Pharmacists are the principal resource to patients and other health professionals in assuring appropriate use of and optimal therapeutic outcomes from medications.
Pharmacists provide what has come to be known as pharmaceutical care. The principal goal of pharmaceutical care is to achieve positive outcomes from the use of medication that improves patients' quality of life. These outcomes include:
1) cure of a disease;
2) elimination or reduction of symptoms;
3) arresting or slowing a disease process;
4) prevention of disease;
5) diagnosis of disease;
6) desired alterations in physiological processes, all with minimum risk to patients.
Pharmacists are professionals, uniquely prepared and available, committed to public service and to the achievement of this goal.
Pharmacists are a vital part of a complete health care system. The number of people requiring health care services has steadily increased, and this trend will likely continue due to:
- Increases in average life span and the increased incidence of chronic diseases.
- The increased complexity, number, and sophistication of medications and related products and devices.
- Increased emphasis on primary and preventive health services, home health care, and long term care
- Concerns about improving patients' access to health care, controlling its cost, and assuring its quality.
No one is familiar with community pharmacists and the pharmacy in which they can practice. Pharmacists can talk to people when they are healthy and when they are sick, when they are "just browsing," or when they are concerned with an emergency; when they have specific needs as well as when they are seeking advice or information. Pharmacists can practice in a number of other health care settings as well, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, health maintenance organizations, and others.
Pharmacists can serve patients and the community by providing information and advice on health, providing medications and associated services, and by referring patients to other sources of help and care, such as physicians, when necessary. Likewise, advances in the use of computers in pharmacy practice now allow pharmacists to spend more time educating patients while maintaining and monitoring patient records. Therefore, now patients depend on pharmacist for updated health care information.
Pharmacists are specialists in the science and clinical use of medications in addition to the variety of tasks performed in and out of the community pharmacy. They are knowledgeable about the composition of drugs, their chemical and physical properties, their manufacture and uses, besides the tests for purity and strength. Pharmacist also understands the activity of drugs and their work within the body. Prescribers rely more on pharmacists for information about various drugs including, their availability and their activity.
Pharmacists are medication experts they do much more than count tablets and pour liquids. For each prescription dispensed, pharmacist checks if the information provided by the prescriber is complete. The new medication interacts with other medications or not the dosage is appropriate, and the patient understands the proper way to store and take the medication.