May 7, 2012

Ever stop to think about the ethics of selling illness in a place of health? Think about it. You go into either of the large national pharmacies with a bad cough/bronchitis. You walk to the back of the store to see the nurse practitioner who prescribes the medication on her company’s formulary list (the one her bosses want her to prescribe/? most profitable?). Next you go to the pharmacist to fill your prescription.

On the way out of the store, standing like a gauntlet, is the cigarette counter where you buy your smokes. Yes, you smoke; and, because you smoke, you have chronic bronchitis.  Now think about the ethics of the same establishment selling the disease they treat!  It’s the American way, “One Stop” shopping at its best. 

Everyone knows that our healthcare system is a disaster.  We complain about the cost of healthcare, the availability healthcare, the doctors, the insurers and just about everything else.  I think it’s time we complain about healthcare providers that sell illness. 

These peddlers of medications and cigarettes are on every street corner.  Selling the complete package, healthcare and illness, in one building appears to be good business.  They are incredibly savvy marketers.  Most of my patients use them because they have drive up services available.  As they continue to grow, their product line has expanded into alcohol and candy (two more unhealthy treats).

While other national pharmacies are located in retail stores, customers can exit many of their stores, medication in hand, without being assaulted by their nemesis, the almighty cigarette.   

I know, you are thinking Doc Segal is making too much out of this issue.  After all, Doc Segal is a militant when it comes to smoking.  Trust me, if you knew how much of the funds you pay into Medicare and Social Security went to support smokers’ habits and healthcare, you would be a militant, too!

The next time you need to fill a prescription, ask yourself, “Do I really want to support the unethical policy of the tobacco selling pharmacy?”  If the answer is “NO,” then find a more ethical pharmacy.  Yes, you will have to park and walk in.  The walk will probably do you some good. 

By the way, go straight to the pharmacy and not the candy aisle.  Remember, the life you save may be your own.


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