Protecting the Oath of a Pharmacist

Pharmacists are one of the world's most trustworthy professionals, and it's a responsibility I don't take lightly.

Pharmacists are one of the world's most trustworthy professionals, and it’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly.

Patients’ lives depend on us, so our job is a matter of public safety. We’re in charge of some very dangerous and highly addictive chemicals, so we must make sure they’re for prescription use only.

Whenever I read about a pharmacist selling medications on the side, it angers me. It’s such a betrayal to the oath that all of us take at graduation: “I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of human suffering my primary concerns,” and “I will maintain the highest principles of moral, ethical, and legal conduct.”

Corrupt pharmacists are nothing more than drug dealers with the lowest showing of “moral, ethical, and legal conduct” in contributing to “human suffering” by fueling drug addiction. I hope that each and every one of them gets caught and does hard time.

I understand that some who’ve turned to the dark side of the pharmacy force are addicts themselves and will claim to be blinded by their addiction, but that’s horse hockey. In the throes of my substance abuse, it never entered my head to swipe drugs from a pharmacy. I have a massive fear of legal retribution and incarceration that have kept me out of all sorts of trouble.

I’ve done all I can in my career to protect the “Oath of a Pharmacist.” When I was fresh out of school, I was asked, “What can you get me?” My answer was always, “Five to 10 for even asking.” Of course, that wasn’t the case, but it made a salient point that if you wanted to continue to talk to me, don’t ask again.

When we used to get newsletters from the board of pharmacy, I’d always go to the disciplinary actions list to see if I recognized any names. More often than not, I did.

A student who was a few years behind me lost his license within months of getting it for swapping cannabis for diazepam right through his pharmacy’s drive-thru window. He might have gotten away with it had his accomplices not been dealing the diazepam in the pharmacy parking lot.

All of that money and time to obtain a degree and license, just to throw it all away.

I will be licensed 22 years in August and haven’t had anything ever resembling a sanction against my license. When the inspectors come in, I welcome them with a smile and a cup of coffee, simply because I have nothing to hide. It’s a shame that some do.

Jay Sochoka, RPh, follows the oath.