January 12 - National Pharmacist Day

Posted on January 12, 2019

In England, they're often called chemists.

Some English speakers call them druggists.

But nowadays the most common name for these medical professionals is pharmacists.

Pharmacists check and give to patients the drugs that have been prescribed by their doctors. They provide patients with warnings about side effects, whether to take medications with or without food, and other important information. They provide oversight of patients' medications - watching for combinations of medications that will interact in a bad way, watching for overmedication, and so forth.

Sometimes pharmacists give advice - whether to use over the counter drugs, what symptoms to watch for if an allergy is suspected, what to do if a particular prescribed medication is not covered by the patient's insurance, and much more.

Sometimes pharmacists teach patients - why it's important to take the entire course of antibiotics, rather than stopping when you feel better, what evidence insists that vaccines are safe and effective, how we know that homeopathic "remedies" are just expensive placebos - and what placebos are - and on and on...

Pharmacists must study quite a lot of biology and chemistry in order to work in the field. Most nations require a university degree at a pharmacy school plus a credential. Degrees include Bachelor of Pharmacy, Master of Pharmacy, and Doctor of Pharmacy.

Some pharmacists become researchers who develop and test new medications and treatments. Now THAT's got to be exciting!

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