How are Pharmacists Viewed over The Years? How do you fix it?

Jp Enlarged

This is the only good one. Larry David is the man.

Can we ever fix this?  Will we ever be seen as more than dispensers?  “Why so long when all you do is take the pills from a big bottle and put them in a small bottle?”  OR  “I’ve had them before.  You don’t need to label them.  Just sell them to me.”  I do believe that a Guild could go far in getting this fixed.   The APhA does do no shit.  The Pharmacy schools do not put steel in the spines of the children they are training.  How about a little arrogance.  Like our friend Mark in Bradenton, “I am the pharmacist, Ma’am.” A dark pause. “Your doctor is wrong.”

This young man irritates the shit out of me.  Did he think that it was supposed to be fun?  ”You are like 25 years old, Fuckhead.”  He probably thought that all he needed was a license and they would give him $120,000.00 a year for having fun.  This is a DISPENSING GAME right now, idiot.  It is anything but fun.  Couldn’t you see that?  You did not do your due diligence regarding a job that requires six years of your life and at least $120,000.00 in costs.  That is a state school and not books, expenses and room and board.  You go to TOURO, one of the new schools that requires that you have a Bachelor’s when entering.  Four more years.. $160,000.00 tuition.. Four years.  So, Fuckhead, FIX IT, asshole.  You are young.  Communicate with other young pharmacists.  Keep out of debt.  Take action.  But don’t whine to me or my friends Goose, Peon and Steve.  they will run you outta town and not be gentle with your precious ego.  I am sure that someone has told your mother that pharmacy is,.. well, not really a medical profession.


The famous scene from “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  This from a community theater production.

Here is a brief description of the pharmacist as he is introduced in Morley’s novel:

Mr. Weintraub entered the shop, a solid Teutonic person with discolored pouches under his eyes and a face that was a potent argument for prohibition.”Though he doesn’t come off with a comely appearance, at least this pharmacist seems committed to excellence within his profession. When asked about smoking, Weintraub responded

“Me? I never smoke. I must have steady nerves in my profession. Druggists  who smoke make up bad prescriptions.”

This brief poem mentions a pharmacist (the ‘chemist’), and alludes to the dangers and uncertainties involved in mixing chemicals, comparing the compounding art to marriage and its potentials for disaster. Edgar Lee Masters (1868-1950) was an American poet and biographer. Himself twice married, one has to wonder if the poem has a bit of a biographical element as well.

Here is the poem:

Only the druggist can tell, and not always the druggist,
What will result from compounding
Fluids or solids.
And who can tell
How men and women will interact
On each other, or what children will result?
There were Benjamin Pantier and his wife,
Good in themselves, but evil toward each other:
He oxygen, she hydrogen,
Their son, a devastating fire.
I Trainor, the druggist, a mixer of chemicals,
Killed while making an experiment,
Lived unwedded


Once again the pharmacist in this short-story by O. Henry (himself a pharmacist before turning author) comes off in a poor light. The clever tale begins, however, with a witty description of the pharmacist:

The druggist is a counselor, a confessor, an adviser, an able and willing missionary and mentor whose learning is respected, whose occult wisdom is venerated, and whose medicine is often poured, untasted, into the gutter.”

But as the story unfolds, Ikey (the pharmacist) is exposed as a jealous friend who seeks to undermine the efforts of his comrade to marry the girl of his dreams. He connives a devious and deadly plan to eliminate this competitor for the female he fancies. Ultimately, however, his efforts fail. Down go all of Ikey’s hopes for marrying his secret love, and down again goes the reputation of our humble profession as pharmacists.




  1. AJ  •  Jul 11, 2013 @5:31 pm

    It can’t be fixed because it’s not broken. Times have changed and our healthcare system has changed. A 1950′s pharmacy business model won’t work in 2013. If we pharmacists want to survive we need to figure out a way to change and stay relevent or go the way of the typewritter.

    I agree, AJ, but the tune they have been playing is no longer relevant and nobody has the guts to THINK.

  2. me-alone  •  Jul 12, 2013 @10:53 pm

    Yes- We have changed…..
    Times have changed.
    Our healthcare is definitely broken.
    I just know that today, I talked with a heroin addict, filled her suboxone- & hugged her. (Made $5 above cost)

    Filled 100 rx’s, and almost every one was filled by me -or with the help of my tech-Maria. Many Rx’s are filled for free- the patients get them for free & we fill them for free. It’s a very poor neighborhood. And deliver for free.
    Maybe made $800 gross profit.
    This has got to change. It seems we are turning into a slave/welfare state. Unions have been outdated. Govt has got to change.
    None of our kids will be pharmacists. They are going into other fields.
    I wish my paintings could bring in as much income as my pharmacist degree. I would quit today.
    As it stands I’m trying to buy and Independent.

    -trying to compete with the bid from BIG-RX.
    Why are they so willing to shut us down as competition?
    They are willing to pay much more than cost + good will to close us down.
    Now- try buying that drug store.

    You Have to Have a Lot of Money for them to loan you any money. End of story.
    Right now- only those who are already wealthy- can stand a chance of buying a business.
    We’ve been turned down by two local banks.
    Our option is to cash in our 401K, our savings, our stocks, and our home equity. Buy that business outright. But the best option is to personally finance it with the owner.

    Owner- Do you want that tax windfall? Why not spread it out, and also take advantage of the $20,000 gift tax every year. In a lump sum taxes will claim maybe 40%.

    But the owners don’t see it that way.
    I’e been telling everyone they need to take back pharmacy by owning their own drugstore.
    But now I’m not sure that is even a possibility.

    We have $300+k in retirement. $25k in college accts. $100k in real-estate (free and clear). $25 in our checking acct. AND WE STILL CAN’T GET A $400,000 LOAN to buy this fucking pharmacy that we both work at.

    If we can’t buy this we’ll both be out of a job with 3 kids in college.

    We’re applying with Live Oak. If we can’t make it no one will.


  3. Peter  •  Jul 15, 2013 @6:55 pm

    Oh my God! I couldn’t get half way through that idiotic video. He doesn’t like his CHOSEN (no one forced him into it) profession but he can’t see himself doing anything else. Basically, he’s TOO LAZY to change. His excuse for not opening his own pharmacy is that you need a niche because community pharmacy is dying? True margins in independent, non-niche community pharmacy are still much better than any other small business and the failure rates are low. Niche’s are where most businesses start out and develop success. Find an unmet need (niche) and fulfill that service/product need. In today’s world, running a competent, clean, polite, efficient, professional pharmacy with well-trained staff and clinically competent pharmacists IS a niche. Open up in Florida or Arizona, New Mexico. Somewhere hot where rich, elderly retirees want high level service and at least 30% have the means to pay for it (if for some reason Medicare Part D is out for them). Provide additional service (INR management, diabetes consultation, etc) to generate revenues, build a patient base and differentiate yourself. This is not rocket science. It’s called “Going to Work”. Honestly, if I had enough free cash flow, I’d open 3 more pharmacies right now in my little town of Windsor. All focused on that 30% of the population that wants/needs higher level services and who are willing to pay for it. They’re out there. You just have to find them.

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