Friday, June 24, 2005

Best Buy Debacle

Debacle at Best Buy

While in line with my legally disabled father at the Best Buy on U.S. 41, two street punks were shouting obscenities while in line with us. After my father asked them to either clean it up or take it outside, they began swearing at him, calling him names, and threatening physical harm upon him. I stepped in, exchanged words with one of them, and after being physically threatened myself, began a scuffle. As a citizen of this great nation, I feel that there are certain things worth fighting for. One of them is my father’s safety. Another is for a civilized society. The worst part of this ordeal was not the two multi-ear-pierced, tattooed freaks, but the staff at Best Buy. Not only did they misrepresent the series of events that took place, and not only were they insulting, condescending, and argumentative, but they actually made excuses for this vulgar behavior. The customer service manager in particular was confrontational, pompous, treated my father and I like we are the dregs of society, and acted as an enabler for these thugs. My question to the citizenry is- what sort of country do you wish to live in? If it is a decent one, then think about which corporations and businesses you give your financial support to. We the people must be willing to make a stand for righteousness, and choosing how we spend our money is the best way to make a statement.

Jean-Marc Bovee, Pharm.D.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Chaos in Florida

From the age of two or three, I grew up in a small, unincorporated little town called Lehigh Acres. I left at the age of 20 for Orlando, but periodically continued to visit my family back home. At the age of 28, I moved out of the state. All of my life the population of Lehigh was fairly steady, hovering around 30,000 to 35,000 people. At 33 years of age I returned home, and was amazed and dismayed at how much my hometown had metamorphosed.

The various local papers regularly contained, and still do, a litany of articles discussing murders, gang crime, drug arrests, and other things which were literally unheard of during my entire life growing up there. It was not long after my return that I also began to see the changes for myself, and working retail provided the perfect means to do so. At first I wondered what had happened, but the answer was short in coming. It is not an attractive answer, especially considering the politically correct times in which we presently live, but it is an obvious one. The unfortunate reality is that the minority population has escalated geometrically in this small community, which as of 6/17/05 stands at 65,000 inhabitants. The rising minority population and crime rate are linearly related. Only a simpleton would claim coincidence.

As evidence, I have crudely slapped together a small compilation of only a few days worth of local articles demonstrating my case. My intention is to open some eyes and bring attention to this ever-increasing problem, and to demonstrate the truly grim nature of things in what was once essentially a retirement community. This trend began long ago in our nation’s larger cities, and now is spreading out to smaller communities. If Lehigh Acres is indicative of what is happening all around our beloved country, then I honestly fear for what is to come in the future.

No one ought to complain without stating the cause and a solution. The two most prevalent causes are unfettered illegal immigration and welfare abuse. As a retail pharmacist, I see Hispanics, who do not speak a single word of English, come in with Medicaid cards multiple times every single day. There are a massively disproportionate number of them who are on Medicaid. In my honest judgment, I would have to say that off all of my Medicaid patients, 90 percent are Hispanic, and about one-third of them speak absolutely no English. I suspect that many of them have friends who work in the state Medicaid offices and push them through the system by steering them through the proper channels. A few months ago I actually had a woman tell me, through her granddaughter who was translating, that I needed to learn Spanish because, “So many of them are coming here now.” Let me make one thing perfectly clear, I am not prejudiced. I cannot, however, stand idly by while blatant abuses to our laws, and to our taxpayers, continue to occur at such an alarming rate. Last week over $1,000 was taken out of my paycheck. Where does my money go? It goes to pay for medical, educational, and other various expenses for people who are not crippled, sick, nor poor, and probably are not even U.S. citizens. How does the government allow this to happen? How can our politicians justify robbing people like me for these reasons? Why do we refuse to protect our borders, and stamp out welfare fraud? The answer is political correctness. It seems that no one in Washington has the courage to stand up for what is right because they fear that the media and others will vilify them as racists for doing so. As a result, I have to give away almost half of my yearly earnings for these abominations. It is sickening and maddening. Please, something must be done, and, for the love of God, it must be done now.

Sincerely disheartened,
Jean-Marc Bovee, Pharm.D.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

pharmacy ethics

Medical ethics has been a popular topic as of late, especially regarding pharmacists and their selectivity in filling prescriptions. Unfortunately, those who are the most vociferous on the issue are also giving the least educated opinion, and it shows. As a doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.), my hope is to provide a somewhat more erudite and complete picture concerning some of the intricacies involved.

It is true that some overtly religious-minded pharmacists are overstepping the ethical boundary by refusing to fill certain birth control prescriptions based on moral judgments they make, interestingly enough, on the women who come to fill them. Most reasonable people see a problem with this, and their concern is legitimate. Playing God and deciding which women get their birth control pills based on the dictums of our personal religious views is nowhere to be found in our job description.

This criticism is fair and agreeable; however, having said that, there are several occasions when it is perfectly within the legal bounds of our authority to refuse to fill a prescription, or to “pry” into a patient’s personal life, as Mr. Jabari Asim words it. In fact, according to Florida law, under certain circumstances, a pharmacist cannot only refuse to fill a prescription, but can also confiscate it. Florida Pharmacy Law Sec. 893.12 states, “All substances controlled by this chapter…the lawful possession of which is not established or…to which cannot be ascertained, are declared to be contraband, are subject to seizure and confiscation…” What’s more, Sec. 64B16-27.831 not only states that, “Pharmacists should be diligent in preventing the diversion of drugs for illegitimate purposes,” but also that, “…the pharmacist knowingly filling (an illegitimate prescription) shall be subject to penalties for violations of the law.” So you see, not only are we able to act on certain suspicions, but also we can actually be punished legally if we do not. This is why painting with such a broad brush, as many opinion columnists do, is so hazardous.

Also, where is the “right to privacy” advocated in the U.S. Constitution anyway? Is it “intruding on a person’s privacy” to ask them if they smoke, drink, have any diseases, have allergies, have any pets, their date of birth, their social habits, their religious beliefs, whom they live with, etc.? These are all legitimate topics for pharmacists to address with patients. Does a pharmacist have to sell syringes to a drug addict, thus becoming his or her enabler? Must a pharmacist fill a prescription for Plan B (the “morning after” pill) with a year’s worth of refills on it? Should a pharmacist be able to confiscate a narcotic prescription that has been manipulated by a patient, which is a felonious offense? According to Mr. Asim, laws are being debated “that will specifically obligate pharmacists to fill all prescriptions.” Surely he is not suggesting that we ought to mindlessly fill any and all prescriptions. If so, then is this not just one more example of the patently absurd and exceedingly dangerous consequence emanating from self-righteous do-gooders who use “compassion” as a means to obliterate common sense and defile whatever it is that they choose to opine on? Freedom is not unlimited, and the line ought to be drawn when its exercise results in harm to others.

Lastly, one wonders if these indignant columnists are as outraged concerning the prying into Rush Limbaugh’s medical records. If they feel, as Mr. Asim does, that personal beliefs should not interfere with one’s work, then where do they stand on out of control activist judges who legislate from the bench, spineless politicians who refuse to protect our borders, military personnel who flee to Canada at the first sign of potential conflict, or news journalists who not only pick and choose which stories to report on but how to cover them?

There was a time, not long ago, when pharmacists were celebrating a long run as being the most trusted of all professionals in the country. One would hope that, although we have now dropped to number four, that we may still be given the benefit of the doubt before critics begin their barrage of libel and slander.

Jean-Marc Bovee, Pharm.D.