A pharmacist is an individual who is trained in the dispensing of medications to patients. They are trained the knowledge of medicines, compounds and ingredients, their effects in the body and interactions with other medicines. Pharmacies keep confidential computerized records of patients’ drug therapies to prevent harmful drug interactions when dispensing new or additional medications. Pharmacists are responsible for the accuracy of every prescription that is filled, sometimes verifying with the prescribing doctor, they will also manage Pharmacy technicians and pharmacy aides to assist them in the dispensing process. The pharmacist will often delegate prescription-filling and administrative tasks and supervise their completion. Pharmacists also frequently oversee pharmacy students serving as interns.
The first pharmacies were retail shops where medicines and tonics were sold for treatment of ailments and illnesses. These pharmacists mixed compounds and ingredients according to the patients needs. Pharmacists then and today have the knowledge about medicines, what they can cure or ease, and their effects when taken with other medicines or foods. Pharmacists in retail pharmacies dispense medications, counsel patients on the use of prescription and over-the-counter medications, and advise physicians about patients’ medication therapy. They can counsel patients about common health topics such as diet, exercise, and stress reduction. As drugstores also carry other medical related supplies, the pharmacist is there as a healthcare professional able to advice on the purchase and use of medical equipment such as crutches and braces.
Pharmacists are an important part of the Healthcare system. Each hospital, clinic, nursing and convalescent home has pharmacists who will take the doctors prescription and devise a medicine regimen for treatment. Hospitals have a number of pharmacists who prescribe the medications and arrange daily dosages for each patient.
Insurance and benefits companies also require pharmacists to monitor prescriptions and treatments for reimbursement purposes. Pharmacists are also responsible for creating medicinal regimens and assist in establishing process and procedures for review and approvals for treatments.
Pharmacists and other related scientists are the founders of most of the modern pharmaceutical companies in the world. In earlier times, pharmacies sold medicines that were mixed or compounded in the store for each person. As the types of mixtures increased and other medicines were found to be effective against certain illnesses and ailments, pharmacists started companies to manufacture medicines that can be sold to a wider number of persons with the same ailment. Over time these companies became the first pharmaceuticals. Pharmacists are employed today in the pharmaceutical industry not only for research and development but for education of the consumers’ of the medicines such as retail pharmacy chains and insurance companies, and doctors.
Pharmacists are increasingly pursing careers in other fields. Pharmacists work for the government, veterinary medicine, managed care organizations, public health care services, the armed services, or pharmacy associations. Pharmacists are also employed full time or part time as school faculty, teaching classes or performing research in a wide range of areas.
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