Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Of Ham Sandwiches And Burning Walgreens

If there's nothing else I want you to know about what's going on in Ferguson this night, only one point I could get across to you before you drift over to the Fox News Fear and Loathing Manufacturing Company, it would be this:

That was no Grand Jury Darren Wilson faced. Not in any sense that the American legal system defines one. Not in any way you or I would ever face one if we were ever charged with a crime.

For one thing, you or I would never "face one." That's not how any Grand Jury except this one works.

Let me bring you up to speed with what a Grand Jury is, and let's see how long it is before you smell the bullshit in the case of Darren Wilson. By all means double check anything I am about to say while you're here on the information superhighway.

Grand Juries have their roots back in the days of jolly olde England, when they were instituted as a check on the power of the Crown. Anyone arrested had to be charged with a crime and the prosecuting attorney had to go before a group of citizens and explain that there was some evidence that the person might have actually committed a crime. This was to keep the King from being able to lock up whoever he wanted for however long he wanted for no reason.

Except...Darren Wilson was never arrested, was he? There's your first clue something smells a little rotten here. No need to check the power of the government to keep someone locked up if no charges have been brought.

Hang with me here, and I'll tell you how Grand Jurys work in the world of the unconnected and unimportant. It's something like this:

Prosecutor: Ladies and Gentlemen, now we have the case of Drugmonkey, charged with narcotics possession. When arrested, he was found to have a hundred OxyContin in his pocket. I'm sure you'll agree that's enough evidence to proceed with the charges.

Grand Jurors: Yup.

Prosecutor: NEXT!!!!

That's it. As soon as the prosecutor can give the slightest reason why Drugmonkey was arrested, we move on. This is NOT the place where Drugmonkey says "I own a drugstore you dipshit, and I was delivering a prescription to one of my customers. Here's all the paperwork, which I'm sure you will find in order"

That part happens at the TRIAL. Where the prosecutor lets loose with all the evidence he's got, and Drugmonkey and his lawyer get to tear it to shreds, perhaps by putting Drugmonkey on the stand. Drugmonkey DOES NOT GET TO TELL HIS SIDE OF THE STORY AT THE GRAND JURY HEARING.

There's a saying in the legal profession that a prosecutor can get a Grand Jury to indict a ham sandwich. Because all he's doing is giving a reason why the person was arrested and should be charged. The way it works in the real world, it's nothing but a formality. In all of 2010, out of 162,000 federal court cases, a Grand Jury refused to indict someone 11 times. You read that right. A whopping 0.007% of the time, a Grand Jury thought there wasn't enough evidence for the government to have its day in court.

Are you smelling the bullshit yet? Because Darren Wilson DID get to tell his side of the story, didn't he? Instead of a prosecutor saying, "ladies and gentlemen the accused shot the victim 12 times, and there are conflicting eyewitness accounts as to what happened, I'm sure you'll agree we should sort this out in court." What we got was a mini-version of a real trial, where only one side got to tell its story, uninterrupted, with not a Grand Jury, but a group of people acting as a regular criminal jury making a decision.

A mini-trial that could only end one way. because if the jury doesn't go along, then Darren Wilson gets another shot at full blown trial.

They say a prosecutor can get a Grand Jury to indict that ham sandwich because what they mean is a Grand Jury will do whatever a prosecutor wants it to do. Which is exactly what happened here. This wasn't a Grand Jury hearing in any sense that it is known to the law. This was nothing but an elaborate cover-my-ass legal ruse by the prosecutor who had no intention of ever bringing a case against Darren Wilson.

And that's why you have a lot of angry people running around the streets of Ferguson, Missouri this night, doing things like burning down the local Walgreens to give white people an education. Because if it weren't for the riots in Los Angeles back in 1992 most of you honkies would still be ignorant of the way cops can act when they think no one is watching them. A riot seems to be the only way people who have been shit on for hundreds of years, fighting inch by blood soaked inch towards the promises this country makes its citizens, have of educating you snoozing in complacency what it's like in the parts of the system you never see.

