Wow. It's Like I'm A Lit Match And APhA Is A Gallon Of Gasoline.

It would seem I've touched a bit of a nerve with that printed APhA piece of mine. The e-mail has been pouring in, with exactly one message to date defending the organization too ineffective to get all the letters in its name capitalized. The pharmacy blogosphere is a-buzzin,' and the printed issue of the magazine isn't even out yet.

Note to APhA. Maybe next time you'll return my calls.

In the interest of striking while the iron is hot, I thought now might be a good time to dust off a golden oldie.  This post originally aired last January. Enjoy.

A Letter To John A. Gans, APhA Executive Vice President and CEO


I saw your commentary in the December, 2008 issue of Pharmacy Today this afternoon. What wonderful words:


If you’ve started your MTM offerings but are still in the fledgling stage, is now the time to ramp up, do some marketing of what you have, or add services you’ve been thinking about? I hope so. Every time we look at the impact of pharmacist services on a chronic condition, the results show dramatic improvements in clinical, economic, and humanistic outcomes. Whether it’s diabetes or depression, your counseling, education, and coaching of patients can help them live longer, better lives. What better gift can you offer your patients during this holiday season?

I couldn't agree more. How exciting it will be once I have an opportunity to apply my services to the chronic conditions that afflict so many of my people. Yes, what better gift could I give them? I do have one question for you though.

What planet do you live on? It may interest you to know that your words, written in who knows what corner of the universe, reached me here on Earth, the pretty little blue and white planet third farthest from our sun.

Actually it's probably no use to describe to you exactly where my planet is, as you are obviously somewhere very far away and very different. You see Mr. Gans, on Earth, most pharmacists work in places called "drugstores" or "retail pharmacies," and to the businesspeople who run the corporations that operate these "pharmacies" the concept of this "MTM" of which you speak is as alien as the neon fluorescent glow I imagine your beings as having as a result of the radically different respiratory processes that keep you alive in an environment so different than mine.

Do you have water in your world? Are you carbon based? So many questions rush into a persons head once they realize they are talking to an alien being.

On Earth Mr. Gans, the emphasis of the people who control the practice of pharmacy is simply to put as many pills as a prescription calls for in a bottle as quickly as possible, as many times a day as possible, while killing as few of our customers as possible, or at least deflecting their lawsuits. This means I am probably one of very few Earth-based pharmacists to have even seen your commentary. Most of my colleagues right now are simultaneously on hold, sending a fax, overriding a pointless DUR message, telling a customer where the cotton balls are while telling another for the love of God put that aspirin down because I just sold you a warfarin prescription. Many will do this for 12 hours non stop at a time. The only reason I saw your words was because I had a bowel movement which happily gave me the chance to sit down at work for a couple minutes. Somehow a copy of Pharmacy Today ended up next to the toilet seat.

Do you have spaceships that take advantage of Einstein's theory of relativity, the part that makes time travel possible? Do you fight Klingons?

All this effort, by the way, has recently been determined to be worth $4 for many prescriptions. Ask the people who control pharmacy on my planet what the biggest recent success in the profession has been, and they will tell you the ability to put pills in a bottle, as quickly as possible, while mostly not killing people, for $4. That is the definition of success in my pharmacy world.

What a wonderful place your planet must be. Even though I would surely die within seconds if I ever set foot on it due to lack of oxygen or a radically different atmospheric pressure, reading your words was like taking a soothing vacation to wherever this magical place you call home must be.

Perhaps someday here on Earth, we will have a leader in our profession who will be as effective at reshaping the practice of pharmacy as you have been on whatever planet you live. Perhaps we will have some sort of association that could lead us into this paradise of pharmaceutical practice. An American Pharmacists Association. That's what I'd call it if we had one. I'll bet if we had one of those that was worth more than a warm cup of spit we could actually have a little hope of making some constructive changes in our profession. The way you have on your planet.

Because Mr. Gans, if you lived on Earth and wrote those words and expected them to be taken seriously, I'd be laughing my ass off at you right now.
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Wow. It's Like I'm A Lit Match And APhA Is A Gallon Of Gasoline.
Wow. It's Like I'm A Lit Match And APhA Is A Gallon Of Gasoline.
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