Facts about Pharmacists and Pharmacies
October 24, 1999 -- Pharmacy is expanding its role within the health care delivery system from a profession focusing on preparation and dispensing of medications to one that promotes pharmacists providing a range of patient-oriented services to maximize the medicine's effectiveness.
Pharmacy is practiced in a wide range of settings: community pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes, the pharmaceutical industry, mail service pharmacies, managed care, and government.
Pharmacists are the most knowledgeable health care professionals about medicines and their uses. Education requirements for pharmacists include the choice of two entry-level degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy, or a Doctor of Pharmacy.
Choosing a pharmacist is as important as choosing a physician: medicines today have great power to heal and improve quality of life; medicines can also do serious harm if taken incorrectly. Medication counseling is one of the most important roles of a pharmacist.
Using only one pharmacy ensures that all medication records are at one location, reduces the risk of duplicating medicines or having prescriptions interact harmfully.
Consistent interaction between pharmacists and patients helps achieve the best results from medication; avoids possible harmful drug interactions or allergic reactions; and provides essential information on correct usage, such as specific eating and drinking recommendations while taking medication.
Pharmacy technicians who have been "certified" have taken an important step in their career-one that helps the pharmacist provide the best possible care for you.
The Importance of Consumer Education
- Americans consume more than 50 billion nonprescription pain relief tablets every year to treat headaches, muscle aches, and arthritis.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers are number one in the U.S. Health, Beauty and Cosmetic market category with $2.7 billion in sales.
- Since the mid-1970s, 77 prescription medicines have switched to OTC status; 34 of these in the 1990s alone.
- A new survey shows that nearly half of consumers do not always read product labels, fewer than 40 percent are consulting pharmacists, and one-third are not aware of the risks sometimes associated with these medicines.
For more information please visit the American Pharmaceutical Association's web site at (www.aphanet.org)