Yesterday's riot lesson was the reality of police brutality, tonight's is the function of a Grand Jury in a society that clams to have equal protection under the law.

Let's hope you learned something.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Dear Person At Rite Aid Corporate Headquarters Whose Job It Is To Scour The Internet Looking For What People Are Saying About Your Company.

Guess what? My numbers are in, and my Rx count is up 15% from October of last year.

You haven't put out your numbers yet, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say you'll be patting yourself on the back pretty hard over a figure that's a lot lower.

So whatever you say about your results, that goes like double for me, huh?

And to think you once had this wizard of business, who I'll repeat, now regularly outperforms the vast majority of your managers, right in your ranks. Every bit of potential that is now flowering used to belong entirely to you.

I just wanted to make sure I put that somewhere where I knew you'd see it. You can go back to your part in ruining the profession now.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It's A War Of The Corporate Cocksuckers At Walgreens. Pull Up A Chair And Root For Lots Of Injuries.

Holy crap all hell is breaking loose at the Pharmacy America Trusts For Some Reason. Chaos in the corporate suites, anarchy in the executive ranks, a food fight in the corridors of power.

This afternoon though, I sat on hold with my local Walgreens for about 45 minutes with no human contact, which means it's pretty much business as usual at store level.

Alert readers of this blog may remember my poking fun at two Walgreens executives who were given the boot, along with a generous severance package, after apparently making a billion dollar profit projection error.

However it now seems that one of those executives, former Chief Financial Officer Wade Miquelon, takes exception to the term "error," when applied to him.

The lawsuit, filed on Oct. 16, was in response to allegedly false and defamatory statements about Miquelon, including that he was responsible for a $1.1 billion forecasting error. Miquelon says Walgreen CEO Gregory Wasson and Alliance Boots chairman Stefano Pessina made the statements during meetings with investors between Aug. 5 and Aug. 8. The Wall Street Journal... reported that Walgreen directors told the investors that they had no idea the forecasting change was coming.

   Walgreens CEO Gregory Wasson, addressing the media from a fort he made of apples. "Ain't no doctor gonna come within a mile of me."

Miquelon's probably gonna have to come up with some evidence that this billion dollar forecasting screwup wasn't all on him though. I don't envy him in that task. After all, he's going up against a very sophisticated titan of the business world, skilled in the ways of corporate culture and surely not likely to leave much help lying around for a lawyer trying to find proof that his client wasn't the only one involved.

 There are numerous other claims in the decidedly juicy lawsuit, such as that Wasson pressured Miquelon to forecast what the CFO thought was an entirely unreachable $6 earnings-per-share figure for fiscal year 2016. According to the court filing, on June 11 Wasson sent a text message to Miquelon that stated, “Let’s push for a 6 somehow.” Miquelon says he responded, “I don’t think there is any way we could ensure that,” to which he says Wasson replied, “No choice. Need a 6. We’ll find a way.”

D'OH! The dreaded Text message ploy! Whoever would have known such a thing would persist and have the ability to be recalled after it has been sent! Well played Mr. Miquelon, well played indeed. 

"I am sad. I wish I had more money. Also, that I had heard of Snapchat before right now."

One thing's for sure though, no matter where the facts take us, we can look forward to a thorough, fair hearing conducted on both sides by men of character and honor. 

 Miquelon’s lawsuit alleges that in a conference call on June 24, one activist hedge-fund investor told him that if he did not start “doing his job,” two other activist investors would “stop at nothing to get you out of the way, including getting personal dirt on you and embarrassing you publicly.

Wait. Forgot who I was talking about there for a second. Never mind. 

So, let's recap. Walgreens is off by a billion dollars or so on a recent profit projection, and promptly blames the Chief Financial Officer, who then leaves the company with a $4.7 million dollar check. Chief Financial Officer then says, "Oh no you don't! you were putting pressure on me to make that projection after I didn't want to, and now I'm going to sue you for a lot of money!" Which evidently $4.7 million doesn't qualify as. "See you in court bitch!"

And I didn't even get to the part where Miquelon claims he was promised the CEO job if he would just play ball. We could just be getting warmed up here my friends.

