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    10 shocking things I've learned as a pharmacist

    I assumed that pharmacy school would largely reflect the real world. How wrong I was! The culture shock between pharmacy school and the real world is mind-boggling.

    Dennis Miller, RPhStudents graduate with egos that professors have built to stratospheric levels and with a belief that they are God’s gift to our healthcare system. Then, in the real world, they are immediately confronted with the realization that the only thing that matters is how fast they fill prescriptions.

    What about you? Did you graduate from pharmacy school with noble ideas about promoting health? Did you find yourself becoming more skeptical, the more you experienced the real world?

    Here’s my list of what shocked me the most. What would yours look like? (This is not a rhetorical question. Please write and tell me.)

    Pills rather than prevention

    1. I was shocked to see that our healthcare system prefers to throw pills at people with elevated blood pressure, elevated blood sugar (type 2 diabetes), elevated cholesterol, and other diseases of modern civilization rather than aggressively focus on a diet of whole, nonprocessed foods, lifestyle change, and weight loss.

    The Merck Manual (16th edition, p. 984) says that most cases of hypertension and type 2 diabetes are preventable: “Thus weight reduction will lower the BP [blood pressure] of most hypertensives, often to normal levels, and will allow 75% of type 2 diabetics to discontinue medication.” Ninety percent of diabetics have diagnoses that fall under the heading of type 2.

    Dennis Miller, RPh
    Dennis Miller is a retired chain-store pharmacist living in Delray Beach, Fla. He welcomes feedback at [email protected] His books ...

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    • Anonymous
      The December 15th commenter hit the nail on the head. The BOPs are unduly influenced by big business and the only benefit pharmacists have received from them is to keep their jobs (as bad as they are) from being outsourced or completed by a technician. I work in retail and can not see it getting any better and anticipate a complete new career field.
    • Anonymous
      The December 15th commenter hit the nail on the head. The BOPs are unduly influenced by big business and the only benefit pharmacists have received from them is to keep their jobs (as bad as they are) from being outsourced or completed by a technician. I work in retail and can not see it getting any better and anticipate a complete new career field.
    • Anonymous
      The December 15th commenter hit the nail on the head. The BOPs are unduly influenced by big business and the only benefit pharmacists have received from them is to keep their jobs (as bad as they are) from being outsourced or completed by a technician. I work in retail and can not see it getting any better and anticipate a complete new career field.
    • Anonymous
      Hi Dennis, There certainly are a lot of shocking things going on these days--and not just in Pharmacy! :-) In the Chain Stores, I learned about liability shifting--The Giant Corp can set me up for disaster at work by cutting my help, setting quotas, etc-- And yet if I make a mistake, it is MY license and MY personal liability. The Corp takes all the profit, and shifts me all the blame. I also learned that Giant Corps, Hospitals (and generally any employers of Pharmacists you can name) have found a perfectly legal way to discriminate against older people in hiring and salary. It's the Pharm D. Experience no longer matters. --It is a bitter experience to be asked to train a new Pharm D to do your job, and then be laid off while the new Pharm D gets your job, and at a higher salary than you. --It is especially bitter to do this more than once. --It is bitter icing on a bitter cake to find that you are no longer qualified, due to lack of Pharm D, to do pharmacy specialty jobs for which you have more than 10 years of experience. I think we have to realize that the future looks dim for pharmacy, especially retail pharmacy. As the salaries for techs and pharmacists asymptotically approach each other, there comes a point at which it just isn't worth trying to do the job any more. This leads me to a question for you, and possibly your readers: "What does one do next, after giving up on Pharmacy?" Just for fun, let's omit Retirement, Marrying-someone-who-makes-more-money, Breaking Bad, and Winning-Lottery-ticket from the responses. I have thought about getting into the marijuana trade, brewing beer or distilling liquor, and going into marketing herbal/naturopathic treatments (less regulation than pharmacy and no third parties--think about it!) among other things.... What say you?
    • [email protected]
      and to think Dave, these proton-pump inhibitors are OVER-THE -COUNTER. If anything they belong in a third class of drugs "Behind-The-Counter" like we already have with Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), Levonorgestrel (Plan-B), and my state of Pennsylvania syringes, Narcan and Evzio.
    • [email protected]
      and to think Dave, these proton-pump inhibitors are OVER-THE -COUNTER. If anything they belong in a third class of drugs "Behind-The-Counter" like we already have with Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), Levonorgestrel (Plan-B), and my state of Pennsylvania syringes, Narcan and Evzio.
    • Anonymous
      this guy is negative about everything. it gets kinda old.