What is a Pharmacy?

What is a Pharmacy?

Generally speaking, pharmacy is a clinical health science that dispenses medications and prescriptions to patients. Pharmacies are run by pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, who can only give medications to patients with prescriptions. A patient requires a prescription from their doctor or specialist to obtain their medicines from a pharmacist or pharmacy technician, and it is the pharmacist’s job to accurately describe medications to patients. Let’s see about what is a pharmacy.

Modern pharmacy has developed over hundreds of years and started as a field known as Apothecary, which is defined as the “old form” of pharmacy. The main difference between pharmacy as we know it, and ancient apothecaries, is that apothecaries not only dispensed medicines but developed herbal and chemical medicines as well. Today, pharmaceutical companies have largely taken on that responsibility and pharmacies are mostly for dispensing and purchasing medications. 

Pharmacies can be found in grocery stores, universities, hospitals, clinics, and box stores. There are also several pharmacy chain companies, such as Walgreens, and independently owned pharmacies as well. Today, we’re going to discuss the key components of a pharmacy and how they function by looking at prescriptions, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. 

What is a Prescription? 

When you see your physician for an appointment, you may be prescribed a specific medication for treatment purposes that you cannot purchase over-the-counter. Over-the-counter drugs are medicines that you can purchase without a prescription, such as Advil or Tylenol. They are typically found in aisles surrounding the area where the pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are working. 

A prescription must include the name of the medication, as well as the daily dosage amount. It may also include other instructions, like taking the medication with a meal or taking it at night time. A prescription must also include the patient’s name, the date the prescription was written, the number of eligible refills, and the doctor’s signature. 

Doctors work to improve their patients’ conditions by writing an order (a prescription) to a pharmacy, which the pharmacists on staff will have to fill. A doctor can fax a prescription to the pharmacy closest to you, or they can give you a hard copy of a prescription to bring to the pharmacy yourself. Depending on how busy the pharmacy is, your prescription will usually be ready to pick up within a couple of days. 

What is a Pharmacist? 

So, how exactly does a pharmacy operate? Pharmacies employ both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to keep up with day-to-day operations. A pharmacist is a healthcare professional who “specializes in the right way to use, store, preserve, and provide medicine.” 

Pharmacists are also qualified to advise patients on how to take their medications. Likewise, if a patient has any questions about their medication, the pharmacist on staff would be the one to address and answer their questions. They are also able to let patients know the correct dosages, and pharmacists often ask patients if they have taken a certain medication before when they arrive to pick it up. 

Every medical store will have a pharmacist on staff during a shift, usually accompanied by two technicians. It is the pharmacist’s job to oversee daily operations at the pharmacy, which often includes directing the pharmacy technicians. A pharmacist may let their pharmacy technicians greet patients and receive prescriptions, but they are generally responsible for relaying information about medications to the patients. 

What is a Pharmacy Technician?

Technicians assist the pharmacist on staff and as we’ve noted, one pharmacist can usually supervise two technicians at a time. That being said, some U.S. states do not have legal requirements that limit the number of technicians per pharmacist to 2:1, whereas some do. Some states allow the store to determine the appropriate number of technicians per pharmacist, with many allowing 3 or more technicians to work at a time. 

Technicians play a crucial role in operations. They are responsible for keeping inventory and making sure medications are in stock. They are also responsible for most administrative duties, such as recording patient contact information. They are also expected to answer whichever questions they can from patients and be available to receive prescription orders via fax, or from a patient in person. 

Technicians can also deal with any insurance coverage questions from patients. They can also record their insurance details and receive payments from insurance companies. If you have a balance remaining after picking up your prescription, a technician will usually be the one who takes and processes your payment. 

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