Magazine article Drug Topics

His 36-Year Career Takes Twists, Turns

Magazine article Drug Topics

His 36-Year Career Takes Twists, Turns

Article excerpt

When I hear these career exhortations, I chuckle. I've had no need for fancy buzzwords. Permutations have been the name of the game since I started my pharmacy career 36 years ago.

I completed the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy's five-year program in three years-at a total tuition cost of $540!

I first hung my hat in a pharmacy in an acute care medical/surgical facility, working with three pharmacists, a runner, and another apprentice pharmacist. (In those days, you could even practice pharmacy without a college degree. My fellow apprentice skipped college and kept taking the boards until she passed.) Then to a lively suburban drugstore, where the proprietor knew all customers by name and all about their families. From this master I learned people skills, a trademark of my career. Rounding out my apprenticeship was a glitzy prescription-only shop on Chicago's sophisticated Rush St., where it was one script after another. The highlight of each day was the huge over-the-counter business we did in alum for the area "ladies of the evening."

When ya goiter Slaw lo...

My first real pharmacist job was with the Volk Radiochemical Co. in Skokie. I earned my paychecks by manufacturing radioisotopes. I really enjoyed working in the "hot boxes" with the manipulators, but I was in a constant sweat that I would spill an isotope or blow up the building-catastrophes that, of course, could not happen. My kids used to joke about how dad could be a nightlight. (I still glow a little on really dark nights.)

From manufacturing, I zigged into sales, eventually becoming Volk's national sales manager. Then a zag, occasioned by the FDA's new rules requiring the submission of New Drug Applications for our products. I was put in charge of writing the applications. My first completed NDA was taller than I was and weighed in at several hundred pounds! Volk was purchased by Mallincrodt, and I zigged againthis time into the sale of medical devices and supplies.

The Blues

I landed at the National Association of Blue Shield Plans through a want ad. I segued into a position with the Blue Cross Association, where I was in charge of developing specialized insurance products, such as drug, dental, and other coverages, including controversial benefits for abortion and organ transplantation. …

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