Pharmacists supply and sell prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs in a pharmacy, or in the pharmacy department of a supermarket.
They offer advice to clients on how to take the medications and their possible side effects. Pharmacists also offer advice on a wide range of health problems, such as healthy eating, family planning, oral hygiene, and techniques or methods to quit smoking. They can provide free information brochures on these topics.
Pharmacists use their experience to decide when a customer should contact the doctor who prescribed the prescription.
You can investigate whether the dose prescribed to a pharmacy customer is correct, or find out, by asking questions, if the customer is taking another drug that may interact dangerously with the prescribed drug.
Currently, an Electronic Prescription Service (ERS) has been introduced in pharmacies throughout the country. This allows the GP to produce a prescription and send it to the pharmacy electronically. EPS reduces the risk of errors and saves time, for example, in the production of drugs for chronic patients.
Sometimes pharmacists can refer clients to their GP after discussing their symptoms.
Most drugs arrive at pharmacies ready-made for sale, although pharmacists sometimes mix ingredients to make pills, capsules, powders, and ointments, but this is only a small part of their job.
However, the pharmacist may need to prepare some medicines in the pharmacy, for example, when the patient needs a specific formula.
In most cases, pharmacy technicians carry out routine work, such as counting pills and labeling products, and the pharmacist is responsible for supervising their work.
Generally, pharmacies also sell other goods, such as perfumes, cosmetics, and baby care products. In rural areas, the pharmacy can also sell agricultural, horticultural and veterinary products.
The pharmacist, therefore, may be involved in broader sales management functions. This includes the supervision and training of sales assistants to provide effective customer service and advice, as well as product marketing, stock record keeping, new product ordering and accounting.
Many pharmacists use computers to perform tasks such as inventory control, keeping patient records, labels, and ordering products. They keep accurate computer records that support and facilitate the work of physicians.
Pharmacists are increasingly offering basic health checks, such as measuring blood pressure and measuring cholesterol levels. They can also provide tests for pregnancy and diabetes.
The functions of the community pharmacist are expanding. They can now manage clinical cases of asthma, diabetes, obesity, and smoking cessation treatments. Also, there is now greater communication with doctors that allows monitoring the use of drugs by patients.
With additional training, pharmacists can become supplemental prescribers, dedicating themselves to managing the patient’s treatment plan after the physician’s diagnosis.
Pharmacists can also train as self-employed prescribers. This allows them to assess the patient’s health status and prescribe the appropriate medication, leaving more time for doctors to diagnose illnesses.
Some pharmacists are dedicated to delivering medicines and other products to the local population, for example, in homes for the elderly. Pharmacists can also visit patients at home to deliver oxygen equipment or install surgical devices.
Modern drugs are strictly controlled due to their potency and the possibility that they can be misused. The pharmacist, therefore, has to be up-to-date on the laws and professional codes of conduct.