May 2021
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Pharmacy Overview

Pharmacy is the art of preparing and dispensing drugs. It is a health profession concerned with the discovery, development, production, and distribution of drugs. Drugs are substances (other than devices) used to diagnose, prevent, cure, or relieve the symptoms of disease.

Pharmacy is concerned with the manufacture, formulation, quality control, and dispensing of medicaments used to treat disease. The majority of modern medicaments consist of tablets, capsules, and injections, all produced under stringent conditions.

The scope of pharmacy practice includes more traditional roles such as compounding and dispensing medications, and it also includes more modern services related to patient care, including clinical services, reviewing medications for safety and efficacy, and providing drug information.

Pharmacists earn a qualifying degree, prepare and dispense prescribed medications. They formerly mixed and measured drug products from raw materials according to doctors’ prescriptions. They are still responsible for formulating, storing, and providing correct dosages of medicines. They also advise patients on the use of both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Pharmacists therefore, are the experts on drug therapy and are the primary health professionals who optimize medication use to provide patients with positive health outcomes.

The field of Pharmacy can generally be divided into four primary disciplines:

(1) Pharmaceutics

(2) Medicinal chemistry and Pharmacognosy

(3) Pharmacy Practice

(4) Pharmacology

There are many areas of pharmacy practice which are specified below.

Community pharmacies usually consist of a retail storefront with a dispensary where medications are stored and dispensed.

Hospital pharmacy differ considerably from community pharmacies.

Because of the complexity of medications including specific indications, effectiveness of treatment regimens, safety of medications and patient compliance issues many pharmacists practicing in hospitals gain more education and training after pharmacy school through a pharmacy practice residency.

Clinical pharmacists provide direct patient care services that optimizes the use of medication and promotes health, wellness, and disease prevention.

Compounding Pharmacy is the practice of preparing drugs in new forms. Compounding pharmacies specialize in compounding.

Consultant pharmacy practice focuses more on medication regimen review than on actual dispensing of drugs. Consultant pharmacists most typically work in nursing homes.

Many of these pharmacies are similar to community pharmacies, and in fact, many of them are actually operated by brick-and-mortar community pharmacies that serve consumers online and those that walk in their door.

Veterinary pharmacies stock different varieties and different strengths of medications to fulfill the pharmaceutical needs of animals.

Nuclear pharmacy focuses on preparing radioactive materials for diagnostic tests and for treating certain diseases.

Pharmacy informatics is the combination of pharmacy practice science and applied information science. The future of pharmacy is very bright. In the coming decades, pharmacists are expected to become more integral within the health care system. Rather than simply dispensing medication, pharmacists will be paid for their patient care skills.

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