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Review: Pills, Thrills and Methadone Spills by Mr Dispenser

Mr Dispenser, Twitter’s highly entertaining anonymous pharmacist, has gone and written a book. He’s compiled just over 130 pages worth of pharmacy-based jokes, anecdotes, and blog posts – and the result is genuinely laugh-out-loud funny.

As a former hospital doctor, I didn’t really know what pharmacists got up to – least of all community pharmacists. The ward pharmacists were friendly folk who stalked the wards correcting my prescriptions in green ink, and putting up with incessant questions posed by curious junior doctors like me. They always seemed to know the answers. I guess my closest brush with community pharmacists came when I worked in general practice, and I’d occasionally get a phone call asking if I really meant to prescribe a drug – to which the answer was almost invariably “No”.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that pharmacists were generally the people, along with nurses, who routinely saved my ass, so I guess I’m pretty well disposed towards them. And from Mr Dispenser’s tweets, I was fairly sure they had a good sense of humour, too.

Pills, Thrills and Methadone Spills removed any doubt. Community pharmacists share a similar geeky and absurdist sense of humour with many GPs and hospital doctors, which means that the humour in this volume aimed directly at my funny bone. I laughed out loud repeatedly when reading this, most often at the pithy anecdotes of insane situations in which pharmacists find themselves – and even when the book is gently (or not so gently!) ribbing doctors. I even get quoted in there at one point!

More than just humour, though, Pills, Thrills and Methadone Spills gave me a better appreciation for what community pharmacists do all day. In that sense, it was even a little bit educational. And a proportion of the profits from the book is being donated to charity.

All of that said, this probably isn’t a book for a general audience. It’s very much aimed at pharmacists. As a non-pharmacist, some bits went over my head to some extent, and I’d imagine that those outside of healthcare would struggle to see the funny side of much of the book. And, if I’m being very picky, I’d probably have liked a bit of a narrative thread in there somewhere too. But Pills, Thrills and Methadone Spills is sure to raise a smile among pharmacists, pharmacy students, and perhaps some more of the medical community besides.

Pills, Thrills and Methadone Spills is available now from amazon.co.uk on Kindle. A paperback is coming later in the year. Mr Dispenser is @MrDispenser on Twitter.

In the interests of full transparency, I declare that I was sent a free electronic review copy of this book. In accordance with this site’s ethical review policy, I have not accepted payment for this review, I have written this review without regard to the source of the product, and I have made a charitable donation equivalent to the retail cost of the e-book.

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