Pharmacists won’t have to worry about satisfying dangerous performance quotas based on profit rather than health outcomes, according to legislation by Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) that Governor Newsom signed into law today.
Under the provisions of SB 362, pharmacies in California no longer will be permitted to impose such quotas on licensed pharmacists who fill prescriptions or provide other services. Instead, pharmacists will retain sole discretion to determine the appropriate amount of time required to fill each prescription and provide conscientious care to their patients.
Pharmacists dispense nearly 70 percent of all prescriptions. Despite that intense workload, pharmacists typically also labor under aggressive sales quotas – such as trying to enroll 40 percent of patients into automatic refill programs or having to fill a predetermined number of prescriptions per hour. The pressures caused by these quotas, which are unrelated to conscientious care, may affect the professional and clinical judgment of pharmacists adversely, thereby placing the public’s health at risk.
“The practice of enforcing pharmacy performance quotas poses a genuine risk to public health,” said Senator Newman. “In a public health emergency, such as the one we are facing, we depend upon pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to perform vital additional public health duties, like administering COVID-19 vaccines. Burdening pharmacists with corporate sales quotas must end so they may focus on public health rather than corporate profit.”
Documents and data obtained by researchers, investigative reporters and public prosecutors have established that large, corporate-owned pharmacy chains often impose performance quotas on pharmacists and pharmacy technicians that may endanger the health and well-being of patients. These quotas, according to pharmacists and fellow employees, create high-stress work environments that may lead to dangerous dispensing errors.
“Pharmacists, like physicians, must be free to do their work consistent with their training and in accordance with the ethical dictates of their profession,” Newman said. “With the passage of SB 362, we will enable California’s pharmacists to honor their oaths and make clinical decisions based on patient care rather than corporate profit goals.”
“California’s UFCW member pharmacists applaud the Governor for signing SB 362 into law, ensuring that pharmacists, and all pharmacy staff, are not subject to corporate-imposed quotas that divert our attention away from our number one priority: to keep our patients safe,” said Todd Walters, President, UFCW Local 135. “Now when I go into work I know that I can put my patients first and not worry about losing my job if I don’t meet an arbitrary quota only designed to drive profits. UFCW was proud to sponsor this bill and especially thanks Senator Josh Newman for authoring this life-saving public health legislation.”
“Pharmacists, like other members of the healthcare team, must be allowed to provide care in a manner which is consistent with their education and training,” said Susan Bonilla, CEO of the California Pharmacists Association.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council and the California Pharmacists Association are cosponsors of SB 362.