I had a disturbing encounter at my local Von's Pharmacy in San Diego. I thought it was important that those of us with gluten issues and anyone with allergies be aware of yet another source of contamination.
I do not get sick very often and therefore do not take medicine very often. Our dog needed some medication that needed to be ordered. The vet said instead of driving back to her office she could call it in to our pharmacy which was closer.
I went to pick up the medication. At the counter I was told it was not ready but would only take a minute.
Right behind the glass at the front counter right on top of the pill counter and bottles of medicine the Pharmacist was eating lunch. An open bottle of soda, bag of chips, bottle of ketchup and a sandwich. He put the sandwich down and backhanded the food to give him some room. Picked up a large bottle and dumped it into the pill counter and then started counting pills.
I questioned him. Told him I have celiac. I asked if this is common practice. Do they not have a break room. Do they have hand washing protocols.
His response was non-apologetic. He said he saw it was for a dog and dogs eat anything. He said he knew because he had a dog. He said he was helping me by filling it quickly otherwise I would have to wait 15 minutes.
Ironically, my kid was recently sick. My wife went to pick up the prescription and it took a long time. She said the pharmacist was there but couldn't mix the prescription because he was allergic to the particular drug and didn't want to touch it so she had to wait for the other pharmacist to get back from break. Turns our ti was the same guy. How ironic.
What I recommend is be very cautious when picking up medications. Even after we check to see a particular drug is GF from the manufacturer the pharmacy can still contaminate it. I think in the future I'll see how many pills come in a bottle sealed from the manufacturer and request a full bottle, even if I have to pay more.
As far as the Von's Pharmacy is concerned I'll have to see what their policy is. I would hope a pharmacy has some policy about breaks, where their employees can eat and hand washing protocols. I would be blown away if it is standard practice to eat at the work stations where prescriptions are filled.
A very concerned,