Friday, October 11, 2013

Go And Get Your Flu Shot, Yo!

Okay, okay.. one last post before I go.

Listen to the doctors who really care about your health. Go and get your flu shot, yo!

Monday, September 23, 2013

This Is How It Ends

I tried my best to keep pharmacists together, but it was over the day we passed 437 River Street.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Four Horsemen | The Age of Consequence

After the greatest financial heist in our history, the modern day 'Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse' continue to ride roughshod over the people whom can least afford it. They are -

One - a rapacious financial system.

Two - escalating organized violence.

Three - abject poverty for billions.

Four - exhaustion of the earth’s resources.

And they continue to gallop unchallenged because we're not questioning the accepted norms.

The documentary, Four Horsemen, is the debut feature from director Ross Ashcroft which reveals the fundamental flaws in the economic system which have brought our civilization to the brink of disaster. 23 leading thinkers – frustrated at the failure of their respective disciplines – break their silence to explain how the world really works. Find some time to watch this.

Here's the trailer. You can watch the entire documentary online at Renegade Economist.

Monday, September 9, 2013


A short film set in Dependence, CA, a place where people go to lose their baggage.

Source: David Altobelli

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Automated Coffee Machine

Technology and robotics. It's getting more sophisticated, not by the day, but by the hour.

I dropped in for a visit to Good Samaritan hospital pharmacy yesterday just to say hello, and got a glimpse of their new coffee machine in action. I'm guessing that management likely programmed it.

Source: Aries Head Films

Monday, September 2, 2013

Menstrual Man | From Rags to Riches

There are many men who squirm at the mention of a woman’s period. Then there’s Muruganantham, a school dropout who went so far as to analyze strangers’ used menstrual pads in his quest to produce low-cost sanitary napkins for his wife.

It wasn’t long before his community in India shunned him. Even his wife, the source of his inspiration, decided that he was a pervert and left him. But that was then.

Today, Muruganantham is hailed as a visionary around the world. Not only are his machines providing poor Indian women with access to basic feminine hygiene, but his insistence that they produce and sell their own pads is giving them a livelihood.

Menstrual Man” tells the inspiring story of an unlikely hero, a man who rose from below the poverty line to stand up for the ignored and forgotten. It underscores the role of social entrepreneurship in combating poverty, and the importance of economic empowerment of women to enable a better world.

Now that's what I call really filling a niche. Here's the trailer -

Source: Menstrual Man | A Documentary

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Absence | A Short Film

A middle manager at a shadowy corporation, Benjamin Moss is just following orders when he accepts an important mission to hunt down stolen documents.

When he arrives at a mysterious town where many of the inhabitants have vanished, he is forced to confront the devastating consequences of his work and must choose whether or not to continue to obey his messianic boss.

The Absence from Alex DeMille on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

P&T Committee Blues

I'm sure that all of you new pharmacy grads are coming to realize that the politics and the egocentric managers experienced at work could quickly become unbearable. If you're anything like me, you'll find that it's never the work, or the patients, that make your job almost unbearable, it's your co-workers.

The almost intolerable moments at work become even more pronounced at monthly P&T Committee meetings. If you've ever been a P&T Committee member, then you'll know what I mean. The meetings almost always get off tangent, and there's usually some douchebag with a boring story to tell in order to profess his level of importance to everyone, followed-up with some brown-noser sucking up to him.

But, don't just take my word for it. I just happened to find this old discarded video recording of the last P&T Committee meeting I attended at the hospital I worked at before I retired. As you can see, my deteriorating attitude (I'm Amok, the politically blue guy) at that time explains my decision that it was probably best to retire before I became psychopathically GOP-angry red.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Superhero Pharmacy Techs

I've parodied the superhero pharmacist more than a few times on The Cynical Pharmacist, but we all know that most retail pharmacies would cease to operate if it weren't for the often unappreciated hard work of superhero pharmacy technicians, the pharmacists' sidekicks.

So, although I've worked with more than a handful of sociopathic techs who hatefully went out of their way to make my job unnecessarily harder, or to intentionally do me harm for no rational reason at all, here's a satirical shout-out to those superhero pharmacy technicians who are also being replaced by technology, but make a career in pharmacy much more enjoyable for the overburdened pharmacist.

Although you may be often underpaid, and sometimes abused too, thank you for your support!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Godzilla Versus Mechagodzilla

You've got to hand it to the community sector pharmacists, especially independent pharmacists who are often considered the technological dinosaurs of the profession, for taking on the PBMs.

PBM industry leaders were smart to quickly to embrace the use of computerization, technology, and robotics in pharmacy twenty-years ago, and over time were able to eliminate many of the Luddite community pharmacists who couldn't envision where the profession of pharmacy was headed.

After proving to many naysayers that robotics could fill prescriptions faster and more accurately than any "mere human" pharmacist could, the up and coming PBMs were able to gain concessions from state BOPs, the drug wholesalers and manufacturers, and were eventually able to become a competitive force to be reckoned with; a force powerful enough to rattle even the chain drug industry.

But, the fight ain't over. Although the PBMs initially had them reeling on the ropes, the community pharmacy sector was able to survive the first few rounds, and changed their fight strategy.

In the past few years the remaining independents and the continually consolidating chain pharmacies realized that they could effectively battle against this technological force if they just banded together, consolidated their powers, and embraced technological advances themselves.

Now, it seems to me that community pharmacies have a good chance to mount a comeback and win this fight, or at least delay the outcome. Recent technological advances in retail sector robotics now allow the retail sector most of the same capabilities that PBMs can provide. It now becomes more of a battle of political capabilities.

So, it looks to me like surprised PBM leaders may have to devise a new strategy if they want to take home the belt. Godzilla is no journeyman dinosaur, he's got heart. Don't count him out just yet.

Monday, August 5, 2013

What Gives You Joy?

Can you remember back when you were a kid? For the first ten years of my life, I grew up really poor. But, I truly never thought of myself as being part of a poor family. I has no idea what that even meant. It wasn't even something that I thought about. Life was what it was and I found joy in the simple things that most of us often take for granted.

Without even thinking about it, I knew that I didn't need "stuff" to make me happy.

And I swear, just like this film, it wasn't toys that gave me and my siblings the most joy, it was those stupid boxes that the toys came in that created the most happiness for us. As long as we knew we were loved, expensive toys weren't that important. Simple boxes gave us all of the joy we needed.

The Adventures of a Cardboard Box from Studiocanoe on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Are You Ready For Parenthood?

Enjoying your weekend? Parenthood is often a blessing for those who've planned and prepared for it beforehand. But, I pity the fool who's spreading his seed around indiscriminately. Be smart, unless you're ready for the ball-busting difficulties of raising tireless kids beforehand, always wear a condom.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Superhero Pharmacist Depression

I'm telling you prospective pharmacy students, the profession of pharmacy is increasingly dynamic.

Pharmacists are also continuously losing their professional autonomy. You may begin your schooling with certain expectations about your career choice, but those expectations can change 180-degrees, even before your graduate. Those changes are also going to happen out of your control, and mainly under the direction of corporate demands.

Some pharmacists can't live happily working under those conditions.

So, if you decide to become a superhero pharmacist without researching whether you're well-suited for constant change, working in a restrictive corporate environment, sitting in a cubicle all day, or can't deal with further loss of autonomy, then your career choice may eventually affect your psyche.

