Returning to normal

September 1945: World War II is over, and restrictions on medicine sales, and pharmacy ownership were being lifted. Meanwhile, readers were unhappy with GPs’ script standards

The recent cessation of the war had “brought about a rapid discontinuance of many controls to which pharmaceutical chemists have been subjected during recent years,” reported the AJP in its September 1945 issue.

“Notices of revocation have been issued in quick succession, and from various sources, so that it has been difficult to follow the position from day to day,” the report said.

The wartime Pharmaceutical Chemists’ Control Order was revoked on September 8. This meant pharmacists could now:

  • Purchase a pharmacy or establish a new pharmacy.
  • Dispose of or close a pharmacy.
  • Change the location of a pharmacy.
  • Leave their place of employment without first obtaining the consent of the Deputy Director-General of Manpower in their State.

In addition, pharmacy employers were now allowed to “engage, without the consent of the Manpower authorities, any person under 18 years of age and females over 45 years of age”.

The government also announced that “all manpower controls will be lifted before the end of the present year”.

Restrictions on the sale of a wide range of medicines were also lifted in early September, and the only products or ingredients remaining under control were:

  • Emetine and Salts.
  • Filix Mas and Extracts.
  • Anti-Malarials.
  • Quinine and Salts.
  • Quinidine.
  • Creosote.
  • Colchicine.
  • Colchicum.
  • Ipecacuahna and preparations.

Meanwhile, AJP readers were complaining about what they saw as the declining quality of prescriptions being provided by younger GPs.

In a letter to the editor, NSW pharmacist S Dawson wrote: “the practitioner of to-day undoubtedly has a more scientific approach to his subject than the old G.P. of yesterday, but there is one phase of medicine that seems to have gone into a decline, and is fast reaching the stage of being a lost art—the writing of prescriptions”.

“As a pharmacist with a fair experience in the profession, I have observed the decline and fall of the medical prescription, until to-day it is unusual to find a young practitioner who writes a real prescription.” .

“The old-fashioned G.P. did not know perhaps one-tenth as much as a present-day sixth-year student about many subjects, but he did know what drugs he wanted to prescribe, and the best way to exhibit them. He was able to combine them with some degree of success, because it was part of his training to write a prescription, whereas to-day it is a very unimportant part of the work done by a student”.

“Leaving out for the moment the tendency for the prescriber to write an order for “100 Bloggs’ Pills” or “Tab. 123,” there is that new idea of writing quantities in Arabic numerals, and the directions in some strange combination of Latin and English that is neither good Latin nor good English, such as “i fl. oz. t.d.s. with meals, and nocte.” There is a complete lack of pride in the ability to write good Latin, as it is considered too old-fashioned, but at least they could be taught to write good English, if the directions must be written in English, with which I fail to agree”.

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