Pharmacists are responsible for dispensing drugs that doctors have prescribed to patients. They often work at pharmacies or hospitals. Pharmacists assist and educate customers about which medications to purchase, whether these are brand name drugs or generic brands.

Duties and tasks

  • Advise customers about potential side effects of medications
  • Advise customers on the most relevant/best medication to treat their symptoms (especially for over-the-counter medications)
  • Review and interpret drug orders from physicians for allergy interactions, clarity, dosage form, incompatibility, etc.
  • Sell/distribute drugs which are prescribed by practicing physicians
  • Study and understand new medications and products

Skills required

  • A degree in Pharmacy is required
  • Ability to read doctors penmanship
  • Knowledge about current prescriptions
  • Must be extremely detail oriented
  • Must have an up-to-date license
  • Must have excellent communication skills
  • Usually requires 2-3 years of experience as a pharmacist in a hospital or pharmacy

Working conditions

Pharmacists work 8-10 hour days and often work more than the typical 40 hours a week due to the high demand for prescription medications. Most pharmacists work in stores/pharmacies instead of hospitals, but both can be toxic environments where one is exposed to various illnesses. Long hours standing are often required.

Professional associations / Industry information

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd 

Pharmacy Board of Australia
The Royal Australian Chemical Institute 

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