Pharmacist Job

Pharmacist job description

Community pharmacists (local pharmacies, chains) and hospital pharmacists fill prescriptions, give advice on the use of drugs and keep records of customer prescriptions. Industrial pharmacists participate in the research and development, testing and production of new drugs. They draft information documents regarding the use and therapeutic effects of particular drugs and evaluate drug labelling, packaging and advertising.

Pharmacist main tasks

Community and hospital pharmacists  

  • Check prescriptions for proper dosage
  • Fill prescriptions by calculating, measuring and mixing the quantities of drugs and other ingredients required and filling appropriate containers with the correct quantity
  • Dispense prescriptions to customers or to other health care professionals and advise them on use, contraindications, side effects, drug interactions and dosage
  • Maintain records of customers’ medication and of poisons and narcotics sold
  • Ensure the preparation, packaging, distribution and storage of vaccines, serums, biological and other drug and pharmaceutical products
  • Order and keep on hand sufficient pharmaceutical supplies
  • Advise customers on the selection and use of over-the-counter drugs

Industrial pharmacists  

  • Participate in basic research work for the development of new drugs
  • Formulate new drugs developed by medical researchers
  • Test and check new drug products for stability and to determine their absorption and elimination
  • Co-ordinate clinical investigations of new drugs
  • Control the quality of drug products during production to ensure compliance with product purity, consistency, stability and safety standards
  • Develop informational materials concerning the uses, therapeutic effects and risks of particular drugs
  • Evaluate drug labelling, packaging and advertising
  • Promote pharmaceuticals to health care professionals

Education to become a pharmacist

You usually need to have a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and do an internship under a pharmacist’s supervision to work as a pharmacist. Community and hospital pharmacists require a license to practise issued by provincial or territorial authorities.

Skills

  • Sound knowledge of basic science (e.g. chemistry, pharmacology, biochemistry, genetics) to control dosage, suggest changes to prescriptions or pharmaceutical preparations, and interpret results of analyses
  • Good teaching skills to explain dosage to customers
  • Ability to manage supplies and inventory
  • Fluent in the use of inventory management software (e.g. software customization, supply chain integration with certain suppliers)
  • Business and negotiation skills in relationships with wholesalers and manufacturers

Qualities

  • Discretion (medical confidentiality)
  • Customer contact skills
  • Thoroughness
  • Teamwork skills
  • Ability to adapt to changing techniques and materials

Career path of the pharmacist

Pharmacists can take complementary training courses in pharmaceutical industry management and marketing given at the university level. They also have access to many professional specializations.

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