Pharmacists prepare and dispense prescription drugs, ensure proper storage and handling of drugs, provide advice to customers and medical personnel on the administration, uses and effects of prescription and non-prescription drugs, check prescriptions for overdoses and drug interactions and keep records of dispensed drugs and health care services.
Community pharmacists and hospital pharmacists perform some or all of the following duties:
- Check prescriptions for proper dosage;
- Compound prescribed pharmaceutical products by calculating, measuring and mixing the quantities of drugs and other ingredients required and filling appropriate containers with correct quantity;
- Dispense prescribed pharmaceuticals to customers or to other health-care professionals and advise them on indications, contraindications, adverse effects, drug interactions and dosage;
- Maintain medication profiles of customers including registry of poisons and narcotic and controlled drugs;
- Ensure proper preparation, packaging, distribution and storage of vaccines, serums, biologicals and other drugs and pharmaceuticals;
- Order and maintain stock of pharmaceutical supplies;
- Advise customers on selection and use of non-prescription medication; and
- May supervise and co-ordinate the activities of other pharmacists, pharmacy assistants, pharmacy technicians and other staff.
Industrial pharmacists perform some or all of the following duties:
- Participate in basic research for the development of new drugs;
- Formulate new drug products developed by medical researchers;
- Test new drug products for stability and determine their absorption and elimination patterns;
- Co-ordinate clinical investigations of new drugs;
- Control the quality of drug products during production to ensure that they meet standards of potency, purity, uniformity, stability and safety;
- Develop information materials concerning the uses, properties and risks of particular drugs;
- Evaluate labeling, packaging and advertising of drug products; and
- Promote pharmaceutical products to health professionals.
- A Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy is required.
- Pharmacists also require practical training under the supervision of a pharmacist.
- Licensure is required in all provinces and territories for community and hospital pharmacists.
Source: National Occupational Classification - 2001 provided courtesy of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Reproduced with the permission of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, 2004.