Posted by: Prospector PJ13 MAY 2009
The fast pace of change in the pharmacy profession is causing a number of pharmacists to leave the Register and seek new identities outside pharmacy.
They can be inspired by a number of illustrious ex-pharmacists who have gone on to, arguably, better things.
Hubert Humphrey followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming a pharmacist in South Dakota in 1933. After only a few short years at the dispensary bench he moved on to pursue a much more successful career in US politics.
When he attempted to become the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate in 1960 he was defeated by John F. Kennedy, but he went on to serve as vice-president to Lyndon B. Johnson from 1965 to 1969.
A strong supporter of civil rights, Humphrey was also closely associated with progressive causes, such as the formation of the Peace Corps and legislation favouring trade unions, African Americans and the unemployed. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980.
If the world of politics does not appeal, former pharmacists need look no further than soft drink production for career opportunities. As “Didapper” has pointed out (PJ, 13 September 2008, p310), the American inventors of Dr Pepper, Pepsi-Cola, Coca-Cola, Hires Root Beer and Vernor’s Ginger Ale were all pharmacists.
Herbert Haft, another US pharmacist, followed his Russian immigrant father into the profession and was successful, building up a chain of 75 Dart Drug discount stores, which he sold in 1984. He also founded Crown Books, Trak Auto, Combined Properties and Total Beverage, and became famous as a corporate raider.
Haft said that the secret of his success was to borrow big: “If you owe someone several thousand dollars, you can’t always sleep at night. If you owe someone several million dollars, the banker or supplier can’t sleep. It’s no use both of you worrying.”
Another well-known figure who moved from the world of pharmacy to the world of business is Ned Flanders, the “perfect” neighbour of Homer Simpson in America’s longest running television sitcom, The Simpsons. Ned gave up “the pharmaceutical game” to open the “Leftorium” at Springfield Mall. His business selling items for left-handed people earns him $27 a week more than Homer Simpson’s job at the nuclear power plant.