September ’13 Article

Thank you all for coming. This evening I want to talk to you about a problem that is afflicting our society. It’s an addiction, something that we as pharmacists are well used to dealing with. It is only in the last few years that this has been described as such. Though in truth it has been a problem for society for a long time. I speak of our addiction to cash or to use its’ street name, moolah.

It starts young. Even as young as seven, schools coach them for first communion. As teenager years approach the addiction is re-enforced by confirmation. As they grow we as parents continue to feed their addiction as they progress through secondary school and college. And some even further. We feel bad about it. Not because we are feeding their habit but because it is eating into our own stash.

And like so many other aspects of Irish life we have the so called experts and the pious telling us that moolah is evil and sinful. All the while they are gorging themselves on moolah, thinking that we don’t know about it. Indeed many of these are the Pablo Escobars of the moolah trade. Big time dealers called Top Dogs (TDs), selling down the line to the street level middlemen. With local enforcers to keep the addicts in line. Even as the Trioka imposes a crackdown they just slip quietly into a well provided for retirement and new overlords appear.

But what’s our part in all this? Well like all problems with Irish society there is a pharmacy sub-set. Despite out small numbers we have a disproportionate number of moolah addicts in our midst. Indeed many of us still use the soubriquet MPSI without truly realising what it means. Moolaholic Pharmacists Still in Ireland. Times it seems, move on but they don’t change. We still have institutions of higher education producing moolaholic pharmacists (M.Pharm) in unsustainable numbers. Many large scale addicts are still opening more and more community pharmacies to try and get a bigger stash for themselves. In truth many of these new establishments don’t deserve the blessed title of community pharmacies as they are in reality retail emporiums, some little better than pound shops.

And how does it all start? Simply enough. When things were good and there was plenty of moolah for all we got lazy. Paying too much for utilities and lazy buying of stock was like the soft drugs that any addict starts with. Then it was on to the hard stuff. Enormous chunks of moolah being splashed out on registration fees, rates, celtic bubble rents and bloated salary rolls. It came to a peak when addicts both individuals and chains put out huge swathes of moolah to acquire pharmacies. Much of it was borrowed from the local overlords who had also lost the run of themselves. Even the wholesalers got in on the act. They too became addicted to the moolah from many sources such as the High Tech scheme. They too got in on the acquisitions bubble buying up pharmacies and even other wholesalers. But the bubble is going to burst and much of the moolah supply to Irish pharmacy will just disappear.

What happened? The Trioka Cartel decided that Ireland’s local TDs were getting too big for their boots. They were threatening the cosy set-up of cartels all around the world. They came in, grabbed the local TDs by the short and curlies [edit note: I would rather use balls here but it may be too impolite] and let them know who’s the boss. For appearances sake they let this look as if this was voluntary and that the TDs were still in charge. Changes had to made to moolah supply and how was this to be done? First off they set up the National Association of Moolah Addicts, NAMA. They put NAMA in charge of a large chunk of the remaining moolah. It was akin to putting an alcoholic in charge of the brewery. Then came FEMPI, Federation to Extract Moolah from Pharmacists in Ireland. Then they set about their dirty work.
They told us that moolah from the government is bad and yet they are happy to take bloated salaries and pensions from the same pot. “You had too much moolah and now you are obese” We still need some moolah to survive but we are now at starvation levels. They are well on their way to killing off about 400 pharmacies and they don’t care about the collateral damage. As for which 400 they’ll let the “market” decide. More likely it will be the bank managers who will make the call. They will look at their loan book like a farmer looking at starving cattle. Cull the weakest of the herd so that there is more moolah for the survivors. The unfortunate will get “friendly” calls from the bank to see “how are things are going?” By this stage even offering to learn the words of “deutschland über alles” will cut no ice with them. And what will the regulator do if your moolah is gone? Make sure that you can not earn any more moolah.
So what’s to be done? Get together with your fellow pharmacists. Discuss ways of cutting back on your expenditure of moolah. To do this read our bible, aka “The Book” by Michael Austin. Explore new ways of getting more moolah that doesn’t depend on the government. Some of us will make their own moolah as artisan producers. Small scale operations, adding just a little flavour, a touch of MUR, a piquant of vaccination, maybe just a hint of cholesterol testing. If lucky they can get to team up with another master pharmacist to boost production. You need to be careful not to end up like multinationals who claim to be artisans but who are in reality mass producers, fee only, large svolumes, wham bamm thank you madam, you want fries with that? The HSE and government have no respect for us but this does not mean that we have no respect for ourselves, what we stand for and what we practice. Arise. It’s hard to make any progress when you are on your knees. Button up your best white coat and hold your chest out. Face the charlatans and shout out. “Take your best shot. I can take it.”
My name is David and I’m a moolaholic. I will not go down without a fight. Thank you.

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