Staff have said that CVS has outright ignored illnesses and exposure incidents.
Irene Jiang/Business Insider
A leaked CVS email told staff to not inform patients that their prescriptions were filled by someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
The Georgia CVS technician who shared the email with Business Insider said the company threatened to discipline or fire staff if they told customers about confirmed COVID-19 cases.
At least 14 CVS employees across the US have told Business Insider that CVS has a pattern of bullying staff and flagrantly disregarding the safety of customers.
CVS spokesperson Michael DeAngelis told Business Insider, “It is not our policy to prohibit our pharmacies from informing patients if their prescription was filled when an employee who tested positive for COVID-19 worked in the pharmacy.”
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A leaked email reveals that CVS Health instructed employees not to tell patients that their medications had been filled by someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
A Georgia CVS technician shared the internal email with Business Insider that asked employees to track down which prescriptions were filled by a COVID-positive employee and to pull them from the shelves. However, the email also emphasized that if a patient had already picked up one of those prescriptions, the standard policy is to “NOT make an outreach call.”
When asked if the instructions given in the email were in line with CVS’s official policies, CVS spokesperson Michael DeAngelis told Business Insider, “It is not our policy to prohibit our pharmacies from informing patients if their prescription was filled when an employee who tested positive for COVID-19 worked in the pharmacy.”
The technician said staff were threatened with disciplinary action or termination if they told customers that someone in the store had tested positive for COVID-19.
“We were told not to contact anyone or let anyone know,” the technician told Business Insider.
At least 14 CVS employees across the country have reached out to Business Insider saying that CVS has a pattern of “bullying” staff as well as flagrantly disregarding the safety of both staff and customers. Business Insider granted anonymity to all sources for job security reasons, and has privately confirmed their identities.
Staff have said that CVS has ignored incidents of potential coronavirus exposure and forced employees to work while sick. DeAngelis confirmed to Business Insider last week that it is CVS’s policy to allow employees to work after exposure to someone who tested positive.
DeAngelis said CVS allows asymptomatic employees to work if they wear surgical masks, self-monitor for symptoms, and if their temperature is taken before and after every shift for 14 days after exposure.
Workers are also allowed to request time off to quarantine if exposed, DeAngelis added. But after the Georgia technician’s coworker showed symptoms and tested positive, staff who’d worked in close proximity with the coworker were instructed to not get tested “because they couldn’t have anyone else out of work,” the technician said.
Gag rules where employers prohibit workers from speaking out about COVID-19 cases are becoming common, Bloomberg reported. Workers often live in fear of being punished or fired for informing customers of a COVID-19 case at their place of work.
“In many places, workplace exposures are driving the pandemic,” David Michaels, an epidemiologist and professor at George Washington University, told Bloomberg.
CVS later clarified to Business Insider that its policy is to “allow” employees who are exposed to a COVID-positive individual to work, but that employees that have tested positive for COVID-19 and are asymptomatic are put on paid leave for at least 10 days. The article has been updated to reflect this clarification.
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