From ArticleWorld

Pharmacy is a medically-related profession that involves all of the aspects required in the safe dispensing and use of all types of medication. Usually these medications are dispensed at the request of a physician; however, pharmacists (those who carry a degree in pharmacy) often are charged with the education of patients on all kinds of medications, including those purchased without a prescription. They also carry out mediation review and monitor patient’s medications for the potential of drug-drug interactions.


Many pharmacies (or chemists, drugstores or Apothecaries, depending upon location) are community-based and run as combination retail stores and pharmacies. Some of these pharmacies have a single pharmacist along with trained pharmacy technicians who help dispense medication while the pharmacist spends more time in patient counseling about their medications.

Hospital pharmacies are much different from community pharmacies. The workers in the pharmacy rarely see the patients. Usually, this type of pharmacy is located within the boundaries of a hospital and oral, injectable and intravenous medications are prepared. In addition, chemotherapy agents and total parenteral nutrition (TPN) is prepared to the specifications of patient needs.

Internet pharmacies are virtual places where medications can be provided with or without a prescription. Those in Canada and the U.S. must abide by laws requiring a prescription for many medications. Many internet pharmacies, however, are located in countries where prescription laws are more lax. Individuals can get medications through these pharmacies without a prescription, although the medications tend to be more costly, vary in potency and may actually not provide the client with any prescription at all.

Compounding pharmacies can stand alone but are generally a part of a normal community pharmacy. Pharmacists at this kind of pharmacy are specially-trained to take bulk medications and either grind them or mix them into ointments, creams or troches (lozenges). This kind of pharmacy is popular in some parts of the U.S. and in other countries and provides unique ways for a patient to receive certain medications, such as hormone therapies provided in a cream-base.

Long term care pharmacies can stand alone or be a part of a hospital pharmacy. This kind of pharmacy has contracts with several nursing homes to provide medications to the residents, often packaged in trays of blister packs rather than in a bottle. Trays are located in cartridges which are swapped for full cartridges of trays labeled with the residents’ names and the type of medication in the tray. This system simplifies providing medications to nursing home residents and helps eliminate medication errors.