Monday, January 22, 2007

Pharmacists -- they make me (green flashing ) cross

France has too many pharmacists and too few plumbers.
A Latrine Presidency would address these issues as a matter of urgency.
My research assistants, sisters Bettina and Edwina Brown-Staynemarx (affectionately known on the campaign trail as Teeny and Weeny) have been looking into these related subjects in some detail.
Pharmacists first.
There are simply far too many of them. Not only this but they all have shingles. Shingles, that is, in the sense of a signboard hung outside the place of business. Obviously they don't have shingles in the sense of the eruptive form of Herpes Zoster, because they are pharmacists and can avoid such things.
No, the shingles they have are vast illuminated green crosses. These things, often with a surface area of several hectares, are controlled by highly complex computer systems causing their myriad lights to flash on and off in a complicated but consistently repugnant fashion. Teeny and Weeny have calculated that if we were to scrap pharmacists' signs, then France's entire electricity requirement could be furnished by a small dung-burning power station on the outskirts of Saint Omer. This would be a good thing.
The irritating shingles aren't the only bad thing about pharmacists in France. Far far worse is the fact that there are so many of them and all (or nearly all) of them are independent.
Now, I've got nothing against someone who has put in the hard yards needed to train as a pharmacist going on and making a decent living. However, they have come to represent the worst of French state intervention and protectionism.
To become a pharmacist is to be granted the proverbial licence to print money. They have a de facto state protected monopoly and can thus afford to power their hideous flashing crosses and still make a mint. Obviously there is no incentive for them to compete, other than in the size and visual complexity of their crosses, so they grow fat on the proceeds of drugs dispensed under the strong-arm protection of the French government and ridiculously over-priced shampoos.
As is often the case in protected markets, it is tempting to imagine that the pharmacists benefit from this arrangement, and to a limited extent this is the case. But the benefits are limited, circumscribed by the very system that protects them. A really good pharmacist (and perhaps such folk exist) would be unable build a large chain of green crosses offering excellent customer service and keen prices because all their rivals enjoy the same protection for their patch.
Customers certainly don't benefit, except for those who are being treated for an allergy to money. Nor do taxpayers come out of the arrangement particularly well, as they have to shell out a fee for every prescription dispensed.
A Latrine presidency would bust open this cosy world and seek to introduce competition rather than complacency.
Oh and we'd ban the flashing crosses too. It would be greener.
LibEgFrat to you all


Désiré Les Pipes said...

Mon Cher Latrine,

I am uniquely qualified to comment on your latest blog writing as:

1. I am a French man
2. I am the plumber
3. I have the knowledge of the Pharmaceuticals French.

I mostly do my business in Suisse as here I can get more money. This I like. I can also sell some pharmaceuticals which gets me more money. This is good and this is why maybe there is not so many plumbers in France.

It is in Switzerland that I find your name – Victor. It is written on the front of a large apron worn by the lady of the house where I work. It says ‘Go Victor Go’. Then she turn round and she show me the derrière. This is not so nice. I think the letter she has written to you. Her name is Frau Schitter.

I think you have an expression in your country which is not with the barge pole to touch. And be careful when she taken from the nice big bag of pharmaceuticals that I sell her.

But the trick with the fromage Emantale it is very clever.

I wish you well

Désiré Les Pipes

The Offical Blog Surveyor said...

I hereby certify that this blog has plumbed to a record low.

Congratulations - a certificate will be awarded.

The Official Blog Surveyor