Chemists aren’t Pharmacists

When reading the latest issue of the NZ Skeptic, I was somewhat dismayed to find that both our worthy Chair-Entity, and our Hokum Locum failed to appreciate the difference between a chemist and a pharmacist/druggist. Although this is a common failure on the part of the general public I would have expected better from fellow Skeptics.

For example, I have a BSc in chemistry (and biochemistry) and am a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry. Thus I may rightly claim to be a chemist, yet I cannot sell drugs or dispense prescription medicines. In my experience, few pharmacists/druggists have much knowledge of chemistry, let alone any formal qualification in chemistry, so have no right to be called “chemists” despite common misuse of the appellation.

John R.L. Walker, BSc(Hons), PhD, FNZIC, Dept of Plant & Microbial Sciences, University of Canterbury

Grovel, Grovel and a Quick Right Cross

OK, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

Sorry John, and all you other real chemists out there for defaming the name of the chemically competent. Yes, I was talking about pharmacists when discussing those so-called “health professionals you see most often”.

(In defense, and appealing to authority — something we Skeptics never do — the dictionary does accept chemist as a synonym of pharmacist — but then it offers it as a synonym for alchemist too!)

Vicki Hyde, Chastened Chair-entity

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