In the good old days, most pharmacies in the US were family-owned operations. But in the 1980s, the chain pharmacies began taking over the market in a ruthless competition with one another & most family-owned pharmacies folded. Under the old tenure, pharmacists were professionals & because they’re more schooled in drugs than doctors you could consult with them. If your prescription was giving you problems, you could discuss with the pharmacist & he (in those days, the woman pharmacist was a rarity) might suggest the dosage was too high or question the prescription & suggest you get a second opinion. They conducted themselves as professional pharmacologists. Now, with the chain drugstores, they have been reduced to pill bottlers & retail clerks. Nothing wrong with being a clerk but it’s a waste of resources when you’re trained in pharmacology. Now, if you ask a pharmacist about your prescription or for suggestions, they freeze & suggest you read the insert that comes with the pills.

In an attempt to find a remedy for the allergy I contacted from the mold in my house, I went from one pharmacist to another since the doctor has prescribed three that haven’t worked. They all dummied up. Undaunted, I kept asking & finally found a young guy at a chain store who laid out some options for me. In our discussion, he told me that it isn’t the chains changing & demeaning the pharmacy profession but that state laws are becoming more restrictive & muzzle their professionalism. It appears something similar is going on with doctors in the HMO system where their medical practice is controlled by management & less guided by patient care. What’s going on here? Any insights?