But, don't just take my word for it. See for yourself -

Source: Andrew M Films | HT: Gizmodo: The Depressing Truth About Being a Superhero

They Used To Call Me The Breeze

Growing up in a family that moved from place to place about every year or two, I became used to not living in one spot for very long, and also became used to not establishing any long-term relationships nor any long-term commitments. Looking back upon it, I realize that growing up being exposed this type of parental lifestyle formed the foundation for my own adult life.

After becoming an adult myself, it was in 1976 when I left my family to begin my own itinerant life in this world. Except for the past decade or so, I've been on the move ever since.

I like change, I like new experiences, I like exploration, I like diversity, and - I don't carry me no load. Being on the move my entire life has had both it's advantages and disadvantages. But, such is life.

If you've been reading The Cynical Pharmacist for any length of time, then you'll understand that rock music has also played an important role in my life. I enjoy a lot of various music, but as most of the music videos that I've posted point out, I'm partial to the music of the 60s, 70s, and early 80s. It's the style of music that I grew up with and which played a formative role in my youth.

Having spent my teen life growing up in the South, I'm also partial to southern rock music, bands like ZZ Top, the Allman Brothers, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, and of course Lynyrd Skynyrd.

One of my favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd tunes is "Call Me The Breeze", not just because of it's fast-paced, kick-ass guitar jams, but because it describes my attitude about the continuous journeys in my life. It's the one song I play whenever it's time to move-on to a new adventure.

As such, I thought I would post this video in memoriam of the artist who wrote the song for Lynyrd Syknyrd - J.J. Cale, and who passed away on Friday. RIP J.J. Your great songs will live on forever.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sight | A Short Film

In the not-too-distant future, Google Glass will be considered the Pong of augmented reality.

Sight from Sight Systems on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Do You Want To Be A RoboPharmacist?

I think that I may have mentioned a while back that I went to pharmacy school mainly to please my ex-wife, who said that she wouldn't stay married to me if I didn't become a pharmacist. As Dr. Phil might say to me. "So, how's that working out for you?"

I know that times are tough, and that you're seeking the safety of a well-paying career. But before you apply to pharmacy school, makes sure that a pharmacist is truly someone you can envision being.

Do you really want to become part of a profession where conformity rules, where many of us can only survive if we "comply" with corporate demands, and are expected to "obey" without complaint? Can you envision becoming a robopharmacist, working for one of the PBMs or one of the chains? Can you do that for 25 years?

Be true to yourself, and don't do anything because someone else pressures you into it. Just imagine what your first job interview would be like after graduating and becoming licensed if you did.

[Damn! Perfect original video link removed by source]

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pharmacist Job Market Redux

Following up on my previous post about a tightening pharmacist job market, I think it's important to understand that while employment opportunities are currently available in the profession, there's still a risk that some of us superheroes may face the prospect of unemployment because we don't yet have Federal provider-status recognition protecting us when cost-containment issues involved with the ACA come into effect next year.

But, if we stick together, perhaps we can prevent those potential job losses.

For example, if you find yourself in a difficult position like Master of Degrees, who recently graduated, is at the mercy of repaying a six-figure student loan debt, and whose loan interest rate just doubled, then it may be time to call in Captain Generica for a some backup.

If that Plan A doesn't work, then consider enlisting the services of Plan B, an older and experienced pharmacist who'll show you how to kick 'em where it hurts. The more we help each other, the better.

So remember, while it's important to keep up a good attitude and incorporate a keen sense of humor about becoming unemployed, don't forget that there will be other superhero pharmacists willing to join the fight against being under the thumb of the Just Us League.

Teamwork is the key to victory. If they view pharmacists as a unified formidable force, they'll be less likely to battle against us. All we have to do is to be able to see the big picture, put aside our petty differences, join forces, and consolidate our powers together as one.

The Adventures of Unemployed Man from Unemployed Man on Vimeo.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Don't Become Damaged Goods

While sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) affect men and women of all backgrounds and economic levels, young people bear a disproportionate burden of STDs in Arizona. And according to the Arizona Department of Health 2011 Annual STD Report, reported chlamydia cases in Arizona have steadily increased from 2006 to 2011. This rise in chlamydia rates requires some intervention/education.

Similar to national trends, adolescents in Arizona, particularly young women, are disproportionately affected by chlamydia. Closer examination of chlamydia rates among young people ages 15 - 24 reveals extremely high values, nearly five times the rates for the state as a whole. In 2011, cases from this age group comprise 68% of all chlamydia cases in Arizona.

Because most people who become infected with chlamydia don’t realize they have it, and therefore don't seek treatment, it can cause significant health problems among women. For instance, untreated chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can become recurrent among young women and girls often leading to expensive health complications and/or infertility.

Sexually active women in their childbearing years are most at risk, and those under age 25 are more likely to develop PID than those older than 25. This is partly because the cervix of teenage girls and young women is not fully matured, increasing their susceptibility to the STDs that are linked to PID.

So as you can see, if you're going to have sex, especially with multiple partners, it's always in your own best interests to have safe sex. Use latex condoms each and every time you have sex, and get tested at least yearly. Because the last thing you want to be called is - damaged goods.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

GOP Ballroom Blitz About DOMA

You know, it's my belief that almost all politicians work on behalf of their corporate masters, and will selfishly sell out the rest of us average Americans simply to serve their own best interests.

But the GOP has really taken selling out a step further. How is it that the American people can't see how fanatically crazy these politicians have become?

If you ask me, they're some serious control freaks. It seems to me like they hate anyone who's not rich, white, male, overtly straight, and fanatically Christian, or even anyone else who disagrees with them. Where's all that hate coming from? And who in their right mind would support their efforts?

Nothing epitomizes it more than last week's Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. Republican lawmakers, officials, pundits, and even some religious leaders are going ape-shit now that Gay people can get married just like the rest of us. Although I'm against marriage in general, I don't understand them. Homosexual love doesn't negatively affect anyone else in any way.

You'd think that the GOP would be more upset with corporations being considered "people".

But, don't just take my word about how upset they are. Listen to this band erroneously hired by the GOP to play for John Boehner (the man in the back) and Sarah Palin (the girl in the corner) at their recent ballroom fund-raiser, describe the GOP's anger while at this function.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

How To Make Money Selling Drugs

Although this title sounds like it's a story about the profession of pharmacy, it's not. It's the title of a recent documentary about the War on Drugs in America.

A shockingly candid examination of how a street dealer can rise to the level of cartel lord with relative ease, this documentary is an insider's guide to the violent but extremely lucrative drug industry.

Told from the perspective of former drug dealers, and featuring interviews with rights advocates Russell Simmons, Susan Sarandon, and David Simon (creator of "The Wire"), the film gives you the lessons you need to start your own drug empire while exposing the corruption behind the "war on drugs."

For example - "I don't know at what point exactly it started to be a problem. I just remember liking it more and more," rapper Eminem says of his addiction to prescription medications in a short clip from the documentary, How to Make Money Selling Drugs.

Read more at: Rolling Stone

Thursday, June 20, 2013

This Much Is True

You know, I often find it hard to write the next line in my blog. I've said pretty much all I have to say about the profession of pharmacy without repeating myself.

