Exploring Careers in Pharmacies

In the United States, those individuals that engage in careers in pharmacies are considered to be the leading experts regarding medicine. This makes the opportunity for acquiring a job in pharmacology very accessible for many individuals. This career is considered to be one of the fastest growing careers in the industry of healthcare. In this article, you will be introduced to careers in pharmacies.

Today, many different types of doctors make a diagnosis on the many ailments that people and animals may experience. One of the steps that can help humans and animals recover from the ailments that they experience is by participating in prescription therapy. Numerous healthcare professionals write prescriptions. These include general doctors, pediatricians, psychiatrists, optometrists, dentists, and even veterinarians. The pharmacy is the location where the prescriptions, or drug orders, are filled and then dispensed to the proper individuals.

In a pharmacy, you will normally find two types of jobs. That of the pharmacist and that of the pharmacy technician. You may also find pharmacy assistants or sales associates in the pharmacy as well. These individuals must take the prescription, decipher the handwriting on it, make an overall interpretation of the prescription, select the medication from the stock, count out or measure the prescription, and make an appropriate label for the medication.

In addition to the above task, the patient must receive counseling on the medications that they are going to be ingesting. It is also the duty of the individuals who have careers in pharmacies to maintain the records of the customers. Insurance information must also be gathered, confirmed, documented, and recorded so that the companies may pay their share of an individuals cost that are associated with medications. This profession can be quite stressful due to the laws and liabilities that are dealt with. This is why careers in pharmacies require an individual to be properly educated.

Pharmacists

Pharmacists are considered to be the “drug information specialists”. These are the most highly trained individuals in the pharmacy. While pharmacy technicians and assistants may have the same basic understanding as a pharmacist on many things, the pharmacist is the one with the official educational background and certification to accurately perform their duties within the state that they practice. These individuals verify the prescriptions that are filled prior to being given to the patient. There are also responsible for discussing the medication with the patients.

In addition to the above information, a pharmacist may find that they are in a position where they must offer advice to doctors and other professionals on certain kinds of medications. Some of these individuals have the ability to write prescriptions. However, the ability to perform this task is directly related to what the laws outline in regards to the specific area in which that pharmacist works.

Individuals who are interested in acquiring the ability to become a pharmacist must attend college. Those that attend college for four to five years are issued a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. Once this is acquired, an R.Ph will be added to the end of the name of the individual. There is also a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree that many choose to obtain in the field. These can be obtained once the BS degree is obtained. Individuals may elect to simply enter an add on program that enriches their current degree.

The following classes outline the coursework that pharmacists are generally subjected to when acquiring a degree in pharmacology:

1. Writing

2. Sociology

3. History

4. Ethics

5. Communications

6. Psychology
7. Advanced Math Courses

8. Biology

9. Chemistry

10. Medications and Drug Courses

11. Pharmacology Machinery

12. Pharmacological Calculations

This particular job pays an average of $50,000.00 – $175,000.00 annually, depending on the size of the area in which the individual works, the demand, and the educational background achieved in the areas related to the profession.

Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy technicians play a very important role in pharmacies in the United States and Canada. These individuals normally work to greet the customers that visit the pharmacy and answer telephone calls. It is very common for the pharmacy technician to deal with customers, insurance companies, and doctors directly. They assist in the filling and dispensing process within the pharmacy as well. Operating computers, understanding the technical aspects of the inner workings of the pharmacy and dealing with pharmacological calculations and measurements is a common task.

A certification is normally required to become a pharmacy technician. The most common classes for an individual in this career include:

1. Regulations for Drug Development

2. Drug Manufacturers

3. Medical Terminology

4. Pharmaceutical Calculations

5. Dosages forms and Administration

6. Prescriptions

7. Pharmaceutical Dispensing

8. Anatomy and Physiology

9. Basic Chemistry of Drug Molecules

10. Over-The-Counter Drugs

11. Package Inserts

12. Drug Emergencies

The average pharmacy technician can receive their education in less than two years time. The average pay rate for this position ranges from $12.00 – $18.00 per hour depending on the location of the pharmacy and the demand for certified pharmacy technicians.

Pharmaceutical Companies

Biogen Idec – Canada

Amgen – Canada

MedImmune – Canada

Chiron Corporation – Canada

Millennium Pharmaceuticals – Canada

Johnson & Johnson – United States

Pfizer – United States

Abbott Laboratories – United States

Wyeth – United States

Proctor & Gamble – United States

Why Use an Online Pharmacy?

Why buy from an online pharmacy when there are many local places to purchase medication? Are online pharmacies unethical? This article will attempt to discuss these questions and hopefully provide some conclusive answers. Since the beginning of online pharmacies there has been ongoing discussion and some action as to banning the use of online pharmacies altogether in the United States from both people using them and also for the online pharmacies, by implementing harsh fines and punishments.

Unfortunately for the online pharmacy industry there are some online pharmacies that are complete frauds which sells who knows what as medications to make steep profits for themselves. For the most part though there are many legitimate online pharmacies that sell the highest quality FDA approved medications, a careful online search done on the pharmacy you are considering buying from is an excellent idea so you don’t get ripped off. There is a particular usefulness of an online pharmacy that should be considered and examined before a wholesale banning of online pharmacies, either governmentally or personally. Before making an uneducated decision a person should critically examine both sides of the arguments of both the pros and cons of an online pharmacy.

