I've never addressed this topic, which seems to be running rampant across blogs over the last few months. I didn't really know what to say about it. However, I'm going to try to put something into words, and I must warn you, it probably won't go over very well.
I respect all the pharmacists, technicians, and students that are taking part in this new Alliance. I admit that their intentions are quite noble, and if they succeed in reinstilling dignity, self-respect, and integrity into the profession of pharmacy, it will be better for all of us.
I'm not a member, and here's why: Honestly, I can't see how this is even going to come remotely close to making any kind of difference. What has any pharmacy group really accomplished over the last few decades? We have APhA, ASCP, ASHP, etc. What do these groups really do besides meet maybe once a month and eat dinner (which is usually sponsored by some drug company, which seems hypocritical to me)? I guess they put on their fair share of CE's for pharmacists, which is always good. However, and maybe I'm too young to have an appreciation of this, how have they advanced the profession? Oh wait... that's right. Pharmacists can now give flu shots. Hooray!!! That puts us on the same level as medical assistants! Score one for the home team.
It's my personal belief that the profession will be changed by a few highly motivated pharmacists who will go out and fight to start up a clinical pharmacy program, an anticoagulation clinic, a diabetes or asthma education program, or an extensive community pharmacy based medication therapy management program. Pharmacy groups will not be the ones that enact change because, quite simply, they have no way of affecting the people and companies that are running our profession.
Do you think Walgreens gives a shit about The Pharmacy Alliance (or any pharmacy group for that matter)? How about CVS or Rite Aid? They don't care. They don't have to. Why would they listen to any of our demands? How would we make them listen? Strike? There's no pharmacists' union, so that's kind of an impossibility. Besides, it's unethical for pharmacists to go on strike.
Personally, I like my job. I'm fine with just about every part of it. Perhaps it's because I don't work for Walgreens or CVS. I think my company treats me fairly well. I know I'm paid pretty well, and while I get angry or frustrated with some customers, for the most part, dealing with the public is enjoyable. I often complain about my job, well... because everyone complains about their job. When it comes down to it though, there are probably only a couple minor things I would change (a lunch break would be really nice, and some retail pharmacists actually do get one).
I can't speak for other parts of the country, but in my area, there are plenty of other pharmacies to work for besides Walgreens, CVS, or Rite Aid. Any pharmacist looking for a job has heard the horror stories of working at these places. Therefore, if they still decide to take a job with one of these companies, who can they really blame if they're miserable? Furthermore, what's stopping them from trying another retail company? And if they've tried a ton of retail companies, and they can't find a single one that provides a positive working experience, maybe they just have to face the facts that they don't really like retail pharmacy and are better suited for something else.
In any case... I wish The Pharmacy Alliance luck, and I truly hope they can succeed in getting us extra pharmacist help, lunch breaks, and some more respect from our store managers. I'm rooting for them. I just won't be fighting along side them.