But, I think sometimes people misunderstand me. So, let me attempt to set the record straight.

I want the truth to be said.

Numero Uno - I'm not gay. Although I'll fight for gay rights and also against any other type of hate and injustices, I'm a fervent vagina enthusiast. I love women. I see the beauty in most women that others can't see, or refuse to see. But, I don't hate anyone who doesn't.

Numero Dos - I'm always going to side with "the people", the poor, the underdogs, the downtrodden, the exploited, the human beings from whom the robber barons steal, and whom the GOP hate.

Numero Tres - I don't toe any line. I voice my own opinions and share my own views like I see them, regardless of what anyone else thinks. I'm not here to be politically correct or to massage anyone's balls. I speak the truth the way I see it. Just listen to these gay guys explain how I feel.

This is the sound of my soul. If you want to hang around and listen, cool. If not, that's cool too.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Diogenes Of Manhattan

For the Cynics, life in accord with reason is lived in accord with nature, and therefore life in accord with reason is greater than the bounds of convention and the polis. Furthermore, the Cynics claim that such a life is the life worth living.

As a homeless and penniless exile, Diogenes experienced the greatest misfortunes of which the tragedians write, and yet he insisted that he lived the good life: “He claimed that to fortune he could oppose courage, to convention nature, to passion reason”

Man In Van from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Cynical Pharmacist Stats

I've been writing The Cynical Pharmacist for over two years now and it seems as though I've picked up a few loyal readers along the way. Mind you, I'm not out to keep track of who's visiting this blog, and truthfully, I really don't care. I author this blog for my own personal satisfaction. The way I see it, if you want to read what I have to say, that's great. If you don't, that's cool too.

But, the fascinating part to me of authoring this blog over the past two years is that what I think are the best posts and what my readers think are the best posts are vastly different. So, I thought I would share the top-ten most read posts according to the highest page views as of today. Drum roll please.

1. KeySource Medical Wholesale License Suspended. #1 by a wide margin. Who would've thunk?

2. The Real Drug Nazi. I thought this post would be #1.

3. How To Handle A Difficult Customer. Okay, kinda funny, but #3?

4. Which Car Do Pharmacists Drive To Work? Really? I never would have figured.

5. The Lonely Life Of A Cynical Pharmacist. WTF? Revealing, but who's interested?

6. Young Pharmacists Rule. Okay, kinda cool and entertaining, but #6?.

7. Carisoprodol Changes To Schedule IV. Really? Nothing you couldn't have learned elsewhere.

8. All Superheroes Must Die. Funny, but kinda important.

9. Who's Really Exploiting The System. Serious and factual, but #9?

10. So You Want To be A Floater, Huh? Okay, somewhat truthful in a humorous AZ way.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Smoking Alcohol

I'm always fascinated with the crazy new ways younger people keep coming up with to abuse drugs. Today I ran across an article describing a new technique for abusing alcohol.. smoking alcohol.

According to the abusers, when liquor is poured over dry ice, the vapor produced from that reaction is said to contain alcohol. So, instead of drinking the liquor in order to catch a buzz, the vapor is inhaled instead. It's being said that it's gives a "smoker" a quicker buzz because it is directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs, bypassing oral absorption and the first-pass effect.

And because the vapor is inhaled, and the liquor is not drunk, it's also been said that it's a calorie-free way to get drunk. One can supposedly abuse alcohol without weight gain. Here's a video report of it -

Notice that I said "supposedly" because I'm not sure that I buy into this purported chemical reaction. I don't see how anyone could "smoke" alcohol this way. Let me explain my reasoning, and please feel free to correct me if I'm missing something. And no, I'm not drinking while I type this.

The alcohol contained in liquor, ethanol, is hygroscopic and very miscible with water. While hydrated ethanol (<200 proof liquor) may be somewhat volatile over time depending upon temperature, getting it to break it's bond with water quickly and to vaporize requires the addition of heat and flame.

You see chef's use this technique (flambé) all of the time when they cook and flavor their dishes with certain liquors. They add the liquor to the dish during cooking to "burn off" most the ethanol content, while leaving the liquor flavor in the pan.

Dry ice is frozen CO2 (carbon dioxide). It is MUCH colder than the usual "water" ice. When water, ethanol, or liquor is added to dry ice, the dry ice "sublimates" (changes directly from a solid into a gas) much quicker, producing that cool cloud of smoke everyone is familiar with (vapor).

Now, here's where I don't understand the supposed chemical reaction. The way I see it, there is no "liquid" dry ice for the ethanol to mix with and be released. And the dry ice is so cold that it would also seem to reduce the ethanol's volatility, thereby keeping it hydrated instead of releasing it into a vapor. Then how does the alcohol vaporize? I don't think it does. I think it remains in solution.

So, while it may "look" like someone is "smoking" alcohol because of the sublimation of the dry ice, what they're really doing is just inhaling the carbon dioxide vapor. I'd bet there isn't any alcohol at all (or very minimally) contained in that vapor.

Personally, I would be very skeptical about "smoking" alcohol as being an effective or dangerous way to abuse alcohol. However, I do see it as a dangerous way to abuse carbon dioxide. Inhaling carbon dioxide is not safe, and can lead to hypercapnia. So, it should be avoided simply for that reason.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Magnesium | A Short Film

Everything worth doing in life requires constant focus and attention in order to succeed.

By being well-prepared beforehand, much of the heartache and regret that comes with experiencing the difficulties of poor choices or failures in life can be better managed, or avoided altogether.

The same applies to having unprotected sex.

If you're going to choose to have sex, then be well-prepared to do it safely - beforehand.

Otherwise, just like efforts to become a top gymnast, one slip up and you'll fall flat on your face.

MAGNESIUM from Sam de Jong on Vimeo.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Pharmacy Compounding And The Public

There's a very good reason why early 20th century laws, like the Pure Food and Drug Act, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and other FDA legislation were enacted.. because many innocent Americans died or suffered as a result of the unbridled quest of a few for greater profits.

When harmful consequences caused by those few begin to affect a significant portion the American public, our Federal political leaders need to act quickly and succinctly in order to protect the public and ensure that it doesn't happen again. IMO, that's not what's happening in pharmacy compounding.

For those unfamiliar with pharmacy compounding, let me explain how the process has worked over the years to give you a better understanding of the problem -

Traditionally, when a physician wants to provide a remedy for one of his/her patients, but such a remedy isn't commercially available (made by a pharmaceutical manufacturer), that physician would write a prescription for that patient, to be compounded (manufactured) by a neighborhood pharmacist.

This type of local manufacturing complies with the FDA rules and regulations for drug compounding because a physician writes a single prescription for a single individual patient, and because there is a direct relationship between the patient, the physician, and the pharmacist.

All three members of this relationship are directly involved in that one patient's care and can monitor whether that compounded prescription is effective or not. If an error was to occur anywhere in the process, only one patient would be harmed, and the source of that error could be easily traced and quickly corrected. This type of relationship has been working fine for decades.

But then, something changed along the way.

Recent medical technological advances made it possible for pharmacists to compound prescriptions in a more sterile environment. A niche was born, and some pharmacists sought to capitalize on it. Compounding pharmacists began to compound injectable prescription products outside of the hospital environment, similar to pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Over time, those pharmacists discovered that there weren't clear and concise laws regarding the compounding and sales of their products. There was an uncertain quasi-regulation of compounding pharmacies between both the State governments and the Federal government.