Some pros of an online pharmacy are the following:

- A person suffering from embarrassing ailments such as erectile dysfunction for example, can receive proper drug treatments without the embarrassment of a local doctor and pharmacy visit

- In our extremely busy lifestyles the ease of buying from an online pharmacy is a huge benefit in saving time, effort and money, the relative speed and ease of ordering needed medications online are second to none

- Along with the above point purchasing medication online is able to be accomplished at anytime during the day or night, 365 days a year, you can buy your medications when you have time to do so

- If carefully planned, buying medications online are the most cost effective ways to purchase medications

- A shut in or disabled person requiring medications is able to order their needed drugs online when it is far too much effort or far too costly to make a personal visit to a doctor for a prescription

Some cons of an online pharmacy are the following:

- Government authorities like the FDA have a very difficult time regulating and checking up on the amounts of certain restricted medications being sold to individuals

- Government authorities like the FDA have a very difficult time discovering where an online pharmacy is receiving its source of medications from and whether or not these sources are pure

- If the proper research is not done an online pharmacy could be selling impure medications or even sawdust packaged as a certain approved medication and thus ripping off its customers

- An online pharmacy if left unchecked and unrestricted could be shipping out medications that are possibly restricted or dangerous without a proper prescription

A person deciding to purchase medication from an online pharmacy can take several precautions to help to insure a safe, honest and positive experience using an online pharmacy and minimize the risks of ordering from an online pharmacy.

Some precautions to take are the following:

- Search online forums and consumer review sites discussing the particular online pharmacies that you are considering making a purchase from

- One idea in safety is obtaining a prescription from your doctor before ordering from an online pharmacy, and then you have some assurance that you are receiving the correct medication for your ailment

- Always examine carefully the privacy policy and the legal terms and conditions of the online store that is selling the medication before ordering

- Be positive that online pharmacy’s credit card transactions are SSL secured (the lock on the bottom of the screen is there when ordering) before ordering

- If the site you are visiting seems to have lots of missing web pages, errors, etc. this could be a sign that this site is not the most reputable for ordering medications from

- If you have a funny unsafe feeling when going through the ordering process from a particular website perhaps decide on another and/or perform some of the above tests on the site

Now it is up to you, the consumer as to whether or not you will purchase your medications from an online pharmacy or purchase your medications from a local drug store. Considering all the pros and cons a person can easily make up their minds as to which route is the best to choose. Remember precautions always minimize the risks.

How to Be a Good Pharmacy Technician

Although most pharmacy technicians receive informal on-the-job training, employers surely favor those who have completed formal training and have been certificated. Formal pharmacy technician education programs require some classroom and laboratory work in a variety of areas, including medical and pharmaceutical terminology, pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacy recordkeeping, pharmaceutical techniques, and pharmacy law and ethics. Technicians also are required to learn medication names, actions, uses, and doses. Many training programs include internships, in which students gain hands-on experience in actual pharmacies.

How to be a good pharmacy Technician? What kind of criteria do one need to be a good pharmacy technician?

1. Prospective pharmacy technicians gain their working experience as an aide in a community pharmacy or volunteering in a hospital before the actual employment. Applicants with mass experience managing medicine inventories, counting tablets, measuring dosages, and using computers as much as skillful in most of the clerical work is definitely an added bonus

2. To learn and grasp the knowledge of pharmacy technician’s fast, a background in chemistry, English, Biology, Chemistry and Health education of any type may be beneficial.

3. Gain the certification and other qualifications. Both the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians, administer national certification examinations. To be eligible for either exam, candidates must have a high school diploma or GED, no felony convictions of any kind within 3-5 years of applying, and no drug or pharmacy related felony convictions history before. Employers, often pharmacists, know that individuals who pass the exam have a standardized body of knowledge and skills.

4. One should get recertified every 2 years with 20 hours of continuing education within the 2-year certification period and at least 1 hour must be in pharmacy law. Continuing education hours can be earned from several different sources, including colleges, pharmacy associations, and pharmacy technician training programs.

5. Strong customer service and teamwork skills are needed because pharmacy technicians interact with patients, coworkers, and health care professionals 98% of their time

6. One need to have good skills and strong background in Mathematics, Spelling, and Reading as the pre-requisite to be a good pharmacy technicians. Successful pharmacy technicians are alert, observant, organized, dedicated, and responsible. They should be willing and able to take directions, but be able to work independently without supervisory and constant instructions.

7. Someone whom are familiar with medical terminology and well aware of all the medications, pills, injection fluids which are in the pharmacy in their scientific terms as well as more layman names.

8. Good interpersonal skills to deal with a wide variety of individuals in a team. He should be a team player, and mix along well with the rest of the team mates.

9. He needs to be someone who is adaptable to performing multiple tasks. He need to be capable to handle all kinds of instructions given by the pharmacists at any one time. He needs to be computer savvy as well to utilize the best of computer to complete his tasks accurately and in the shortest time.

10. A pharmacy technician must be precise when they deal with medications and the necessary doses for different patients, which will either heal or kill the one who consumed them; therefore details are sometimes a matter of life and death. Thus, the responsibility of the pharmacy technicians is very important as they deal with medications.

11. Candidates interested in becoming pharmacy technicians cannot have prior records of drug or substance abuse.

12. Good pharmacy technician deserve a good career advancement. In large pharmacies and health-systems or even government hospitals, pharmacy technicians with significant training, experience and certification can be promoted to supervisory positions, mentoring and training pharmacy technicians with less experience. Some may even advance into specialty positions such as chemo therapy technician and nuclear pharmacy technician.