Pharmacist calls customer ‘retard’ over cancer meds

An abusive pharmacist is under fire after he failed to provide painkilling medication for a cancer patient – before a furious tirade on his Facebook page branded the customer a “retard”.

Pharmacist Charles Shanks
Pharmacist Charles Shanks

Charles Shanks, who runs Calder Pharmacy in Calder Park, was the subject of a complaint after a customer said she was told the pharmacy had run out of the pain relief medication her cancer-stricken dad needed as part of his prescription.

And an astonishing rant posted on his personal Facebook page on Wednesday last week – but open to the public to view – said the customer had gone “total retard” and threatened: “All my lovely staff know just where I’m coming from and what I will do when said f***tard comes in tomorrow.”

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The 53-year-old, who teaches self-defence in his spare time, has worked at the pharmacy since 2004.

Charles Shank's Facebook rant.

The post on his Facebook page said: “So tonight some f***tard commented on Facebook how us at Calder Pharmacy were not doing our jobs properly or being professional.

“Sorry deary but no matter how good we are we cannot conjure up drugs we don’t have in stock from f******g fresh air. How that makes us unprofessional I don’t f******g know but maybe if we were at Hogwarts instead of Calder Pharmacy we might have managed it.

“Look forward to seeing you tomorrow when you come in to pick up said drugs. I certainly won’t leave you with the shirt on your back you total f***tard.”

Today shocked NHS chiefs said they were “deeply concerned” by the incident – and vowed to launch an investigation into the case immediately.

Calder Pharamcy. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The customer referenced in the rant, whom the Evening News has chosen not to name, said she had gone to the pharmacy last week to pick the painkillers up for her dad and had been “upset” by the casual attitude of Mr Shanks.

After arriving at 3.15pm – and being made to wait another 40 minutes until she could collect the pills – she only realised the prescription was missing some medication when she left the shop.

When she returned to the store and told Mr Shanks this, she said he simply shrugged and told her: “I’ve not got any.”

“I was immediately concerned as I knew we had very little left at home and told him that,” She said. “He made the same gesture and said again, ‘I don’t have any.’ He offered no explanation and no apology, and it seemed like water off a duck’s back.”

Returning to the pharmacy later to ask why it had taken so long for them to realise they were out of stock, she told Mr Shanks she was unhappy that no apology had been offered.

She said: “His colleague piped up that he had said sorry – which he hadn’t.

“They didn’t show an ounce of compassion to the fact my dad had no pain relief.”

Professor Angela Timoney, Director of Pharmacy for NHS Lothian, said: “NHS Lothian is deeply concerned by this allegation. Pharmacists are independent contractors, but we will look into this case immediately to ensure that the highest standards of care and professionalism continue to be upheld.

“We would like to apologise to the patient for any distress caused.”

Mr Shanks declined to comment. His Facebook page showed the abusive post had later been deleted.