Somehow, compounding pharmacies were allowed to skirt the traditional rules of compounding and began compounding products without having that direct patient/physician/pharmacist relationship.

They began compounding injectable drugs without a written prescription from a physician, nor just for single individual patients. That niche progressed to the point where pharmacists started compounding injectable drugs in bulk, for local sale to hospitals, clinics, and doctors offices.

The compounding process further progressed to the point where pharmacists began shipping their compounded products interstate, throughout the United States. In essence, their pharmacies now became pharmaceutical manufacturing plants. But unfortunately, these pharmacies weren't being held to the same standards to ensure public safety that apply to pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Then, for various reasons, injectable drug shortages began to appear throughout the country. These compounding pharmacies began to grow and expand in providing replacements for those shortages.

But, no regulators seemed to be monitoring their activity. Compounders were left to self-regulate.

Because the important direct relationship between patient, physician, and pharmacist was missing, because no one outside of the profession was ensuring quality, and because these products were being shipped nationwide, it seemed only a matter of time before something tragic would happen.

A simple error could be "compounded" from only one patient being affected, to a large number of patients being affected, and it would become much harder to trace the source.

And that's exactly what happened. The multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis and other infections among patients who received contaminated steroid injections from just one compounding pharmacy has currently led to more than 740 innocent people being injured, with 55 deaths.

It's been over six months when we first learned of this tragedy, and yet compounding pharmacies are still being allowed to manufacture their potentially unsafe products, and are still allowed to continue shipping their products nationwide. No one in charge is seemingly attempting to stop it.

It's not like members of Congress are unaware of the unnecessary risks to the American public from allowing pharmacies to manufacture and sell injectable products without having to conform to the same sterility and manufacturing standards in which pharmaceutical manufacturers must comply.

Advocates in healthcare serving the interests of their patients as a whole have provided a simple solution to the problem. According to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices,
As we move forward and learn from the most recent outbreak, we call upon Congress to work with key stakeholders to address the need for additional laws on the federal level to fill in regulatory gaps. FDA oversight and regulations must be equal to what is required of pharmaceutical companies when compounding pharmacies dispense in mass quantities without individual patient prescriptions, manufacture sterile products from non-sterile active ingredients, or distribute across state lines.
Congress has also been told by the FDA that unclear laws make it difficult for them to enforce safety.

But yet, while there's reportedly a unconcerted effort on behalf of state and professional organizations in reaction to the problem, nothing is being done by Congress to simply correct the underlying cause.

House GOP members say that the laws don't need to be changed, and blame this tragedy on lack of FDA enforcement. They refuse to change the laws to clarify the regulatory gaps or work with Senate Democrats to quickly and succinctly rectify the situation. They're resolved to do nothing.

Meanwhile the Senate, acting like they are on the public's side, has taken the initiative to create a new regulatory class of drug manufacturers, confusingly called “compounding manufacturers,” that would be exempt from federal premarket approval and related labeling requirements, and thereby maintaining the status quo.

So I have to wonder, what the hell is wrong with all of these people? Don't they care?

To me, it seems as though no one in authority - not professional regulators, not State regulators, not Federal regulators, and neither political party wants to stop compounding pharmacies from behaving like pharmaceutical manufacturers, even when public safety is significantly at risk.

And that's the true tragedy behind this unfortunate incident.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Nothing Really Matters To Me

It's too late, my time has come. Nothing really matters to me about pharmacy anymore.

But, if there's anything I can share with new pharmacists just beginning their careers, it's DO NOT let your employer pressure you into working faster than you think is safely necessary.

Trust me on this. No matter which way the wind blows, you won't be able to live with yourself if you make a mistake and seriously hurt one of your patients.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Vinchuca In The House | A Silent Killer

Chagas Disease is endemic throughout much of Mexico, Central America, and South America where an estimated > 8 to 11 million people are infected by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi.

Infection occurs through vectorborne transmission via the feces of the triatomine insect (reduviid bug, kissing bug, assassin bug, and vincucha bug), which may be inadvertently inoculated into the skin or the mucosa of the eyes, nose, or mouth when the insect’s bite is scratched and rubbed.

The triatomine bug thrives under poor housing conditions (for example, mud walls, thatched roofs), so in endemic countries, people living in rural areas are at greatest risk for acquiring an infection. In rural Argentina, villagers speak of "muerte subita" or rapid death caused by Chagas.

But one Argentinian physician, Dr. Gustavo Farrugia, and his colleagues are trying to stop it.

Source: Al Jazeera: Witness

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Inventor

According to the filmmaker, Benjamin Gibson, - earlier this year I proposed an idea to my 92 year-old neighbor and life-long inventor to shoot a short film documenting many of the inventions he's created throughout his life.

Nervous at the idea that many of his un-patented inventions may be compromised, Carl opened up to me in a much different way than I had originally intended, sharing his inspirations and the philosophy behind his life-long passion of creating - to help his fellow man.

The "Old School" generation, you've got to love them. They know what's important in life.

The Inventor from bzgibson on Vimeo.

Sole Survivor | A Documentary

When Galaxy Flight 203 was in its final seconds, George Lamson pulled his legs above his head, an arbitrary decision that helped save his life as he was thrown through the fuselage upon impact. Immediately after the crash, George’s sole survival was considered miraculous and newsworthy, making him a fixture in the media for a year.

Twenty-six years later, George lives a few blocks from the crash site and still struggles with the emotional weight of his survival. He doesn’t know if he was spared for a reason and if he was, what is that reason? In an effort to heal, he seeks to connect with the other thirteen sole survivors of commercial aviation disasters, including Cecelia Cichan, Bahia Bakari and Jim Polehinke – none of which have ever spoken publicly.

From award-winning filmmaker, Ky Dickens, Sole Survivor profiles the lives of these four people who were the only survivors of commercial plane crashes. Having suffered through the physical trauma of a deadly crash and the emotional impact of losing family members, these survivors are now sharing their stories. Here's the trailer -

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Common Sense Condom Use

Whatever happened to leaders in America using common sense in decision-making?

Currently, the police and courts of New York can use the fact that a person is just carrying condoms to help prove that they are engaging in prostitution-related offenses, or what people in that line of work prefer to call "transactional sex" (lol)

Although I'm personally against the exploitation of desperate people for selfish reasons, with all of the major political and corporate corruption destroying our nation, I would classify prostitution as a VERY low priority enforcement level. But, I'm also a BIG proponent for practicing safe sex.

Condom use has been proven to significantly reduce the transmission of STIs, and to reduce the incidence of unwanted pregnancies. So, while I can somewhat understand New York's zeal to battle prostitution, targeting condom use is absolutely the WRONG way to help prosecutors do their job.

Our goal is to encourage "transactional sex" workers to use condoms every time they "transact".

If we prosecute prostitutes for just carrying condoms, what do you think will happen next? They'll just say "fuck it, I'm not going to use condoms anymore. The risk of being prosecuted is too great." If that happens, STIs and unwanted pregnancies will skyrocket. Is that really what we want happening?

