At the outset I should
like to pay a modest tribute to the learned andi brilliant man who has presented to the house the estimates and report of the Minister of National Defence. Through, him, sir, I should like to express my tribute of appreciation to that distinguished' scientist, that great soldier, that great Canadian who was the architect of the Canadian Army, the minister whom he has the honour to represent in the house. As a scientist, the minister appreciates scientific skill, knowledge and ability. Under his leadership the Canadian Army came to be regarded as perhaps the most efficiently effective of any of the allied armies; and because of that fact I approach him, through his parliamentary assistant, with a problem the solution of which I believe will mean much to the welfare and effectiveness of our Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen, and at the same time give belated recognition to one branch of science in Canada to-day.
My remarks are directed primarily to the pharmaceutical services in the navy, army and air forces. For the last four years, though I did not know about it until last fall, the Canadian Pharmaceutical Association, composed of over four thousand registered, fully-trained and for the most part graduate pharmacists, has been urging upon the service ministers the use of trained pharmacists as such in the armed services, and their recognition as such, in accordance with their professional training and the contribution they make to the physical fitness and fighting ability of the men and women in the Canadian armed forces.
I was surprised, as I am sure many hon. members will be, to learn that this movement has not met with the immediate and spontaneous response which might reasonably have been expected!; yet when I looked into the matter I found that in the United States it was only in 11M3, after thirty years of effort, education, instruction and appeal, that the pharmaceutical corps of that country was brought into being by presidential decree following an act of congress For over twenty years the pharmacists of this country have been, agitating for the setting up of a pharmaceutical corps to service our armed forces, and for many more years a similar agitation has been carried on in Britain. Only the other day in a British journal I read
the comment of a Canadian pharmacist, who said that pharmacy as practised in the British army had not changed since the days of the Crimean war, and I believe the same comment could be made, in regard to the pharmaceutical service rendered our fighting men and women to-day. I was astounded to learn, what I believe to be true, that while in every province of Canada a druggist or pharmacist is not permitted1 to compound or fill prescriptions containing drugs without having been licensed, following the granting of a university degree or after an apprenticeship of several years, nevertheless, as I appreciate the situation to-day, the men and women of our fighting services are supplied with drugs and! pharmaceutical preparations by men and women who have no such qualifications, who have no knowledge of the value of such drugs and chemicals, and who have been given only the most cursory training-two or three months-in the dispensing of these supplies.
I was curious to learn why this situation should exist in the army and the navy and, I must confess to a lesser degree, the air force. As far as I can discover, in Canada, as in Great Britain and the United States, the opposition has come from the senior service, the medical branch, who apparently have resisted and continue to resist any inroads upon their rights or domain, as professional men. The whole opposition in the United States, as the congressional record reveals, came from the medical and surgical branch of the services. I believe the opposition in this country also comes from that branch of the services. That is the same branch which for thirty years opposed the establishment of a dental corps. Do hon. members realize that for the first time in 1939, and only since the outbreak of this war, we have had a Canadian dental corps serving all three branches of the services, the navy, the army and the air force? Such inquiry as I have been able to make from members of the dental corps, would indicate that there also the opposition to its formation came from, the senior service, the medical branch. I believe it to be true that never in the history of the Canadian army, navy or air force have our fighting men and women received better dental care and attention. I believe it to be a fact that the Canadian airman, soldier and sailor is better looked after from the dental point of view than any other fighting man or woman in any other allied service. I believe that is directly due to the fact that the Canadian dental corps as such is free and independent, that it. does not report to nor is it subject to the direction of the army medical corps; it
War Appropriation-The Army
reports to the adjutant general of the army. It administers a service overseas as well as across Canada to the navy, army and air force personnel without embarrassment or hindrance from the medical branches of those three services.
I believe that our fighting personnel are entitled to pharmaceutical services and treatment as good or even better than those provided for civilians. In addition to the hazards of actual combat and fighting with the enemy, the personnel of our army, navy and air force should not be subjected to the additional hazards of having injected into their bodies or having to take orally pharmaceuticals, chemicals and drugs which are administered and dispensed by other than the most capable and competent people. It is for this reason that I feel perfectly justified in representing to the parliamentary assistant that this situation should be thoroughly investigated, first, from the point of view of service to our fighting personnel and, second, with a view to giving belated recognition and granting the appropriate status, promotion and pay to a segment of the professional life of this country who have heretofore been denied recognition.