Reached for comment, a CVS spokesman issued a statement that read in part: BBBBBBWWWWWWAAAAAAAHHHHHHAAAAAAHHHHHAAAAAAHHHAAAA!!!!!!!!! THIS IS AWESOME!! Meanwhile, in Lima, Ohio, Walgreen's customer Larry Heisen said meekly, "I just wish they'd pick up the phone." 

Monday, October 20, 2014

I Stand This Night In Awe Of The Evil Brilliance of CVS. Or, Maybe Republicans Aren't Always Wrong About Everything.

"Drugmonkey there's some sort of typo in your headline" you're saying. "You've never once had anything good to say about CVS,  I know you make more than your share of slips on the keyboard, but this time is the whopper of them all. "

Except it wasn't a typo. Yes, I once made a joke about the company getting into a new scandal every month that turned out not to be a joke because they seriously do seem to get busted for something with every turn of the calendar page.

And yes, the second most visited page in the history of my little blog garden is that in which I gave space to a CVS employee who opens up on the company with both barrels. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I've never....seen anything....like the hatred CVS employees seem to have for their corporate master.

But I meant it when I just said I am in awe of them this night. They may have just made the move from evil to evil genius.

Let's back up a bit and remember the last time the company made national headlines, getting even the President of The United States to notice they were no longer going to sell tobacco in their stores. Speculation ran rampant as to the motivations of such a move, which was estimated to cost them $2 billion in annual sales. "Well, tobacco is a no growth category" the conventional wisdom went, "they evidently feel the good publicity will be worth whatever loss in revenue will occur, and it probably will help their Minute Care clinics pick up a contract or two. "

Oh how you underestimated these guys mainstream business pundits. It's more than just a contract or two at stake here.

For those of you playing along at home who don't follow the prescription processing industry, I'll mention here that CVS also owns Caremark, the second largest prescription benefit manager  in the country.

Now hold onto your seats, because here it comes, via The Wall Street Journal's Pharmalot blog: 

Caremark... will soon require some customers to make an extra co-payment, in some cases up to $15, on any prescription that is filled at a pharmacy selling cigarettes and other tobacco products

...and in one fell swoop my friends, CVS can potentially cripple it's two main rivals though the 1 in 4 Americans whose prescriptions are managed by Caremark. Absolutely fucking brilliant. "We'll be agnostic [about] where the consumer fills their prescription," said CVS CEO Tom Ryan when the merger with Caremark was under regulatory review. " Well, it looks like they just found religion.

And I'm just....not sure how I feel about this. Other than being awed by the evil brilliance of the plan. I mean, there's no way you can say this isn't using the power of oligopoly to deliver Walgreens and Rite Aid a kick to the nuts, but ...if I were in a position to do it, I'd be more than happy to crush either one of those company's testicles. And you know, tobacco in pharmacies IS stupid. It was a burr up my ass every day I worked for Rite Aid and had to stare at the cigarettes on the other side of the store while selling people asthma meds. I even once wrote my State Representative and Senator, who was on the health committee at the time, making a case for the California pharmacy board to deny a license to any location that sold tobacco. Never heard back from the Representative. Got a letter full of nothing from the Senator.

Yet here we have a brutal bastard vs bastard vs bastard free market business free for all accomplishing what impotent government officials gave nothing but lip service to. The other "Big Two" are gonna either give up tobacco or lose a shitload of prescriptions.

Which... is exactly what should happen. I guess the free market wins this round, said the pinko pharmacist who never did sell tobacco in his store.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Return Of Rick Scott, Who May Finally Get The Karmic Payback He Deserves, For The Most Incredible Of Reasons.

The political junkies among you may already know which direction the wind is about to take this post, but stick around, I want to make sure you get the whole recap here, not that it will matter.

I've warned you, and those of you in Florida in particular, about Rick Scott more than once. Rick Scott is a crook. A thief whose company, a chain of for-profit hospitals by the name of Columbia/HCA, ripped off Medicare and Medicaid to the tune of over a billion dollars, and then had the chutzpah to enter the debate over President Obama's health care plan with privately financed commercials emphasizing that any solution had to be built on "accountability and personal responsibility"

I'm not making that up. By all means do a Google search and double check me.