So, while I don't advocate for this group, what they're battling for is just the use of common sense.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Find Your Mojo | Jujitsu-ing Reality

Writing a movie is difficult enough. Imagine writing it from a wheelchair without the ability to speak or move. That’s the unbelievable truth of what Scott Lew did for his new film, Sexy Evil Genius.

In 2004, Lew was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), which has since left the writer a mute pentaplegic. (He can’t move his four limbs, neck or head) He’s forced to breathe with a ventilator and communicates with the help of an assistant, as well as an infrared dot on his forehead.

Despite living with ALS, screenwriter Scott Lew maintains his voice in the world through his scripts, giving added meaning to the expression "living to write.” Scott’s story is one of an indomitable spirit triumphing over tragedy.

Jujitsuing Reality from Chad Mann on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Side Effected | A Short Film

An urgent meeting between the boss of a pharmaceutical company and one of his young employees is called in order to discuss a potentially groundbreaking new drug. Here's the trailer -

"SIDE EFFECTED" Teaser #1 from Lev Pakman on Vimeo and Facebook.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Come Together Pharmacists

My heart tells me that I'm wasting my time, but my brain tells me that I need to say something.

So, let me tell you new pharmacy graduates that, as much as you're motivated to go out and show the world just how great you are, that you need to rein in your desires to prove yourself individually to those who can't wait to exploit you, and come together as one to assert your importance as a whole.

If you start competing against each other in order to prove that you're better than your colleagues, the powers that control the profession (chains, PBMs, insurers, and other large corporations) will use that competition to divide and conquer us.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Opiate Effect

The documentary film, The Opiate Effect, tells the story of Will Gates, a UVM student who tragically died from a heroin overdose in 2009, and the effects of his death on his family as recounted primarily by his father, Skip Gates. Here's the trailer -

Friday, April 26, 2013

Be A Hero, Donate Blood

Did you know that 700 blood donors are needed every day just to meet the needs of patients in the fifty-eight Arizona hospitals dependent upon United Blood Services?

In emergency situations, it’s the blood on the shelves that saves lives. Your donation could save a family member, a friend or a neighbor. Donors of all blood types are needed, especially O-negative, the universal blood that can be substituted for all other types in emergencies.

To make an appointment to donate blood, call 1-877-UBS-HERO (1-877-827-4376) toll free or search by zip code online. Find the Hero in You.. and chill out. It's not like you're getting a THORacotomy.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Woman Of Means

With my nose to the pavement and my lantern lighting my search for a few honest men, I discovered something else - a honest woman. Regardless of what the good Dr. Dicksheet may have thought, there are just as many honest women as there are honest men to be found. However, this is the first woman that I've spotlighted on The Cynical Pharmacist.

And that honest woman is Dr. Roseanna Means, a practicing Internist in the Boston area.

Dr. Means observed that homeless women were underrepresented at the clinics she worked at and learned that using traditional health care access venues, even when staffed by doctors trained in caring for the homeless, is overwhelming for women impaired by exhaustion, mental illness and fear.

Consequently, in 1999, Dr. Means founded Women of Means, a group sending volunteer physicians into shelters to provide care where the women feel safest.

Since that time, Women of Means has grown from a single physician enterprise to an established presence in the medical landscape of Boston area shelters. Today, a team of volunteer doctors and paid nurses, representing all of the major Boston teaching hospitals, selflessly provide free medical care throughout the Greater Boston area.

Dr. Means, and the Women of Means, mission is to improve the lives of women and families who are homeless or marginally housed through quality health care, education, and advocacy.

Guided by a determination to address and improve health disparities by those who suffer severe and complex socio-economic conditions, Women of Means meets its mission by giving vulnerable women and families the "means" toward self sufficiency through improved health and health literacy.

The world is a much better place with people like Dr. Means and her team in it sharing their humanity. But, don't just take my word for it. Watch this CBS Evening News presentation about her -

Source: Boston doctor's kindness helps save homeless

Friday, April 19, 2013

Angel Of Death | 60 Minutes

In his first television appearance, "Angel of Death" serial killer nurse Charles Cullen tells Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes he is sorry for murdering scores of patients, but he isn't sure he would have stopped if he hadn't been caught.

Cullen is the first serial killer to appear on 60 Minutes in its 45 years on the air and though he says he murdered between 30 and 40 victims on his confession tape -- portions of which will be broadcast for the first time -- some suspect he killed many more. Cullen's interview and the first interviews with key figures in his arrest will be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, April 21 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

From The Beginning | An Ending

It's hard to believe I've been writing this pharmacy blog for two years now. And you know what?

It's also been two years since I've last worked in a pharmacy. After I quit my last job, I told everyone that I was finished working as a pharmacist. Of course they didn't believe me, and even in the back of my own mind, perhaps I didn't really fully believe it myself. It was very difficult walking away from a lucrative position, but I did it.. and I'm glad I did. I live a MUCH happier life now.

But now that I'm out of it, I'm not sure how long I can continue writing about pharmacy.

Logically, if someone is not working in the profession, that person can't fully understand what's going on and offer credible views and opinions. Plus, as time goes on, I don't really care what happens with pharmacy either. Pharmacy is quickly becoming a part of my past, and I'm losing interest in it.

So, while I'm thankful for the people who've been reading my blog from the beginning, understand that I'm probably going to be writing less frequently, less about pharmacy, and more about human nature, crime, ethics, morality, safe sex, politics, or any other unusual crapola that interests me personally.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In God We Trust

It's always after the fact. Can you imagine spending 25 years working for, and enabling, the person who committed the largest financial fraud ever perpetrated (for now), and not even being aware of it?

Premiering at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival on April 17-28, In God We Trust follows Bernard Madoff's personal secretary, Eleanor Squillari, in the days after the world discovered his dark secret.

Reframing the conversation around Madoff’s case through the story of one woman’s insatiable search for the truth, directors Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek present Squillari’s findings, and Squillari herself, in this highly personal take on the financial crisis. Here's the trailer -

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Big Club | Corporatocracy

And there is it - just like long-serving Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders predicted, that many investigative journalists and former Government insiders have reported, and that comedian and social critic George Carlin described years ago - the corporations control America.

President Barack Obama has proposed changes in his 2014 fiscal year budget that cut our Medicare and Social Security benefits. Like George said, "it's a big club, and we ain't in it" | "and now they're coming for your social security money" | "they want your fucking retirement money".

Monday, April 8, 2013

Arizona's "Stupid Motorist Law"

Strange day in the Valley today. Nice cool weather for a change. It would be nice to be able to open the windows and doors in order to enjoy the cooler weather, but it's also extremely windy. The air is inundated with dust and dirt.. making it a great day to contract Valley Fever though.

But, luckily it's starting to rain.. but not heavily enough to break out the big guitars to warn everyone just yet. Warn for what? Flash floods. Flash floods can occur in Arizona with no rain in sight. A storm that's miles away can produce rushing water that can quickly take you by surprise.

Every time it rains in the Valley, you can bet that they'll be a news report of some stupid driver trying to cross a flooded wash. Flash floods are a very real danger in Arizona. Some people even lose their lives because they are taken off guard by storms or rushing floodwaters. It's such a serious problem here that Arizona has created it's own "Stupid Motorist Law".

