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We are living in the most exciting period in the history of pharmaceuticals, as new options lead to new opportunities for those of us in the field and those about to join us. Pharmacists are at a zenith in our ability to manage, cure and prevent disease.
Not long ago, people filled prescriptions content to comply with their physician’s instructions. No one ever questioned what they were taking. In fact, few people outside the healthcare field really knew much about which new drugs were available, or which worked best and why. Today, one need only turn on the television or pick up a magazine to learn about the explosion of new prescription drugs. People absorbing this information are becoming more educated and informed consumers. It also appears that an increasing number of consumers are intent on participating in their own healthcare, and when they do, they tend to turn to their neighborhood pharmacist for assistance.
Recent studies show consumers interact with their pharmacist 12 to 15 times a year compared to three or four times a year with their physicians. Often when minor symptoms erupt, the first place a patient heads is to the pharmacy, essentially throwing the pharmacist into the triage role.
While pharmacy researchers uncover these drugs, it is the practicing pharmacist who will communicate with patients about proper usage. As it now stands, almost all drugs come with a package insert of information regarding use, appropriate dosages, side effects and which drug combinations to avoid. People have come to expect this information and turn to their pharmacist with any questions before taking medication. As proof of the public’s confidence in their pharmacists, the profession is continually ranked by the Gallup Poll as the most trustworthy profession. Holding such a respected place in the healthcare system is a point of pride
among pharmacists, earned through their dedication to ending pain and suffering. Pharmacists serve in all areas of healthcare from community pharmacies to cutting-edge research, applying their unique knowledge of the power and potential of medications.
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