I asked you to remember this the next time you start to judge the Medicaid momma who comes in your store looking for some free Tylenol for her feverish kid. To maybe keep some perspective when comparing her actions to the rich white crook. Instead, you made Rick Scott the governor of Florida, which I understand some may consider a fate worse than death. In Rick Scott's world though, it is considered a validation of his lifestyle.

He went on to refuse to take any of the free money the federal government was offering states to expand their Medicaid programs. Perhaps because he was no longer in a position to steal any of it.

But Rick Scott may be about to get his comeuppance. Not because of his unethical business practices mind you, nor for his rank hypocrisy. Rick Scott my friends, has finally done something far worse in this day and age.

He looked stupid on television.

According to saintpetersblog.com, Scott's hissy fit "cost him two or three critical points" in the opinion polls, flipping his slight lead into a slight deficit.

Christ on a cracker.

So here's our lesson for the day. I want you to imagine what would have happened if Rick Scott had a political instinct that was even slightly honed. If he had just acted like a grown up and ignored the fan, or even if he brushed off some charm skills and make a little joke about it. Holy cow depending on the quality of the quip he could have crushed his opponent right then and there. After stealing a billion dollars. And shouting for all that would hear, after stealing a billion dollars, about the need for "accountability" I want you to think about that for awhile and what it says about the viability of our democracy.

Because the answer my friend, with apologies to Bob Dylan, is quite literally, blowin' in the wind.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Back When It Wasn't So Busy, Ebola Made A Guest Appearance In This Very Blog.

Original blogpost airdate January 31,2008

President Wankerhead Will Release A Budget Proposal For The Federal Government Monday, Prompting Joy For Reasons Other Than He'll Never Do It Again.

From this morning's New York Times:

In his new budget to be unveiled Monday, President Bush will call for large cuts in the growth of Medicare, far exceeding what he proposed last year, and he will again seek major savings in Medicaid, according to administration officials and budget documents.

Reached for comment in the lung of an elderly woman at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Mycobacterium tuberculosis said "While on the surface the cut in health care funding for America's elderly and poor would seem to be a good thing, we have to remember that the conditions setting the stage for my comeback are not all financial. It is my sincere hope that the money my prey spends for health care will not only not cover the cost of inflation, but that Americans will never realize that they could actually spend less and be more effective in their genocidal campaign against my species by simply copying the health care system of Canada."

"Overall, I'd say the president's budget makes me cautiously optimistic" concluded the bacterium.

At its headquarters in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ebola virus issued an emotional, short statement:

"HUMANS DIE!!!!! said the virus through an interpreter. "ME FIND YOU! YOU MAKE JOB EASIER!!!!!"

Sources said Ebola was especially excited about the president's proposal to to reduce special Medicare payments to teaching hospitals by $23 billion dollars*


Meanwhile, a spokesman for bird flu promised that if Bush's funding proposals were accepted by Congress, it would limit its effects only to those without good health insurance once it developed a way to cross the species barrier.

"We have our best viruses working on how to infect humans more effectively" said the spokesman. "But we are willing to spare the rich among you if you only give us a chance to taste sweet, sweet, human blood"

"You can trust the word of a bird flu virus" he concluded. What's in your wallet?

*You know the quotes are made up. The special cut in funding for teaching hospitals, however, is real.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Jazzfests And Milestones.

I heard the note and held on to it as long as I could. Held on until the last one of the night was played I did, the gloom slowly settling inside my mind as it came just as assuredly as the fog was settling in outside on the bay. One last trumpet blast and the Monterey Jazzfest was over for another year. Maybe my last year.

Unemployment is like slowly spiraling down a drain. You wake up the next day and almost nothing has changed, you've probably slept in a little and actually feel a little better than when the alarm clock ruled your life the day before. You work on your resume' a little and fantasize about landing that position that has none of the problems of your now ex-job.