Similar recognition has been granted to the nursing sorority, if you will; it has been granted to the dental fraternity and to the engineering profession. Apparently it has been granted to the clerical staff because there is a separate corps of clerks. There is a pay corps as such which is remunerated and controlled within itself. I think the time has come when we should take a lead. Instead of standing by and asking what is done in Great Britain or what we have done in the past, we should do just as we have done in connection with clothing and equipment for the fighting services and in providing the tools of war. The Canadian soldier is entitled to the best that Canadian brains and ingenuity can give him, and we should carry this same principle through with regard to the pharmaceutical preparations, drugs and service which the fighting man needs and which should be the best that can possibly be supplied.
The establishment of the dental corps resulted in a decided increase in the physical fitness and well-being of our fighting services without any additional expense to the government. I believe that the setting up of a pharmaceutical corps to serve all three branches of our fighting forces would permit us to use the technical skill, knowledge and ability available to us, and would also result in a corresponding reduction in cost. Does anyone believe that you can provide separate pharmaceutical services, depots, transportation
and dispensing facilities for the army, navy, and air force, each operated separately, as cheaply or as efficiently as you can provide such services with a corps concentrated under one control as is the case with the dental corps?
I am well aware, and I would expect the parliamentary assistant to make reference to it, of the fact that as late as May of this year there was a routine order passed covering part of the representations I have made to-day. Canadian army routine order 4444, dated May 6, 1944, states:
1. It is essential that a standard be set to cover the qualifications of all pharmacists, officers and other ranks, who may have the custody of, or who may dispense narcotics or other dangerous drugs. This refers particularly to personnel covering off vacancies for pharmacists on all military hospitals and medical inspection rooms.
2. The following standard will, therefore, apply:
(a) All personnel employed in the Canadian army (active) as pharmacists or dispensers shall be graduates in good standing in pharmacy, of a university or recognized school of pharmacy.
(b) Personnel qualified for group B and C under "Instructions regarding trade tests and rates of pay, pharmacists and dispensers", may be employed as assistants, where the establishment permits.
3. Unqualified personnel are, therefore, to be replaced immediately by personnel qualified in accordance with the above.
4. This order supersedes other instructions issued with respect to qualifications of pharmacists.
I draw your attention to the fact that that order, the first of its kind, was passed only as recently as May 6, 1944, after we had been in the war for over four years.
The air force is not tied down so much by precedent. As a rule it has been more alert and more ready to appreciate the value and necessity of providing its personnel with the very best of pharmaceutical and other services. After representations had been made, it took prompt steps to see that our airmen were supplied with pharmaceuticals and drugs only by competent men. In a letter dated July 20, 1944, to the chairman of the Canadian Pharmaceutical Association, the chief of the air staff states:
The following information in regard to your letter of July 12, 1944, may serve your purpose.
(a) Approximately eighty graduate pharmacists are employed in their professional capacity in the R.C.A.F. An establishment exists in all R.C.A.F. hospitals of thirty beds or over for registered pharmacists.
(b) The ranks of pharmacists, with few exceptions, are, to-day, froni sergeant to warrant officer 1st class. Positions for commissioned officer pharmacists have recently been created in R.C.A.F. hospitals of one hundred and fifty beds and over.
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(c) A division of pharmacy has been established in the Directorate of Medical Services for Air. Two officers, in the ranks of flight lieutenant and pilot officer, are in charge and are responsible to the Director of Medical Services for Air for the standards of pharmaceutical practice in the R.C.A.F. Both of these officers are graduate pharmacists.
(d) All non-commisisoned officer pharmacists in the R.C.A.F. are in the highest degree of trade grouping and, as a result, receive an additional seventy-five cents a day for their rank.
