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Pharmacists on screen

With doctors appearing on our screens left, right and centre, community pharmacist Babir Malik investigates when pharmacists have made it onto the box

There does not appear to be many pharmacists on the big or small screen. There are countless televisions shows featuring doctors but pharmacists hardly get a mention. I have never seen a character in Hollyoaks buy EHC from their local pharmacy or go for a chlamydia test.

This is what I could find:

Films

The Pharmacist (2010) A drug-dealing pharmacist quits dealing when he falls in love with a woman who wants nothing to do with drugs. But when a psychotic killer informs the pharmacist that they are now business partners, quitting is no longer an option.

There was a pharmacist in the Liam Neeson action film Taken and also a character called The Pharmacist in the comic book movie Wanted starring James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie. Remember them? Me neither…

Foreign films

Die Apothekerin (1997): A German film about a lady called Hella who works in a pharmacy.

Le pharmacien de garde (2003): A French film about an ecological pharmacist who uses ancient Celtic techniques to murder industrial magnates whose practices harm the planet.

Video game

Freddy Pharkas, Frontier Pharmacist (1994) The adventures of Freddy Pharkas, a pharmacist living in Coarsegold in the 1800s, where he moved to cover up his past as a former gunslinger who quit when he got his ear shot off by a rival.

Cartoons

Family Guy: Mort Goldman

The Simpsons: Ned Flanders used to be a pharmacist

TV

Desperate Housewives: George dated Bree and then tried to poison her husband

Nurse Jackie: Eddie trades prescription drugs for sex.

House: There was a hospital pharmacist in six episodes.

Two and half men: Pharmacist who supplies Charlie with, among other things, medical canabis

Short films

The Pharmacist (1933): A henpecked but stoic pharmacist tries to maintain his precarious balance while dealing with demanding customers and his dysfunctional family.

Keith Cafferty: Pharmacist (2006). Keith spends his monotonous days working at a pharmacy, creatively dispensing medication to his ill patients.

The Pharmacist

Another short film is the recently released The Pharmacist. I told my friend Iqbal Mohammed about it after I heard about it on Twitter (I made a small financial contribution to the film). Iqbal is a pharmacist from West Yorkshire who went on to become an executive producer of the film and flew out to Washington for the filming.

The film had its UK charity premiere in Huddersfield on February 26, 2012. It was well attended by people from all over the country including Doncaster, Manchester and Essex.

The movie was well received and comments included:

Nadeem (non pharmacist): I'm all for technology, anything that makes life easier by automating the simplest of procedures is a win-win situation. However, The Pharmacist gives a great insight as to how this may not always be the case. A fantastic watch for all.

@miss_njun (pharmacy student) via Twitter:  "This film provided a much needed insight into a caring profession that is undermined by many and misrepresented to the public. The resentment of the pharmacist towards a vending machine forced into his workplace by greedy bosses highlights the caring nature of a genuine pharmacist.

Money raised from ticket sales and donations on the night went to NSPCC and The Variety Club. This was more than £1,000

 Future television show ideas

1] A sequel to Diagnosis Murder called Dispensing Justice

2] The Locum: A former SAS soldier turned pharmacist goes from pharmacy to pharmacy just trying to keep his head down and do some CPD. However, every week in his two hour absence he has to help out someone in need and this generally ends in violence.

3] Plotline for the BBC TV show Doctors: After the local pharmacist refuses to pay the GPs protection money, they decide to open up a 100-hour pharmacy in the surgery.

Final thought

@sarayummymummy via Twitter: I think there are not enough roles on TV with pharmacists and I think it's a good question to ask why? And hence why our public image is not dominant and people's perceptions are different. I think it's important that each individual pharmacist has an impact on their community and by doing this, they will drive more people into the pharmacy.

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