Having lived as long as I have, one thing I’ve learned is that the government, with its long arm of bureaus and regulatory agencies, is not our friend. In my view, the government and its entities exist to tax us, restrict and control our lives, and amass as much power as possible. The government micro-management of pharmacists and doctors is a good example.
I’ll start with some personal information. My father was a pharmacist with a college diploma that allowed him to practice what one of my favorite college professors, Dr. Cyrus Cox, called “the ancient and noble art of the apothecary.” The shelves of my father’s pharmacy were lined with containers of dried herbs, leaves, berries and roots, and other natural substances used to prepare complex prescriptions ordered by doctors. In pharmacy school, I had to take a course in “pharmacognosy” that enabled me to identify and know the uses of various natural substances.
Knowledge of natural substances lost its luster when penicillin and other anti-bacterial drugs became available and dispensed at a pharmacy. Doctors prescribed these new drugs for everything from colds to ingrown toenails. The era of having to know something valuable devolved into “just add water and dispense.”
Somewhere along the way, it wasn’t enough to be a pharmacist; it became necessary to have a license that had to be renewed after a certain number of years. That was okay — it was just the government exerting its power to control anything and everything. But it didn’t end there.
Today, not only do I have to renew my license every two years, but I also have to complete 30 Continuing Education Credits (CE) within those two years to prove I’m competent to “count and pour.”
Yes, I do the required CE but I hate it — it has no relevance for the pharmacist who works retail. It’s designed for clinical pharmacists who work in a hospital and advise doctors on what to prescribe for a patient with a particular condition. It’s a different animal.
But wait! There’s more! It’s not enough to have a license, but for doctors, “experts” wonder if a doctor should be re-tested because of advanced age. See Would you go to a 100-Year-Old Doctor? Isn’t it enough to require completion of mandatory continuing education credits CE)? Apparently not. The “experts” in charge want even more control over your life. They believe that you are too stupid to make good decisions because of your advanced age. If your doctor is 100 years old or more and he or she helps to improve your health issues, why does age matter? Chronological age is a number that has no control over your mental or physical competence. (Ignore the strikethrough – the link is live)
In an article I wrote last month, I mentioned 100-year-old neurologist Dr. Howard Tucker who still sees patients and refuses to retire because he realizes that retirement is the enemy of healthy longevity. He is one of the rare individuals who understands that simple truth.
I acknowledge that Dr. Tucker is unusual, but that doesn’t make him incompetent. The bottom line is that we individuals are responsible in great measure for our decline that develops due to how we have lived over the years and what we allow to go on in our heads. People as young as 60 believe they are OLD. They tell themselves that because that’s what our culture tells them. It’s really sad that we talk and THINK our way into decline. But that’s another article.
We shouldn’t worry about the competence of a 100-year-old doctor. If he’s “over the hill,’ his peers will recognize that and report it to the medical board, and patients will avoid him. He doesn’t need to be burdened with an academic test he is unlikely to pass because it is designed to force. his retirement.
Frankly, I’d rather see a 100-year-old doctor who is cognitively sharp and wise than a young know-it-all fresh out of medical school, full of himself, with limited life experience. There should be a limit to licensing requirements. When requirements just don’t make sense, it’s time to back off and exercise some common sense. But that’s asking a lot from our government that wants to control every aspect of our lives.