Danny Posey: All doctors were specialized

Published 11:55 pm Friday, January 17, 2014

Pharmacist Danny Posey said when he came to Andalusia almost 50 years ago, pharmacists all worked on the Square, as did a number of doctors, many of them upstairs over a retail business.

Pharmacies sold a number of tonics then, he said, and the average price of a prescription was $3.


“The first year I was there, the man who owned store, Henry Wilson, was very proud of what store had done – $87,000 in gross sales.”

From that, he paid two pharmacists, a part-time pharmacist, a clerk and a janitor, as well as the bills, he said.

All of the doctors were specialists, he quipped, “treated the skin and its contents.”

There was no Americans with Disabilities Act, and people had to get to upstairs doctors’ offices “the best way you could.”

One of the worst maladies was ulcerated stomachs, he said, adding that patients often bled to death.

“There were a lot of drugs then that are not on market now,” he said. “The proved to be dangerous, or were overtaken by drugs that did a better job.”

“Today, we enjoy so many things,” he said. “Like the Rescue Squad. Back then, if you had a wreck, you called Foreman Funeral Home. Mr. Foreman would leave home, go out to the funeral home and get a hearse.

“They had a hearse, an ambulance with a red light, and one vehicle that would go either way.”

Posey said he double checked, and learned that those early ambulances did have oxygen tanks, but little else.

“Today, they can intubate someone, start an IV, call in to emergency room and talk to the physician,” he said. “Back then, it was load and go, and hope you were still talking when you got there.”

At the hospital, he said, the emergency room was located on the second floor, which sometimes proved to be another challenge.

There was no insurance coverage of prescriptions, he said. People paid cash, paid with a check, or had a local charge account. When a prescription was filled, neither the name of the drug, nor the description of what it did, was on the bottle

“There was no safety net like there is today,” he said, referencing Medicare and Medicaid. “Sometimes we think that safety net is too deep and too wide. But it’s better to have that safety net that’s too wide, than no safety net.”

“A lot of things happen in drug stores that stick in out in your mind,” he said. “Like one time, they said Red Level School was on fire. I went out and we could see the smoke.

“Two or three years later, they said the Methodist Church was on fire,” he said. “I ran out to see that. The Baptists had claimed to be on fire for a long time, but you didn’t hear that much from the Methodists.”