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College of Pharmacy
|1||What kinds of settings do pharmacists often work in?||Answer|
What is the Doctor of Pharmacy Degree? |
How long does it take to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree?
What if I already have a related graduate or professional degree, such as a M.S. in Biology?
What is the difference between the Pharm.D. program and the Ph.D. program?
What kinds of settings do pharmacists often work in?
What kinds of settings do pharmacists often work in?
A production pharmacist works in a company manufacturing drugs. He also supervises employees, plans production target, and take active participation in the management role of the company.
There is a variety of job roles for a pharmacist in the pharmaceutical industry. Most involve market research, regulatory affairs, and clinical development. Major pharmaceutical companies are usually located along the east and west coasts in the US so relocation may be necessary if you want to pursue a career in industry.
Industry pharmacists work with a team of professionals to bring a new drug to the market or to manage an existing drug that is already on the market. The corporate workday is usually 8-9 hours a day, but occasionally some work may be required outside of the office. Many entry level pharmacists enter the industry in drug sales, drug safety, or medical writing.
Salary for industry pharmacists in the US vary depending on position and pharmacists usually move around from one position to another in the industry. Starting salaries may begin around $70,000 a year, but there is a lot of potential for increases in the industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the growth rate of pharmacist jobs is faster than average for the future.
To get a job as an industry pharmacist, it is important to go through a fellowship program if you are about to graduate from pharmacy school. Otherwise, you should get a few years of work experience prior to making a career switch into industry. Also, getting a job as an intern in the pharmaceutical industry will help you find a job.
There is a lot of competition for pharmaceutical industry jobs because people from various educational backgrounds can apply, but a specialized knowledge from the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D) degree will help you stand out from the crowd.
National average salary: $12.39 per hour
Primary duties: A pharmacy clerk has a variety of responsibilities, including filling prescriptions for customers, completing cash register transactions and updating patient information records. Furthermore, they make sure that the pharmacy area is clean and well-arranged. They also assist the pharmacist in ordering stock and entering it into inventory.
National average salary: $13.04 per hour
Primary duties: A pharmacy dispenser selects medical drugs or devices according to a patient’s prescription order and puts them in a suitably labeled container. They also update the patient’s personal and insurance information on the computer. They assist the pharmacist in managing the inventory, placing wholesale orders, arranging the merchandise neatly on shelves, processing paperwork, screening telephone calls and communicating with insurance carriers.
National average salary: $14.31 per hour
Primary duties: A pharmacy assistant helps the pharmacy management with regular administrative tasks like storing prescription records, maintaining inventories, preparing invoices, preparing audits and ordering office supplies. They keep personnel files and carry out background checks on new employees. They also conduct training for safety and compliance requirements and ensure that all the pharmacy areas and equipment are kept clean.
National average salary: $16.27 per hour
Primary duties: A pharmacy technician works in a hospital or clinic pharmacy under a licensed pharmacist. They help manage the pharmacy workstation, which involves ordering medications for the inventory and keeping the shelves clean, well-stocked and in neat order. Additionally, they fill patient prescriptions, dispense the correct medications at the proper dosages and check for any allergies and food and drug interactions. They listen to the patients’ health reports, and may suggest over-the-counter medications for some of their ailments.
National average salary: $52.47 per hour
Primary duties: A pharmacist has in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical products and their appropriate use. They assess and fill medication prescriptions for patients and if necessary may discuss medicinal alternatives with doctors and other medical professionals. They order and stock medications and arrange them neatly on the pharmacy shelves. They also maintain medication and patient records.
National average salary: $52.55 per hour
Primary duties: A chemotherapy pharmacist prepares and dispenses chemotherapy drugs used in cancer treatments. They assess the quality of these drugs and make their review available to cancer hospitals and cancer treatment centers. The health providers can then know how effective the drugs will be in treating cancer patients.
National average salary: $52.55 per hour
Primary duties: A nuclear pharmacist is responsible for preparing, testing and dispensing radiopharmaceuticals for diagnosing and treating different types of cancers and many other diseases. Aside from managing laboratory procedures and testing equipment during drug production, they supervise the handling, packaging and delivery of the radiopharmaceuticals. They are actively involved in maintaining the work environment safety and in the disposal of hazardous bio-waste products. Additionally, they keep production and sales records and comply with company policies and legal regulations.
