You may be surprised by how being a pharmacist is a lot like being a gangster. Below are gangster terms but seem very familiar…

Boss: Sometimes referred to as Father, Godfather or Uncle in the old tradition, the boss is the leader of the Mafia Family = Superintendent

Capo: Originally referred to a Mafia boss but in more recent usage refers to a minor leader within a Mafia family, chief of a crew. Also referred to as a captain, skipper or lieutenant = Area Manager

Consigliere: A translation of this word as “counselor” has led to a mistaken impression about the position’s duties (that the consigliere is an adviser to the boss). Actually, the consigliere post is intended to serve the family membership, by granting a channel of communication to the boss = Head of Professional Standards

Cosa Nostra: To many, this is the proper name of the Mafia in the United States. In fact, it was an effort by some mob bosses to refer to their shared secret society WITHOUT naming it. The phrase translates to, “our thing.” = GPhC

Made: Formally inducted into the Mafia through a ceremony. Prospective members are called to a meeting without being given a reason. Through an elaborate ritual, they are then invited to join the Mafia. They are typically told the rules of the society, its history and hierarchy, and the general disciplinary measure for disobedience – death = passing the pre-reg exam

Muscle: Intimidate. Also those who function as underworld thugs = Technicians

Muscle in: Invade a rival’s racket or territory through force = 100 hour pharmacy

Shake down: Obtain money or other concessions from businesses or individuals by using intimidation or extortion = Prescription charge

Wiseguy: A “made” member of a Mafia organization = Pharmacist


These are quotes from gangster movies that relate to pharmacy:

“Never tell anyone outside the Family what you are thinking again.” (Vito (Don) Corleone, Godfather) = Patient confidentiality is important.

“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer”. (Micheal Corleone, Godfather Part II) = You may not like the people you work with.

“Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.” (Michael Corleone, Godfather Part III) = This happens when you need the toilet and a patient wants to talk to you.

“The entire British empire was built on cups of tea, and if you think I’m going to war without one, mate, you’re mistaken.” (Eddie, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels = Substitute war with work and it makes sense.

“As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a gangster.” (Henry Hill, Goodfellas) = Work experience in pharmacy as a teenager is important.

“If my answers frighten you then you should cease asking scary questions (Jules, Pulp Fiction) = Look mate, all I asked was if you were taking any other medication!?!

“That’s thirty minutes away. I’ll be there in ten.” (The Wolf, Pulp Fiction) = Sadly not a mantra deployed by locums.

Say hello to my little friend!” (Tony Montana, Scarface) = Have you met Susan, our new short dispenser?

Yours sincerely,

The Wiseguy with great Muscle


3 thoughts on “Gangster

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