Join us for a free in conversation event: The drugs don’t work – our over medicated society…

In 2016 our population of 1.8 million received over 41 million prescription items costing over £400m. NI spends 40% more on drugs per head of population compared to England and 20% more than Scotland which is a region of comparable social deprivation.  Do we get 20% to 40% more value from our drug spend in terms of improvements in health and well being?

Join us for a one on one discussion with myself (Brian O’Neill) and Terry Maguire. Dr Maguire owns and runs two community pharmacies in Belfast. He was up to 2008 a board member and vice-chair of PharmacyHealthLink and he is a Past President of the Pharmaceutical Society of N. Ireland and served on its Council for 16 years. He was Director of the Northern Ireland Centre for Post-graduate Pharmaceutical Education and Training (1997 –2002) and was appointed a Principle Pharmaceutical Officer at DHSSPS (NI) 2002-2005. He served as a member of the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) from 2002 – 2006. He was chair of Belfast Local Commissioning Group and is a senior lecturer (Hon) at the School of Pharmacy, The Queen’s University of Belfast.

This is a new event format for Slugger. We are encouraging input from the audience so if you have an interest in the subject or just want a night of interesting conversation please do come along.

Date: Monday the 15th of January, 7:15pm

Venue: The Dark Horse Bar, Cathedral Quarter, Belfast. Note the changed venue. Click here for map…

The event is free but to help us plan numbers please do register below…

I help keep the good ship Slugger afloat by managing the business and techy stuff. My day job is creating websites and software. My personal site is:

  • murdockp

    What I find fascinating about Northern Ireland is how the Pharmacy Industry has completely insulated it self from the free market here through the planning system and other mechanisms. Not only can you not open a pharmacy without the consent of your competitors, you cannot even move your pharmacy to an alternative location without their consent as well.

    If we want to modernise our economy, all these historic trade barriers, of which the licenced trade sector is also heavily constrained due to severe licencing restrictions need to be removed.

    The are sold to us that these controls are to protect us an individuals, which is nonsense, this is all about protecting profits of the participants and restricting new entrants to the marketplace.

    It would be interesting to see if the Pharmacists (and publicans) would welcome a loosening of the protectionist measures that give them competitive advantage as most other industries have less barriers to entry.

  • CarraigUladh

    N of I/ NI is a traumatized society. The drugs may be partially necessary in many cases, but we also need other forms of healing – community building, therapy, health and wellbeing, open spirituality, etc.

  • murdockp

    20 Years after the 2nd world war (1965) Germany and UK were swinging again.

    The people were not hiding behind the victim excuses as we do here.

  • CarraigUladh

    Apples and oranges mate. The ‘troubles’ went on for 30 years; it was not a conventional war and impacted civilians way more than WWII with regard to how it infiltrated every aspect of their lives over a long drawn out period. Also, see this:,-the-troubles-and-suici.aspx

  • notimetoshine

    The worst thing the pharmacy industry needs is more free market competition. America’s current opioid addiction has its roots in relentless advertising and commercialisation of prescription medicine. It is a slippery slope.

    I don’t see any competition issues with local pharmacies in NI, and certainly no monopoly. Plenty of pharmacies to choose from where I live, with both chain and individual pharmacies available.

  • aquifer

    I would like more opportunities to self-medicate with a quiet drink or coffee, but don’t have a problem with a system that keeps pharmacies open and available.

  • Gaz

    Agree-Also by the 1960’s people who had lived through the early 1920’s were at the same place that people who lived through the 1970’s are now-no legacy inquests or legal firms representing victims in 1965

  • William Kinmont

    is this still the situation? i thought all this had changed?

  • Max Wigg