1969: pharmacists vs bricklayers

Pharmacy’s problems escaped the “average housewife and the ‘man in the street'” back in 1969, although the public doubted “they would earn as much as a bricklayer”

A four city public opinion quiz conducted by AJP in October of that year (and reported in the November 1969 edition) found that “the problems that pharmacies sees within itself seem to have largely escaped the notice of the average housewife and the ‘man-in-the-street'”.

While many of the findings were largely positive for community pharmacy, the report revealed one “sour note” with “almost as many” people saying they would prefer to shop for pharmaceutical lines in a supermarket as those who would prefer to use a pharmacy.

Most of those who indicated a preference for supermarkets said they did so due to price.

Only a quarter of people perceived pharmacists as being “wealthy members of the community”, with 11% rating them in the highest income bracket, and 13% saying they were “comfortably situated”.

One Sydney woman said “if chemists were really wealthy they would not stay open for such long hours”.

Another respondent “doubted whether a chemist would make as much money as a bricklayer”.   

Surprisingly, pharmacy patrons ranked purchasing toiletries, films and gifts as bigger factors in frequenting a pharmacy than buying pharmaceuticals.

The article said people might be “making the assumption that most were taking OTC proprietaries for granted” as a reason for going to a pharmacy.    

Among the other findings: 

  • 81% of respondents said they regarded pharmacists as “professional people” rather than shopkeepers
  • More than half took it for granted that pharmacists had a university degree
  • The “overwhelming majority” said they were impressed by the service given by pharmacies
  • Nearly half said they only visited a pharmacy once a month, or less


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  1. Anthony Zehetner

    ‘One Sydney woman said “if chemists were really wealthy they would not stay open for such long hours”.’

    — Good to know altrusim isn’t dead!

  2. Andrew

    A quick google suggests pharmacists wages are at parity with qualified bricklayers.

  3. Being sarcastic: employee pharmacists are rich in 2020, so they don’t need any professional wage, they are getting and are ok with $29.41 per hour. It just takes 10-15 years for a pharmacist to recover their money that they paid for University fee, time spent in studies that could be used to earn full time wages. The abuse and stress they get is absolute reward.

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