William S. Apple and a couple pharmacists
I have been thinking about writing an essay about Pharmacy Heroes. Of course, I had an angle because I know that there are plenty of Bums and not many heroes. I only could come up with one hero. A true Pharmacy hero. He was a single-minded pharmacy/pharmacist advocate. His agenda was to enhance our position in the medical system in the U.S.A., provide us opportunities to stake out a claim to our turf. Drugs is our turf and we have been consistently losing that turf to the AMA for 60 years. The AMA is a real political force compared to the effete APhA efforts. Recently, there have been NO efforts by the APhA. It looked as if we would get a Third Class of drugs. That is ‘Behind the ‘Counter”. Sold only under the supervision of a pharmacist. If you can’t see the economic and professional value of a BTC class you better go sell cars. Even people on the FDA’s panel were all for it and then the AMA came barging in. Notice that you knew nothing about this. What could have been the most important change in pharmacy laws and restrictions in decades and the APhA didn’t even tell you about it. And….. fight the AMA? A joke. Man, this pisses me off. That organization does not deserve to be called American Pharmacists Association. That name suggests that APhA actually will fight for Pharmacists. Get down in the trenches and get dirty for us. The AMA fights dirty. They bend public opinion. In the case of the BTC class what they have done is simply made sure that dangerous drugs can be sold at truck stops. How does that NOT make you refuse to write a check this year?
The Pharmacy Hero was William S. Apple. He was the Top Dog at APhA When the organization worked on our behalf and deserved the name. He pressed hard for a Third Class in the 1970s and got beat up by AMA. He did not quit. He actually proposed a Fourth Class. That would be a listing of Rx-Only drugs that could be refilled at the discretion of the pharmacist. What the? Is Plagakis smoking something? Apple lost again, but he never, ever forgot that APhA was an organization that had as a Mission: Promote Pharmacists and Pharmacy.
William S. Apple is my nomination for Pharmacy Hero.
The Pharmacy Bum has a bigger name. He actually practiced pharmacy for 6 years, helping to run his father’s pharmacy. Little did he know that a business like his father’s drug store would be damn near impossible today. He would most likely be offended if he was told that he was instrumental in seeing to it, but politics was his thing. He was a Senator from Minnesota and was Lyndon Johnson’s Vice President.
YES, Sloopy. This guy was the ‘Humphrey’ in the Durham-Humphrey Amendment. It didn’t take him long to get in bed with Pharma. What moral test, Senator? Oh, the one that turned the economics of our profession over to the Drug Companies? Did he even know what he was doing? Alas, probably not. Some slick Pharma lobbyist stroked his ego as the most prominent pharmacist out there and then suggested this new idea. Then the doctors’ lobby, the AMA, saw an opportunity to solidify the doctors’ spot at the top of the pyramid. Do you think they saw ahead that medical care was going to be DRUGS? Get medicines out of the hands of pharmacy. Put the pharmacist/druggist at the back of the bus. Make him a dispenser. Before Durham-Humphrey, druggists prescribed just about anything. The was no DEA or BNDD until the 1970s, but a Narcotic law controlled Demerol, Morphine and the like. Basically, it was a NO REFILL category.
Durham-Humphrey went into effect in 1952, twelve years before my first RPh license (Ohio). I was not there in the beginning. Frankly, there were not that many ready-to-use drugs in 1952. After 1952, there was incentive for Pharma to find knew molecules…. AND they did.
Why was Humphrey my BUM? Because he failed to ask the important questions: Actually, THE question: How will this affect pharmacy?
I do know that pharmacists, in general, welcomed these new restrictions. They felt that the professionalism of pharmacy was enhanced. In reality, the result was just the opposite.
A comment from The Goose. 9/10/13
When you are talking about PBMs and CVS you are talking about the same thing. They both want pharmacy as we know it to go away. If you want to talk traitors to the profession how about Larry Merlo and Greg Wasson, both pharmacists that lead companies that want to sell us all down the river.
Hell, my alma mater, Purdue University even honored Wasson as a Distinguished Alumus in Pharmacy in 2009. That’s one reason they will never get a dime from me again.
We have lost all control and the only thing these people (universities, employers, BOPs) understand is money. When you get a chance to hit them in the pocketbook,,,take it.
I work with and know a lot of Purdue alums. I tell them all the same thing. If you give money to a school of pharmacy, you are an idiot. It doesn’t save the average kid in school a dime, they blow it on other shit or sit on it.
Don’t wait on somebody to come along and save you, (like a union), save yourself. Listen to people who have been there. Come up with a plan. Get mean.
That’s what will save us.
All I have to add, Goose, is: Stay out of debt.