Pharmacy Heroes or Back-Stabbing Opportunists

Jp Enlarged

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.  

 

 

 

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Pharmaciststeve  •  Sep 5, 2013 @6:55 pm

    Apple was also the person that was pushing a “professional fee” .. as opposed to a per-cent mark up.. at the same time that “drug cards” were coming on to the scene..

    IMO …That “professional fee” has turned into a “professional insult” when we fill and get paid for filling a prescription…

    So in my record book… Apple completely struck out…

    Yes the APHA today.. is a -IMO – organizational disaster .. and is more focused on self preservation … I joined APHA about 20 yrs ago and even went to one of their annual conventions after joining … and WAS NOT IMPRESSED and let my membership lapse.

    I believe that belonging to a professional organization is important.. but the organization has to have the profession and the pharmacist interest at heart…

    IMO.. APHA does not fit that criteria…

  2. Peon  •  Sep 5, 2013 @10:44 pm

    The organization that calls its self ‘The American Pharmacist Association’ is an insult to all of us. As Steve said, they are out for self preservation. I might say they are out for the money and are not interested in what happens in the real world of pharmacy. If anyone has not taken a look at their website lately, it might do well to look at it. It is totally about ‘education’. They should call themselves the ‘pharmacist educational association’. That would be a more apt title for them. The docs have a very strong organization(AMA). We have nothing. Can you imagine with so many pharmacists in this country that they have no strong organization? What in the world has happened to pharmacists? Why has it happened? Why are we in this condition? I think one reason is the APhA. They fooled a lot of pharmacists for a long time into thinking they were the strong organization dedicated to pharmacy. The only pharmacy organization left is ‘The Pharmacy Alliance’. If all those pharmacists out there dropped their APhA membership and joined TPA, then TPA would be a strong pharmacy organization dedicated to real pharmacists in the real world of pharmacy.

  3. Pharmaciststeve  •  Sep 5, 2013 @11:09 pm

    One of the reasons that the AMA is so strong is because they own the rights to ICD9 coding and the royalties that comes along with that. Without that “cash cow” they might not be so powerful…

  4. Anon  •  Sep 6, 2013 @10:19 pm

    Durham-Humphrey started this big ball rolling. -Past Big Pharma, past the chains, -We are still here. We pharmacists, who have been we’re told we’re too old.

    A guild-where?
    We’ve already paid our dues. I was let go because I worked off the clock. I stole from my company. We have to work to satisfy our metrics. However unreasonable they are.
    APHA is not my concern.

  5. Peon  •  Sep 7, 2013 @12:00 am

    JP, if it will help your feelings, I can tell you that I never liked Humphrey either. And, I certainly never liked Lyndon Johnson. I always thought that Johnson should have been lined up before a firing squad and shot for his sending so many young Americans to their death in the killing fields of South Vietnam. I did not know Humphrey was a pharmacist, until you mentioned it. He sure screwed pharmacy. Durham was a pharmacist too. So, pharmacists are the ones that took away our independence, and we are now pawns of the insurance companies and the chains.

  6. MAP  •  Sep 7, 2013 @2:48 pm

    Dropped my membership to APhA and my own state’s organization a long time ago — and all my past dues were wasted money.
    .
    Hey, Marie. welcome back. You must be content and satisfied since we have not had the benefit of your relentless
    mission to bring CVS to its knees. I heard something about your present situation. LinkedIn? You know, my dear, that we all
    can benefit from getting our blood hot and flowing. You have a unique background and knowledge bank. There are pharmacists putting up with stuff that you would have creamed a company for, in your previous life. Come back for the occasional guerrilla foray. We need you.

    Here is a picture I found on Bing Images when I entered your name.

    http://robledo.fromthefog.com/upstanders/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/related10.jpg

  7. Broncofan7  •  Sep 8, 2013 @5:44 pm

    As always Mr. Plagakis I thank you for your historical perspective and great insight. Our professions #1 enemy is the PBMs who define our profitability by setting the prices that we can charge for 90% of our patients. The corporate chain bean counters are a close second but without the PBMS DIRECTING patients to mandatory mail order or CVS only for retail maintenance fills, we as a profession would have more autonomy.

  8. Broncofan7  •  Sep 8, 2013 @5:46 pm

    As always Mr. Plagakis I thank you for your historical perspective and great insight. Our professions #1 enemy is the PBMs who define our profitability by setting the prices that we can charge for 90% of our patients. The corporate chain bean counters are a close second but without the PBMS DIRECTING patients to mandatory mail order or CVS only for retail maintenance fills for example, we as a profession would have more autonomy in being able to be self sustaining professionals through ownership and not simply a fireable employee…

  9. Pharmacist Bob  •  Sep 9, 2013 @12:16 am

    I agree Broncofan, one way to win this battle, but must attack every way we can to take back our profession

  10. goose  •  Sep 9, 2013 @10:57 pm

    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. Iy 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.

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