May 20 2013
Ignorance is Bliss. Or… is it just Ignorance. The modern pharmacy schools are robo-dispenser Mills that put out the metrics-minding, speed-burner 14 hour shift factory piece-work dispensers that believe that what they do is practicing pharmacy. Goose and Peon and Steve and Pharmacy Gal have had their feet in this mud puddle for a long time and they know what it is to be a “Druggist”.
There was a time when “Druggist” was a derisive label. It was not as professional as pharmacist. It painted a picture of a balding guy wearing a bow-tie who always had time for the patients. Before Durham-Humphrey, a Druggist was an alternative to the Doctor. After the early 1950s, people still came to the drug store expecting the druggist to help them. We did too. The OTC shelves were choking with really good drugs. Merrill made an OTC antacid with 5 mg of dicyclomine per 15 ml. Diarrhea was a significant problem back then. We bought Lomotil by the thousands. A patient could bypass the doctor and get paregoric in 60 ml bottles from the Druggist. Sign the “Exempt Narcotic” register and wait the prescribed length of time before coming back. Cough-Cheracol, ETH & Codeine and Robitussin AC.
It was a different world. I liked it a lot. It was fun and I perceived that I was making a difference. At Wentlings, there was a lunch counter. We gave prescription patients a coupon for a cup of coffee while they waited. And, they had to wait. I’d estimate that 30% of all prescriptions were compounded. I’d often go over to the counter and have a cup of Joe with them before or after I completed their order. As I said, a different world, one that was fun.
The other evening I was remembering Charles Larwood. He was the Dean of The College of Pharmacy. He was also a Pharmacognocist. What the?? That is what some of you newbies just asked. Pharmacognosy. That probably is not offered at 95% of the schools. I would bet that the dean of Touro University, one of what I have termed the boutique pharmacy schools, does not even know what pharmacognosy is. No shit, I am serious.
Anyway, I was imagining having a Friday night vodka martini with Dean Larwood. I took a sip, too much vermouth and only one olive. My ideal martini has a drop or two of dry vermouth and three olives. I explained the 14 hour work day to the dean. He tapped the table with his right forefinger. His eyes widened and he pursed his lips tightly. “You can’t go to the bathroom?” After 5 minutes, he raised his right hand, palm toward me, the universal signal to stop.
“It shouldn’t be this way,” he says.
“The pharmacy schools are the pimps for the drug store companies,” I said. ”They are gluttons for the donations.”
“It shouldn’t be this way,” the dean repeated.
I do not see how we can fix it. Guys like me, Peon and Steve are done other than the shouting. Shouting is all we can do. Goose will be around for awhile as will be Pharmacy Gal. Most of the new kids do not know anything. I visited Toledo for homecoming 10 years ago. My room-mate “The Fabes” shared this experience. A little girl (about 5 feet tall), but a budding rock star, gave us a tour. She took us to a lab and proudly showed us what they did. Suppositories, creams, emulsions, suspensions, etc. ”Official” products. For you who did not get or will not get a real pharmacist education: ”Official” are those found in the U.S.P. and N.F. That’s MY school and I was proud. 50 years later and the kids are getting what I got.
Is pharmacist education producing two levels of practitioner? Pharmacists and Robo-Dispensers?
The quintessential pharmacist’s art is compounding and these new schools do not even teach it. No one other than the pharmacist can legally compound and they don’t teach it. Give me a break. Compounding is ours. We need to covet it and charge plenty for it. New pharmacists do not know how to do it.
They have not been taught the art of being a “Druggist”. If they lose this, they are losing it all. Pharmacies become dispensaries. I have no problem with dispensaries like CVS or like the mail orders run, by the way. Just do not call them pharmacies.
I spent lots of time with a brand new pharmacist before I left Galveston. She knows what a Druggist is now. She knows that Druggists are the elite pharmacists. It is more so a ground of being. We spent a decent amount of time compounding. She knows that using an over-sized bottle and making a “Shake” lotion is much simpler than using a mortar and pestle. You also get a more elegant product.
I did my part, you guys. Just one 20 something girl who now thinks and acts like a “Druggist”. What about you? Fuck this preceptor shit. Be a mentor.
Goose was fortunate to be “taught” by Varro Tyler at Purdue. I really love and depend on “Tyler’s Honest Herbal”. Varro cut the crap. He gets right to the gold. Most monographs are less than two pages. The “Summary Chart” at the end of the book is priceless. Each Herb (In alphabetical order) has six points. Common name, Source name, Part Used, Principal Uses, Apparent Efficacy, Probable Safety. “Honest Herbal” is a terrific resource for any Druggist.