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041311 PharmacyRules
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Wyoming Retail Association Objects to proposed pharmacy rules

The WRA not only watches the legislature and congress on behalf of retailers in Wyoming. WRA represents your views on Rules and Regulations proposed by state agencies. Agencies are given the authority to make these rules and regulations by law although they must hold a hearing if requested and justify the rules in writing if written or oral objections are made to their proposals.

In this case, the Wyoming Board of Pharmacy has proposed major changes to workplace rules. In a set of rules that are several chapters long, the BOP has primarily made very progressive changes, such as allowing electronic proscribing.

But in the case of workplace rules, the Board is proposing to limit the work day for pharmacists and would mandate 15 minute breaks and 30 minute meal/rest breaks for every 6 hour shift. In addition, the proposal requires that the time of the meal and rests breaks be posted for the customer. Under certain conditions, the pharmacy area would have to completely shut down during this time.

While the rule is well-intentioned to help relieve pharmacists, who are in short supply, the negative impacts far outweigh the positive.

First, in states that have attempted mandated breaks, customer service has suffered. In Nevada, where the rule was adopted, consumers sometimes travel some distance for prescriptions. These patients have expressed significant displeasure when they have to wait for much more than 30 minutes for a prescription they bring in.

Second, in no other area of federal or Wyoming Labor law are there requirements mandating breaks or restrictions on work times. Hospitals, physicians and other health care professionals are not required to follow times to stop and start work or take breaks.

Third, a review of the minutes for the last year does not reflect any study or systematic research into the impact of work place hours by the board. There have been miscellaneous complaints, but a groundswell of complaints and evidence of subsequent errors is not reflected in the minutes. This is another reason to not implement this proposal.

In addition, studies have not shown any decrease in errors or improvement in performance when breaks and meals are mandated at certain times. In fact, disrupting a person’s work in the middle of a task has been shown to be disruptive and counterproductive.

Several members who own multiple properties reported that in those stores with more than one pharmacist, the pharmacist can leave the area and take a break. But in stores with only one pharmacist, if a prescription is phoned in or someone walks up and needs counseling, that pharmacist does have to interrupt a break. It is uncertain what the alternative to this routine can be in a rural state like Wyoming.

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Wyoming Retail Association (WRA)
P.O. Box 1003, Cheyenne, WY 82003  Phone: (307) 634-8816, Fax (307) 632-0249