Flush With Good Intentions

See, now this is the kind of thing I’ve been talking about:  today’s headlines regarding medicine and health care are often so stupid, so incomprehensibly ridiculous, that it’s getting tough to tell whether or not I’m being had by well-crafted parody.

Take for instance, the opioid “CRISIS.”  Apart from inviting state officials to further meddle in practices that were not problematic to begin with, the fashionable hysteria leads to all sorts of dumb spinoffs.  “Albertsons Companies is offering customers an easy at-home opioid disposal option at nearly 1,800 pharmacy counters across the country.” 

Is this wonderful service free?  No, there is a nominal $1.20 charge per packet of a “proprietary powder” mixed with water in the pill vial to render the threatening opioids harmless, a service so comforting and anxiety alleviating that the user should offer to pay triple for the sheer piece of mind doubtless to wash over him.  With admirable self-effacing modesty, Albertsons says their magical powder is “effective, eco-friendly.” 

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Sceptics and scoffs will suggest that the kindly supermarket chain is merely trying to deflect any future legal concerns attached to their pharmacies as collateral damage from this “CRISIS,” but that would be unworthy of so noble an effort from a corporation which at any rate has no known ties to Chinese fentanyl distribution.  Certainly counters will sport posters and staff will offer friendly reminders to arthritic seniors, attempting to guilt them, or their families, for their own good into turning these medications threatening to unravel the last shreds of our civic unity.  “As it stands, more than 1,700 Albertsonspharmacies have pharmacists trained to administer naloxone, which is a medication used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. In addition, 4,500 of its pharmacists are trained to counsel patients on the benefits, availability and eligibility of naloxone therapy.”  Yes, heroes come in all sizes and shapes of white coats.

“’In less than a minute, patients can prevent their leftover opioids from being diverted in their communities, prevent accidental poisonings in the home, and avoid polluting the water supply,’ said Mark Panzer, senior vice president of Pharmacy Health and Wellness of Albertsons Companies.” 

One can expect this noble effort to be just as effective in decreasing opioid deaths as various gun buyback programs have been at reducing shooting deaths.

Of course, the miscreant opioid gobblers so threatening to their communities could simply flush their pills.  But where’s the virtue in that?

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Pat Conrad MD

Pat Conrad is a full-time rural ER doc on the Florida Gulf Coast. After serving as a carrier naval flight officer, he graduated from the University of Florida College of Medicine, and the Tallahassee Family Medicine residency program. His commentary has appeared in Medical Economics and at AuthenticMedicine.com . Conrad’s work stresses individual freedom and autonomy as the crucial foundation for medical excellence, is wary of all collective solutions, and recognizes that the vast majority of poisonous snakebites are concurrent with alcohol consumption. 

  2 comments for “Flush With Good Intentions

  1. JRDO
    September 23, 2019 at 10:03 am

    In my area there are pharmacies that dispense Atorvastatin, Metformin, Amoxicillin, Cephalexin, Bactrim DS and a few other rx at no cost. No cost to the patient and no bill to the pharmacy. Why do they do this? It’s a loss leader- get the customer in the door for free cheapo items and they are likely to buy something else as they go through the store.
    Albertson’s is probably doing the same thing here, just trying to get people into the store..
    It’s business as usual.

  2. Randy
    September 23, 2019 at 9:03 am

    Great that Albertson’s has trained their pharmacists to administer Naloxone for all those patients actually overdosing at the pharmacy.

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