The day after that you wake up and realize you're getting low on coffee and empty on cash. The drain on your resources begins. You make the first withdrawal from the ATM that has no assurance of ever being replaced.

The trappings of affluence slowly start to fall away. The day before Jazzfest I had used the last of my Laphroaig and begun my unemployment gin in the plastic bottle. As much as CVS wants the world to think of them as some sort of health center now that they stopped the tobacco it remains a wonderful place to find cheap ways to rot your liver.

Jazzfest tickets are a crown jewel perk of the affluent. Being used that night two years ago in a different world from when they were purchased. There had been no bites on the resume'

And I wasn't kidding myself that there ever would be. I had just spent the last seven years flipping the middle finger to the decision makers in my industry and there wasn't any assurance I wasn't in a long, slow drain spiral, spinning off the comforts of the comfortable until I slid into homelessness with nothing but a pair of once-fashionable eyeglasses.

That was probably an exaggeration I kept telling myself. But make no mistake, life is different when the soul-crushing large checks those pharmacy chains can write you stop coming in.

At least I had an uncrushed soul now.

I couldn't hold on to that last trumpet note forever so I picked up the bag with the vinyl copy of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew that I probably shouldn't have bought and started walking and when the lady at the gate said "see you next year" I almost cried.

And I kept walking home and thinking and walking and falling and spinning a little closer to that drain. The money isn't the worst part of being unemployed. It's that persistent feeling of uselessness. When you wake up and make that coffee run you are surrounded from the moment you leave your condo with people with a purpose. The gardener. The plumber that just drove by. The people riding the bus to work. They all have a function this day, a role to play in this world that is humming along and you do not.  The most you can think of yourself is as some sort of spare part.

That's what it feels like from the moment you get out of bed. So the day after Jazzfest two years ago I didn't get out of bed.

But...that was two years ago. Tonight, I just got back, from this years Jazzfest. The Roots kicked ass and I'm getting married in April and I haven't been this happy in a long time.

And to the decision makers in my industry, or, should I say, my fellow decision makers now, this middle finger's for you. I haven't forgotten. Here's to a good many more years of it being right in front of your face.

Friday, September 12, 2014

I Am Nothing If Not A Man Of My Word.

I needed a favor and I mindlessly threw in a deal sweetener. It probably wasn't necessary. The Angry Pharmacist is actually much nicer than you would think, and he probably would have done it for me anyway. But I said it.

"If you do this for me I'll even write something Republican friendly on the blog"


OK, let's see here.................


Ummmmm....Oh. I think I have something. Here we go:

Neither Marco Rubio, or any other Republican, has ever cut off the head of anyone on a video broadcast on the internet throughout the world.

That I know of.

I think the fact that the bloodthirsty religious whack jobs of the GOP limit themselves to abortion clinic bombings, and the occasional doctor assassination, and that they choose not to film their acts for propaganda purposes, reflects somewhat positively on their character when compared to the bloodthirsty religious whack jobs of ISIS.

Glad I got that off my chest. I must be more careful with my promises in the future.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Area Blogger Traumatized By Threat From Anonymous Douche.

DRUGMONKEYLAND, CA-  In a development that might shake the pharmacy blogging world to its very core,  longtime publisher of the "Your Pharmacist May Hate You" blog Drugmonkey received an email today that may forever change his relationship with the completely never sarcastic blog he has been publishing since February, 2005 (Longer than The Angry Pharmacist, regardless of what he says on his Twitter feed) The potentially earth shattering message read, in whole:

Your writing style usually rides a fine line between informative and entertainment in the form of satire. Lately, your use of sarcasm has been taken to such heights that it feels like I'm reading The Onion. I don't like The Onion. 

I am a long time fan of your page and satisfied owner The Pharmacy Rip Off List, but if this is a sign of things to come then you may loose me as a an advid reader.

"It was like my world had ended" Drugmonkey said from his undisclosed location deep in The Sierra Nevada Mountains. "I mean, I realize I had taken the blog in a completely different direction with my post about Walgreens executives getting millions of dollars in severance pay after making a billion dollar error, but never in my wildest dreams did I realize an Onion rip-off article, which I had never, ever attempted before, might alienate one lone reader the way it seems to have done here."

