Pharmacy is a healthcare profession and facility where prescription drugs are prepared and dispensed by licensed professionals, known as pharmacists. Pharmacies are an integral part of healthcare systems around the world, serving as the primary point of access to medications for many patients. Some well-known pharmacy chains include CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid, but pharmacies can also be found in local grocery stores, hospitals, and even operate as mail order services.
Types of Pharmacies
Retail pharmacies are the most common type of pharmacy that the public interacts with. They are found in various locations such as standalone buildings, inside grocery stores, and in large retail chains. Examples include CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid.
Hospital pharmacies are located within hospitals and focus on providing medications for hospitalized patients. They play a critical role in medication management, patient safety, and clinical support services within the hospital.
Mail Order Pharmacies
Mail order pharmacies provide an alternative to traditional in-person pharmacies by delivering prescription medications directly to the patient's home. They are often used for maintenance medications that treat chronic conditions.
Specialty pharmacies provide complex and high-cost medications typically required for rare and chronic conditions. These pharmacies may also provide additional patient support services.
Roles and Responsibilities
Pharmacists in these establishments play a critical role in healthcare delivery. Their responsibilities include dispensing medications, counseling patients on the safe and effective use of their medications, providing immunizations, conducting health and wellness screenings, and managing medication therapy.
Education and Training
To become a pharmacist, one must complete a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program and pass a series of examinations to become licensed. Some pharmacists also complete postgraduate residencies or fellowships to gain specialized expertise in areas such as oncology, infectious disease, pediatrics, or critical care.
- Clinical pharmacy
- Pharmaceutical industry
- List of pharmacies
- Pharmacy (shop)
- List of pharmacies
Find a pharmacy in the United States
- Number of pharmacies: There are over 60,000 pharmacies in the US.
- Pharmacy and drug store sales in the U.S. in 2021 was $324.61bn USD.
- Number of pharmacies per county: The average number of pharmacies per county is 19.6.
- Type: 61.5% of pharmacies are chains, 38.1% are independent or regional franchises, and 0.4% are government pharmacies.
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