I do not think the matter has gone far enough. I believe that the pharmacist profession as such, as well as the pharmacists in the armed services, are all of the opinion that they could serve Canada and the fighting forces more efficiently, effectively and economically if a pharmaceutical corps were established. I think the time has come when effect should be given to the considered and disinterested opinions of men who are most capable and most competent of passing an opinion on this subject. Unfortunately I did not serve in the last war for physical reasons, nor have I been privileged to serve in this one, but there are members of this house who did. I wonder if this experience is common to any of them. A veteran of two former wars and now a practising pharmacist writes as follows- for obvious reasons I do not wish to disclose his name:
Ottawa has laid down hundreds of regulations regarding the handling of dangerous drugs, namely narcotics, phenobarbital. the sulfas, even methyl hydrate for use in civilian practice blit allows those with only rudimentary training to issue them for "the cream of the population.'1 Is the service man not entitled to as much protection as the civilian?
When the medical officer goes up the line, the sergeant takes the sick parade whatever his qualifications. I've guzzled number nines at the order of these paper salesmen, gulped spirits ammonia aromat administered by equally incompetent.
Another druggist in the service writes me as follows:
Here in camp at our M.I.R, room-
I believe that is the medical inspection room.
-they dish out cough medicine and other medicine in old coke and whiskey bottles with no labels on them. It seems to me that men qualified for this job should be there in place of men who have no training.
I was speaking less than a month ago to a graduate pharmacist who is home in Calgary on leave. I asked him about this particular phase of army life, and I am advised by him that in a medical report centre in Montreal at which any serviceman may report for treatment the man in the dispensing room was not a trained or graduate pharmacist. He said:
I was there for a month, and he was senior to me; I helped him.
Another graduate of the university of Alberta, with the degree of B.Sc., Ph., a young lad, got a postponement for a year and a half from selective service in order to complete his course in pharmacy so that he would be more useful to the army or navy or-air force, as the case might be, and what happened to him? He was told that there was no future for him as a pharmacist in the army or navy and that he had better go into some other branch of the service. He went to Cornwallis, the naval establishment, and despite his best efforts to transfer from gunnery into the pharmaceutical branch was peremptorily told to continue or he would be sent to sea as an able seaman. In that same naval establishment, a friend of his, who was a gold medallist, if you please, in pharmacy, in his final year at the university was an assistant sick-bay attendant, taking orders and instructions from a senior in that establishment who had received no pharmaceutical training, was a graduate of no school of pharmacy and would never be allowed to use the training he was receiving in the navy to dispense drugs in civil life. This gold medallist was taking instructions and orders from that other lad who was senior to him in point of service.
One of the results of this practice is that we are going to have two problems so far as the rehabilitation of these men is concerned. The young man who was a graduate pharmacist will have lost interest in his profession because he has not been allowed to practise it in the service; on the other hand, you have the bookkeeper or clerk acting as a pharmacist and dispensing drugs, if you please, to our heroes when he will not be allowed to dispense for five minutes in any drugstore in any province in the Dominion of Canada. That is not only a waste of Canadian brains and ability, but it is doing definite harm to enthusiastic young lads who are anxious to serve their country to the best of their ability.
I could go on and give many other instances which have been brought to my attention. Suffice it to say that I hope that the parliamentary assistant to the minister will, when he replies, let the committee know what the situation is and justify the opposition to a proposal which seems to be fair, reasonable, economical and practicable and which puts a premium on scientific knowledge, skill and ability, rather than upon seniority and tradition.
War Appropriation-The Army
The pharmaceutical association recommended to the three service ministers the setting up of a Canadian pharmaceutical corps with headquarters at Ottawa presided over by a colonel, who would be responsible only to the adjutant general, as in the case of the dental corps; that he should have three assistant directors of pharmaceutical services, one each to act as liaison with the army, the navy and the air force respectively. Surely we can profit from the experience of men of science, men of business ability, men who in the hard school of prectical experience have learned how to serve the public and serve it well, efficiently and scientifically. I still believe that there are medical men in this country, particularly in this day of highly complex compounded drugs, who appreciate the value of the services of a highly trained pharmacist, and who will support the demands of the pharmaceutical association and of pharmacists everywhere in the services for the establishment of a pharmacy corps. I trust the intelligent, thoughtful people of Canada will demand that a service considered good enough for the sailors and the soldiers of forty, fifty, sixty and seventy years ago shall be discarded as not good enough for the soldiers, sailors and airmen of to-day.
Topic: DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE