As you might imagine, this approach to providing pharmacy services potentially compromises patient privacy and increases the chances of errors in filling prescriptions. Phil Wickizer, who Gov. Daniels had appointed as executive director of the pharmacy board's staff, exchanged numerous e-mails with Cover discussing the "Well Experience" program and arranging trips for the pharmacy board members to make to a site in Illinois to meet with Walgreen's officials and see the new design. The e-mails were obtained by a watchdog group, Change to Win, through numerous public records requests. In a highly unethical move, Wickizer wrote in one e-mail to the Indiana Professional License Agency: “Walgreens wants to partner with the Board and get your buy-in before making such a commitment. He said the company wanted to keep the plans confidential. I told them this would not be an issue.”
When the professional license agency raised concerns with Wickizer that the meeting with Walgreen's officials by board members would violate Indiana's Open Door Law, Wickizer wrote to Walgreen's officials that it would be necessary to break the meeting up into two separate trips to prevent a quorum of the board members from being present at the same time. Cover at one point inquired of Wickizer whether the other board members reacted favorably to the plan. After Wickizer responded that at least three of the six other board members had responded affirmatively, Cover wrote back: “Thanks for all your hard work on this project. It is certainly appreciated.”
When the board met on July 11, 2011 to consider Walgreen's proposal, it voted 6-0 to support it. Cover abstained from the vote after engineering its approval behind the scenes with Wickizer's assistance. Neither Wickizer, who is an attorney, nor other members of his staff bothered to research Indiana law to determine if what Walgreen's proposed doing complied with state laws and regulations in their rush to get approval of the plan. It didn't. Two years after Walgreen's plan was approved, the pharmacy board adopted new regulations to permit the type of remote supervision authorized by the board's action two years earlier. Watchdog groups claim that the plan clearly violates patient's privacy rights.
Change to Win said it has made more than 100 visits to Well Experience stores and has found widespread risks to patient privacy and public health. Pharmacists often leave their desks in a public area of the store to talk to patients in consulting rooms or to unlock a cabinet in the dispensing area.
When the pharmacist leaves, the public can look at the computer screens or at labeled bottles of medicine on their desk, the organization said. About 80 percent of the stores visited violated privacy laws in this way, the group alleged.A year after the pharmacy board approved Walgreen's "Well Experience" program, Wickizer landed a job as a senior counsel at St. Louis-based Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefit manager giant. This is the same company that has partnered with Walgreen's to form an alliance to compete against Walgreen's chief competitor, CVS, and its CVS Caremark, a mail-order pharmacy business. Under their alliance, Walgreen's customers have the choice of filling their prescriptions for 90 days at one of its pharmacies, or by receiving 90-day supplies of their drugs delivered to their home. Cover still sits on the pharmacy board, although he no longer serves as its chairman. I wonder what kind of a bonus he got from Walgreen's for pulling this fast move off? This pretty much seemed to be standard operating procedure in the Daniels' administration for appointees to blatantly use their positions in government for self-dealing purposes.