Rainy days can be dangerous, so be careful out there mmkay? But, don't just take my word for it.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Dealing With People From The Dark Side

I was reading the recent sad DEA news release and the ABC News report, New York Doctor Charged as Head of $10 Million Oxycodone Ring. According to an excerpt from the ABC News report -
Investigators said 41 members of Pennsylvania "drug crews" were among those arrested in connection with the case. Officers seized a total of 28 firearms from them. "The firearms recovered in this case also highlight how the gun violence associated with cocaine and heroin trafficking is now the muscle in the illegal oxycodone trade,"..
Of course, I'm always intrigued with these type of criminal schemes and what could possibly possess educated, responsible, well-paid, white-collar healthcare professionals already living comfortable lives, to embrace the dark side of human nature? Is greed that powerful of a force?

Although I often share news reports about the [allegedly in this case] failings of those who've taken an oath to do no harm, I thought it was important to point out this one case to remind us that visiting the dark side requires dealing with people who've spent their entire lives in the dark side, and who are seriously darker than we could ever think of being.

It's not only having to worry about the risks of getting caught by the police, convicted in a court of law, and serving long prison sentences often associated with turning to the dark side. There's also the more serious risks and consequences that come from dealing with the shady people that we enlist to help us perpetrate our unethical and illegal schemes. They're not the soft, white-collar criminal types.

Some of these people are hardened violent criminal psychopaths.

Would you trust them with your life? For instance -

Do you remember Michael J. Kerkowski, a pharmacist who in the early 2000s ran afoul of the law by selling controlled substances to drug users and others without prescriptions? In order to perpetrate his crimes, Kerkowski enlisted convicted criminals Hugo Selenski and Paul Weakly to enable him, under the mistaken assumption that they were unconditionally trustworthy.

But Weakly and Kerkowski had other plans. They decided that even more money could be made by torturing, robbing, and murdering Kerkowski (and his unwitting girlfriend), taking the illegal profits for themselves, and then burying their bodies in his back yard. Pretty gruesome, huh? And now, over ten years later, the courts are still trying to convict Selenski for their murders.

And then there was the pharmacist whose schemes for buying stolen prescription drugs caused him to become a victim of one of America's most-prolific serial killers, Richard Kuklinski: The Iceman, a psychopath whose violent crimes paralleled those of America's first known serial killer.

Paul Hoffman, a pharmacist, was suckered into a scheme to buy stolen Tagamet® for pennies on the dollar from Kuklinski when he disappeared in the spring of 1982. Kuklinski never really had the stolen drugs and murdered Hoffman after he showed-up with the cash. A year later, his car was found in the rented warehouse that Kuklinski used for his car theft racket. Hoffman’s body was never found.

Kuklinski later confessed to this murder [begins at minute 27:50 of documentary], saying he first shot Hoffman but that he didn’t die immediately, so he finished him off by using a tire iron. He then shoved Hoffman’s body into a 55-gallon drum and left it near Harry's Corner Luncheonette, in New Jersey. He periodically checked on the drum to see if had been discovered, and eventually it disappeared.

So, now that we're reading more reports of firearms and underworld "muscle" being involved in what were formerly simple white-collar crimes of healthcare fraud, is taking a short visit to the dark side and entrusting the people you'll find there worth the risk? How much is enough? Be happy with what you've got and don't turn on the people who trust you with their lives, or it may just happen to you.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Hands-Only CPR

Hands-Only CPR is CPR without mouth-to-mouth breaths. It is recommended for use by people who see a teen or adult suddenly collapse in an “out-of-hospital” setting (such as at home, at work, at the park, in a gym, or while at the IRS). And it consists of two easy steps:

1. Call 9-1-1 (or send someone to do that).
2. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest.

Take 60 seconds and hustle to learn how Hands-Only CPR can help save a life.

Source: American Heart Association Hands-Only CPR

Friday, March 29, 2013

Generational Diogenes

After studying the cynic philosophy for a few years, I've come to the realization that every generation throughout time has had it's own local version of Diogenes, a controversial character who travels in dog-like fashion throughout the countryside in search of an honest man.

And what I've recently discovered is that the Arizona baby-boomer generation had Mr. Peabody.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Talk To Your Pharmacist Before Self-Medicating

A few years ago, when I was working for a retail pharmacy chain, I noticed a nice couple checking out products in the vitamin section of the store. They seemed a little confused about the various choices, so I stepped out from behind the counter and asked if I could help them out.

The woman had a bottle of ferrous sulfate (iron) 65 mg tablets in her hand. She said that her doctor told her that she needed to supplement her diet with iron, and to take 325 mg three times daily until her next appointment. But, she also said that she found what she needed and didn't need my help, and began to walk away.

Sensing a serious error about to occur, I asked her how many tablets she was going to take each day? She turned around and told me 15 tablets - 5 tablets (325 mg) three times daily.

I can't tell you how relieved I was that I went out to talk with them.

Pharmacists know where I'm going with this, but many others may not. Sometimes the labeling on OTC (over-the-counter) and prescription products can be confusing. That's why, even when you don't think that you need to, YOU MUST TALK WITH YOUR PHARMACIST before self-medicating, and before taking any medications or supplements.

For the public, let me describe the potentially serious problem that was averted -

The doctor told the patient to take 325 mg of iron. But, what he actually meant was to take 325 mg of "ferrous sulfate", an iron supplement that contains 65 mg of "elemental" iron. The OTC bottle of iron that she had was labeled to show the amount of "elemental" iron per tablet. This nice lady thought she needed to take 5 X 65 mg in order to get 325 mg of "iron". If she hadn't talked to me beforehand, she would have taken FIVE TIMES the dose of iron that she was prescribed by the doctor.

Now, you may say to yourself, "that's no big deal, it's just a vitamin". But, that assumption would be a BIG MISTAKE. Iron is a very toxic supplement when overdosed, especially in children. Taking such a high dose of iron, and especially for a prolonged period of time, could have potentially been fatal. This couple thanked me profusely for my intervention.

So you see my friends, pharmacists ARE superheroes. We ARE able to use our powers for good, to save lives, and to make a difference in peoples' health care. But, maybe you've already heard of me.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Other Dave

Life changes people; especially when it involves 1 billion volts of electricity. “Super Dave” Manning, was on his way to a pro golf career when lightning permanently changed his perception of reality.

The Other Dave from The Other Dave on Vimeo.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Who's Really Exploiting The System?

If there's one common complaint that I've heard coming from retail pharmacists and techs nationwide, it's about dealing with seemingly able customers who they consider are abusing the welfare system. I've even heard some of them say that they "hate" those leeches. Although it's never bothered me as much as some of my former colleagues, I can understand their anger.

Imagine working in pharmacy located in a poorer section of town and constantly dealing everyday with customers who seem to have no overt physical problems, dress nicely, drive expensive vehicles, and perhaps even wear more bling than you, and who then use Medicaid/AHCCCS/ Workers Comp or some other type of social welfare program to pay for their prescriptions.

And to top it off, you find out that some of those welfare recipients can't speak English, increasing your suspicions that they might not even be Americans!

It's not hard to understand why those pharmacists and techs are angry at people who they think are exploiting the system. They've struggled, they've sacrificed, they've worked hard and put up with a lot of bullshit to earn everything they've got. Why should their hard-earned tax dollars be spent supporting people who are being allowed to suck off the system? Who wouldn't agree with that? I know that I do.