"So after I read this I realized I had a choice. Have my writing style associated with an award winning, incredibly popular, wildly successful cutting edge comedy publication, or take a chance on "loosing" an "advid" reader.

(Look, I realize I may need a copy editor more than most people, but is anyone on the internet ever going to get this right ever again?   Loose is the opposite of tight for fuck's sake, and lose is the opposite of gain or win)

After a bout of weeping The Drugmonkey continued. "I was lost and unsure how to handle this. I prayed and cried. I went on a Native American visionquest journey and reached deep into my soul, and finally, I think I may have the answer."

"I will offer a full refund to this unsatisfied asswipe who is evidently the center of the universe. Every penny they have ever paid to access my blog shall be returned. I will also realize that anyone who claims to be a "long time fan" and never seen an Onion-like post is full of shit. "

At press time The Drugmonkey was unsure if he should change his mind and beg forgiveness from the asshole.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

An Innovative, Outside The Box Incentive Program From Industry Leader Walgreens

Deerfield, IL- Corporate executives at Walgreens, the nation's largest pharmacy chain, today announced a new employee bonus program that they promised would "shake up the retail industry, if not the entire business world" at a press conference at its Zug, Switzerland Illinois corporate headquarters.  "We're turning conventional thinking upside down" stated company CEO Greg Wasson. "How? Well hang on to your seats. By rewarding.....failure"

According to Wasson, effective immediately, all Walgreens employees will receive anywhere from 0.75 to 1.2 percent of any financial errors they are responsible for in direct payments from the company. "Now granted, to a cashier whose drawer is off by ten dollars at the end of a shift, a payment of an extra dime may not mean much, and let's face it, a store manager getting an extra ten dollars for a deposit off by $1000 certainly won't be a game changer. That's why I'm announcing the start of this program with two executives who we think will become emblematic of what we're trying to accomplish. Wade, Kermit, step on up here."  

Mr. Wasson was then joined at the podium by Company Chief Financial Officer Wade Miquelon and President of pharmacy, health, and wellness Kermit Crawford*

"Now, these two men were recently responsible for a billion dollar forecasting error when projecting our upcoming Medicare business" Mr. Wasson continued. "And there's no company where a billion dollars isn't a good sized chunk of change, so naturally, we have to let them go. But not before, and I want everyone to know this, we load them up with payments and compensation worth $8.5 million and $12 million, respectively."**

"That's right" Wasson said "Write that down for the whole world to see. Make a billion dollar fuckup at Walgreens and walk away rich!"

Asked how a plan that rewarded failure could possibly further the company's interests, Wasson replied "That's the genius of this whole thing. Like I said, this won't mean a whole lot to the vast majority of our employees. Right now that is. But what it does is let them know that if they work their way up to a position where they are responsible for a whole lot of dollars, well...then the world is their oyster. So what we're gonna have here is 250,000 employees striving every day to reach a position of greater responsibility so they too can have a $10 million screwup payday. And quite honestly, 250,000 store-level employees giving their best is worth far more than one fuckup at the top."

While executive-level business people were almost universally positive in their reaction to the new bonus program, others were more skeptical.

"I don't see how this changes current executive compensation practices at all" said Harvard business professor Camfield Rosenburg. "And to be effective, the expansion of fuckup bonuses to store level employees would have to be coupled with a policy where promotions to positions of great responsibility were based on positive performance. And I didn't see anything in today's announcement to indicate such a change has taken place."

After the press conference, Miquelon and Crawford issued a joint statement that read simply "Moneymoneymoneymoney Brrrraaaahhhhhaaaahhhaaahhhaaaaaaaa!!!!!"

*As much as I would like to say I made this up,  "Kermit Crawford" is the guy's real name. 

** I didn't make  this up either. In case you were too lazy to click on the link, these guys made a billion dollar screwup and were rewarded with millions of dollars in severance money.