it is not really an excuse because it is against NYS labor laws isn't it? I just think there must be regulations about not eating around medications, I hope to find this is the case, if I can get a clear back up on state regulations I may call our local news stations that do those public interest stories. If nothing else it is one more caution I never thought I'd have to add to my list.

Posted on: Wed, 03/03/2004 - 5:58am
wendysco's picture
Joined: 05/03/2003 - 09:00

Well, I believe I got satisfactory results with our local Eckerd's, the manager that handled my complaint carries an epi-pen himself and the district manager says their store has a no food policy that they will inservice their staff on.
I am now working on our local Wal-mart. In addition I sent out our story through a local allergy support group, so at least some more people are forewarned/forearmed. It was suggested to contact FAAN so I have done that also. I will post more info as I get it.

Posted on: Thu, 03/04/2004 - 1:04am
domesticgodess's picture
Joined: 08/26/2003 - 09:00

Everytime we go to our allergy specialist this kind of stuff is happeng! I am shocked everytime by it too! You would think that there would be no food allowed in waiting rooms in doctor's offices! In my family doctor's office there are sighns that say no food allowed inside but not in the allergists!!
Yes, everytime it is something with nuts too! Even if it weren't there are kids with other allergies to other foods!
This food is being consumed by these kids parents!
As for eating in public you can't control that but, it is a different thing when it's the employees. It's disgusting even if he was eating something "safe" you didn't mention his washing his hands! Yick!

Posted on: Thu, 03/04/2004 - 4:12am
Batman's picture
Joined: 08/11/2000 - 09:00

The same thing happened to me at Shoppers Drug Mart when I went to pick up my son's epi-pens. There were 2 girls filling prescriptions and they were eating some sort of trail mix and I could feel my face turn red. I asked to speak with the pharmacist and explained the situation (you figure someone who has gone through schooling understanding the importance of proper prescription filling would also understand CROSS CONTAMINATION). She said she would handle it.
I have not been back since and I have no idea if it was rectified.


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