Of course, things aren't always what they seem to be.

I'm sure that many welfare recipients aren't exploiting the system and truly need the help. Although a few of us have probably said it, wishing that we could be in their shoes to live their lives of ease isn't the answer. If you've dealt with some welfare patients behind the scenes, and see how they really live, you wouldn't wish their quiet lives of desperation on your worst enemies.

That being said, yes, I'm also sure that there are some welfare patients exploiting the system. And you want to know what? It's not fully their fault. Lack of enforcement is the problem. Exploitation of any system would rarely occur if it was designed appropriately and the rules enforced to protect it.

But, exploiting the system is what America is all about. That's how we roll.

The problem with America today hasn't been caused by some poor schlub who may taking advantage of the social welfare system. America, and the rest of the world too, is in crisis because of the lack of enforcement against corporate crime, and corporate welfare. That's where most of our tax dollars are being spent. That's where the bulk of any type of investigation and reform should be directed.

As such, when you begin to read investigative reports into crimes involving the social welfare system, ask yourself why, especially during this period in time, are such investigations are being conducted?

Is it because the social welfare system is truly in crisis and could cause the American economy to fail? Or is it because the grand old "party of hate" is attempting to redirect your anger away from the real crimes being committed against the American public, in an effort to exploit you?

So, if you feel the need to have to hate people, then make sure that you're hating the right people.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Valibation | A Short Film

Some might call them the new cigarettes - hand held devices. For objects that supposedly increase our connection to the world, it’s amazing to think how solitary they have made us become.

VALIBATION from on Vimeo.

Friday, March 15, 2013

It's National Poison Prevention Week

National Poison Prevention Week is March 17-23, 2013. Is your hospital prepared to handle any type of poisoning referral? Be prepared. Antidotes for Emergency Treatment of Poisonings

Source: Texas Poison Center Network

Free, confidential hotline available 24/7 for poisoning emergencies or questions: 1-800-222-1222. Specially-trained doctors, nurses and pharmacists here to help day or night.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Korea: Open Condom Style

Well, based on recent news reports coming out of North Korea, it's quite possible that more American military personnel could be shifted into South Korea soon.

Knowing that some of the current American sexually-transmitted diseases originated from the country also known as "The Land of the Morning Cum Calm" to soldiers many decades ago, I'd like to remind our service men and women that if you're going to have sex while being stationed in South Korea, and especially in North Korea, to listen to Dr. Jason and practice safe sex open condom style.

Source: The Factory Music Studio

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Papal Conclave Countdown

According to a Chicago Tribune news report today -
Cardinals will hold a final pre-conclave meeting on Monday to discuss the state of their Church, left reeling by the abdication last month of Pope Benedict and struggling to deal with a string of sexual abuse and corruption scandals.
Along with other social issues, these sexual abuse scandals and corruption charges have wreaked havoc on Church membership. Although the Catholic Church still has millions of followers worldwide, many of it's faithful followers have become disillusioned, and many have been leaving in droves.

So, word in the street is that Church leaders also decided to send out their special Vatican reporter this weekend in order to educate non-Catholics about how the concept of Purgatory works, and to try to convince them why they should convert to Catholicism.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Escape Fire: The Fight To Rescue American Healthcare

Escape Fire is a film that tackles one of the most pressing issues of our time: what can be done to save our broken medical system?

The film examines the powerful forces trying to maintain the status quo in a medical industry designed for quick fixes rather than prevention, for profit-driven care rather than patient-driven care. After decades of resistance, a movement to bring innovative high-touch, low-cost methods of prevention and healing into our high-tech, costly system is finally gaining ground.

Award-winning filmmakers Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke follow dramatic human stories as well as leaders fighting to transform healthcare at the highest levels of government, medicine, industry, and even the US military. The film is about a way out. It's about saving the health of a nation.

Watch Escape Fire on Sunday, March 10th at 8PM & 11PM ET on CNN. Here's the trailer -

ESCAPE FIRE: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare (Trailer) from Our Time Projects on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Ars Magna | A Short Film

Enter into the obsessive and compulsive world of anagrams with Cory Calhoun, a man who took the first three lines of Hamlet's "To Be or Not to Be" soliloquy and made them into what's been called the "world's greatest anagram." As you'll soon find out, he may be obsessive, but he's also a genius.

Ars Magna, which means "great art" in Latin, is an anagram of the word anagrams. Watch it and then vote for your 2013 People's Choice Winner, as part of the PBS 2013 Online Film Festival.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday Morning Coffee

It's time for your morning fix. Beyond being the world’s favorite hot beverage, coffee, as any aficionado will tell you, is a matter of a great art and, often, great snobbery.

But what, exactly, makes the ancient beverage that manifests in your cup every morning a modern masterpiece? Has the process really changed over the years? Success lies in a single word: Care.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Heartbreak Of Drug Abuse

Some people are more susceptible to addiction than other people. But, you'll never know if you're one of them until it's too late. Is it worth the risk? Wanda Jo lost her son Brian to drugs. Brian’s addiction started with smoking pot. It ended in a prison cell and death at age 35.

Source: Navajo County Drug Stories

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Saturday Morning Sixto

Just some Saturday morning Cold Fact blues to ring in the sequestration impasse.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Does Horton Give A Hoot?

At the crossroads of our big debate about job growth and our big debate about healthcare debt, the public radio show Marketplace brings this animated short inspired by Dr. Seuss and composed by senior health care reporter Gregory Warner.

Learn how local politicians seeking job growth may encourage hospital over-expansion, driving up our insurance premiums and taxes and even creating a health care jobs bubble.

Hobbs is a fictional city whose mayor has a very real problem: How will he implement his scheme to bring in good clean health care jobs when every other American city is trying to do the same? How far will he go to nab those fabled 'medical tourists?' And how much will this medical arms race affect our insurance premiums and taxes?

Oh The Jobs (Debt?) You'll Create! from Marketplace on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

It's Trichy: Trichomonas vaginalis

While not considered as dangerous as some other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) (like HIV), trichomoniasis (or “trich”) is a very common STD that's caused by infection with a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. An estimated 7.4 million new cases (pdf) of trichomoniasis occur each year in women and men. And like most other sexually transmitted infections (STI), the parasite is usually passed from an infected person to an uninfected person during unprotected sex.

Symptoms of trichomoniasis vary - but women are more symptomatic than men, and most of the women and men who have the parasite cannot tell they are infected. According to the CDC, about 70-85% of infected people do not show any signs or symptoms of infection. And that's why many healthcare professionals consider this STD, "trichy".

But, don't take my word for it. Listen to these guys who Run the DMC (Downtown Medical Clinic).

[original video removed by link source]

It's "trichy" because people don't realize that they're infected, and don't visit their doctor for treatment because they don't have any symptoms. Even when they do see the doctor, many providers won't test for trichomoniasis because their patients are asymptomatic. Because it often goes undiagnosed and untreated, the cycle of trich transmission continues when people have unprotected sex.

That's why trichomoniasis is often referred to as the ping-pong disease, and is also the reason why ASHA estimates of trichomoniasis infections are so much higher than CDC reports. But, the good news is that trichomoniasis is an easily treatable STI.. for now.

So, what can you do to protect yourself? First of all, become better educated about trichomoniasis.

Now that you know the facts about trich, it's up to you to know your status. Make an appointment with your local healthcare provider and specifically request STD testing, including trichomoniasis.

And last, but definitely not least - if you're going to have sex, always wear a latex condom.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Legends Of The Knight

The most important Batman tales are not in comic books, TV shows, or Hollywood movies. They are within the people for whom the Dark Knight has become a symbol. Not a symbol of fear - as he is for evil doers - but a symbol of hope.

Throughout many decades, the Caped Crusader has motivated people around the globe to overcome devastating obstacles, and to encourage young people to be a vital contributor to their community. His legacy has also been a vehicle for connecting us to each other and stirring the hero within.

The documentary, Legends Of The Knight is an inspirational film that shares the stories that Batman has uncovered within all of us, and the power heroic storytelling has to transform the world.

Legends of the Knight - Official Trailer from Brett Culp Films on Vimeo and We Are Batman

A Short Twitter Vacation

Twitter has become too addicting, and its taken over a good portion of my life. So, as difficult as it may be, it's time to put it down for a while and do something a little more entertaining with my time.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Voice Over | A Short Film

According to an ABC News blog: Tell Me The Truth, Doctor, Dr. Richard Besser says that it’s hard to imagine someone getting to adulthood without experiencing the pain of a broken heart.
It’s all part of living life and forming relationships. As painful as these experiences were, with a little bit of time, I got over them. Most people do. But on this Valentine’s Day, I wanted to answer a question I’ve been asked: Is it really possible to die from broken heart? Unfortunately, it is.

There is actually something called broken heart syndrome, the name for sudden heart failure that comes on after emotional trauma. It was first recognized by Japanese doctors in the 1990s who named it takotsubo cardiomyopathy after noting a resemblance between a Japanese octopus trap, a takotsubo, and the shape of the affected heart on X-ray.
And there are many stressors that can trigger this unfortunate syndrome later in life, most of them occurring during a period of time when you may need your heart to perform at it's maximum capacity.

So, all I have to say is - that when given the chance to prevent this type of cardiomyopathy and avoid this condition, make sure to take advantage of the opportunities when they present themselves early in your life. But then again, don't just take my word for it. See for yourself.

VOICE OVER (English subtitles) from Kamel Films on Vimeo.

Pharmacy Compounding During The 1930s

There was once a time during mid-twentieth century America when the neighborhood pharmacy was considered THE place to hangout, and THE place where you could find the most beautiful and eligible young women. As a matter of fact, many young Hollywood starlets were initially "discovered" while hanging out in their neighborhood pharmacy.

This was a time in pharmacy before pharmaceutical manufacturing came to dominate the profession, a time before chain pharmacies, when most pharmacists owned their own stores, compounded their prescriptions from scratch, and could concoct their own special lotions and potions as they saw fit.

It was also a time before many of Federal laws now governing patient-safety were enacted, before the nation became aware of the frequency of pharmacy errors and their potential to cause serious harm, and way before pharmacists focused on error-prevention as much as we do today.

This period of time in America might have been good for pharmacists, but it wasn't a very good time for their patients. So, I couldn't help but wonder what is was that made the youngest and prettiest girls in the neighborhood continue to hangout at their local pharmacy, even after discovering that their pharmacist might be an error-prone stooge?

That was, until I found this video from that period that explains it all.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Original Batman

I just watched the 1943 movie series, Batman - back in the day when chasing the villains, catching the criminals, and competing with other superheroes wasn't nearly as sophisticated as it is today. It was a time when imagination originated from the mind, instead of the eyes.

It was a time when character development was still in it's infancy, when movie thugs and henchmen were middle-aged white men, gas was cheap, and America's evil arch-enemies came from Asia and Europe, instead of from the Middle East. It was also a time of technological innocence.

It was a time way before the advent of computers and the internet, when apps such as TV and atom bombs were still in development, and the predominate work tools for superheroes and their enemies included utility belts, truth serum, Radium handguns, and electronically brain-controlled Zombies.

It was a time some pharmacists remember being referred to as "the good old days" of pharmacy.

And it was also the first time Batman realized that if he was going to survive in his profession, that he needed to continually upgrade his utility belt, much like technologically-advanced pahrnicists of today.

But, don't just take my word for it. Watch the first chapter in the series to see for yourself -

Watch the rest of the entire original 1943 movie series on YouTube.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Just promoting people to be themselves and express their love however they see fit. But remember, STIs don't discriminate. Make sure to cover up before sharing the love this Valentine's Day.

The Queen from Christina Choe on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Edward Hall | Night Shift Pharmacist

Before you start bitching about how the over-night pharmacist is getting paid more than you are, has a much easier workload than you do, but doesn't seem to be getting the job done, just remember that there's a very good reason why you're not working that shift. Working nights affects your sleep!

Shift work sleep disorders (SWSD) occur when people work during the night while most other people sleep. When you have to work during the time your body normally wants to sleep, you disrupt your internal body clock (circadian rhythm) which then wreaks havoc upon your entire body.

SWSD is characterized by insomnia and excessive sleepiness. People with the disorder are more accident prone, irritable, and less able to concentrate. Lack of sleep is also linked to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other mental disorders. And your mind starts to play tricks on you.

But those aren't the only negative health effects associated with working the night shift.

There's a good reason why it's also called the Graveyard Shift. Researchers recently conducted a meta-analysis summarizing 34 separate studies involving more than two-million shift workers, and published the results in the British Medical Journal.

Although shift work was not associated with increased rates of mortality, this study found that when compared to regular daytime workers, the risk for heart attack increased by 41 percent in those working the night shift. So, cut these guys some slack and don't push them over the edge.

Combine these known health factors with the stresses of working 7 straight 12-hour shifts (or more), an overwhelming workload, and having to work with a nurse or a technician who seems to have it out for you, then you have a recipe for disaster in the works. But, don't just take my word for it.

See how working the night shift seriously affected this poor pharmacist's life -

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Lifetime Of Pharmacy In One Song

I think this song provides a good description of how some retail pharmacists may view their career progression - from the first ten years, through the next decade or two, and then into the final cut.

[ALL original video links removed by sources]

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Making A Deal With The Devil

"The Collector" is a Canadian supernatural television drama about a soul-collector (Morgan) who gets permission from the Devil to try to save the souls of his "Clients" during their last 48 hours on earth.

Morgan Pym looks 30, but was born in 1322 AD, a monk who sold his soul to cure the woman he loved of Plague. But when his deal ended 10 years later (as all deals with the Devil do), his beloved died, and Morgan went to work for the Devil collecting souls, rather than go to Hell himself.

Six centuries later, Morgan begins to rediscover his own humanity, and makes a new deal with the Devil, which allows him to try to help his clients make amends for the bad luck caused by their bargain. Morgan and his clients are bound never to reveal the true nature of their situation to anyone else. Revealing the truth to an innocent results in both parties being sent to Hell.

Morgan often fails, but never gives up trying to prove that everyone, no matter what they've done, can earn redemption…perhaps even himself. Here's an episode from the show entitled "The Pharmacist". What kind of deal did she make with the Devil? [Part 1]

The Collector: The Pharmacist [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5]