Long-term care pharmacists
National average salary: $54.63 per hour
Primary duties: A long-term care pharmacist oversees the pharmaceutical services for patients in a long term care facility. They work in collaboration with the physicians, nurses and medical staff at the facility to evaluate patient health, dispense necessary medications and resolve any pharmacy-related concerns. They update patient medication information in a medical database and monitor and record the results of the patient medication regimen. Also, they prepare reports of drug utilization and make recommendations to improve patient clinical care.
National average salary: $55.16 per hour
Primary duties: A staff pharmacist dispenses accurate prescription orders, administers immunizations and counsels patients about how to take their medications. They analyze and interpret reports, implement and monitor safety controls and conduct operational and quality assurance reviews. Additionally, they ensure compliance with legal policies and regulations.
Director of pharmacy
National average salary: $108,574 per year
Primary duties: A director of a pharmacy is responsible for overseeing a pharmacy’s operations and management. They procure and store medications and work in coordination with medical staff to dispense it safely to patients. Along with maintaining accurate records of accounting transactions, they respond to pharmacy claims adjudication. They make the decisions to introduce improved operational programs and safety policies or update existing ones. They implement strategic plans, evaluate service standards and boost performance for optimum efficiency.
Pharmacist in charge
National average salary: $111,019 per year
Primary duties: A pharmacist in charge implements daily operations in coordination with the pharmacy management, and recruits the pharmacy staff and oversees their work. They maintain a database of patient medical history, respond to patients about their pharmaceutical requirements and discuss prescriptions with doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. They order, stock and store pharmaceutical drugs and are responsible for the disposal of outdated or contaminated drugs. They also make sure that the pharmacy complies with legal requirements and regulations.
National average salary: $112,139 per year
Primary duties: A pharmacy manager is in charge of a pharmacy’s daily operations. They provide efficient customer services, handle medications and other product, and maintain a patient medication database. They consult with medical professionals about filling prescriptions and counsel patients about the medication intake and its possible side effects. They prescribe over-the-counter medications for minor ailments and follow departmental and legal policies and procedures.
National average salary: $112,282 per year
Primary duties: A pharmacy specialist assembles and maintains patient medical histories and reviews them to evaluate a patient’s self-care needs. While monitoring patients using electronic health records and other digital systems, they inform them about self-care medication, products and services. Additionally, they let them know about available medication assistance programs and the enrollment requirements, and schedule meetings with the appropriate medical staff and financial counselors. They work in sync with physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals in managing the patient’s health condition and requirements.
National average salary: $117,977 per year
Primary duties: A clinical pharmacist works in cooperation with physicians and other clinical health providers to review and dispense medications to patients. They evaluate a patient’s drug regimen and may recommend an alternative pharmacotherapeutic plan if the prescribed medications produce allergic reactions. They educate patients on proper medication usage and monitor them for health problems.
Health outcomes pharmacist
National average salary: $115,375 per year
Primary duties: A health outcomes pharmacist will plan and implement various clinical pharmacy patient care programs. These might include immunization services, medication therapy management programs and disease state management. They ensure that the pharmacy adheres to FDA regulations and follows standard operating procedures. Using pharmacy system information technology, they support and connect with patients and pharmacy staff. Also, they stay updated on developments in the pharmaceutical field by reading pharmacy-related content and publications and attending trainings.
National average salary: $140,020 per year
Primary duties: A pharmacologist works with hospitals, biopharmaceutical companies and other organizations to discover and develop therapies to treat cancer and various other diseases. They often collaborate with research scientists in various clinical development programs to conduct quantitative modeling, clinical trial simulations, and safety tests. The pharmacologists studies, tests and analyzes pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics data about patients.
Clinical pharmacists focus more on clinical work than dispensing medications compared to other pharmacists. Many work in hospital settings and visit patients along with physicians to determine the best treatment options. The role of a clinical pharmacist is essential because potent drugs have side effects that can be detrimental if the wrong dose is given.
A clinical pharmacist needs to document the amount of drugs given and the concentration of the drug in the patient to assure that enough drug is given to be effective and that not too much is given to be harmful. The clinical pharmacist also needs to know about conditions in the patient that may affect the drug level. For example, liver and kidney damage can affect the concentration of drugs in a person’s body and the pharmacist needs to determine a special dose for the unique situation. Common areas that clinical pharmacists monitor relate to anticoagulation, diabetes, hypertension, infection, oncology, and mental health.
Clinical pharmacists also check for drug interactions and the appropriateness of drug use. It isn’t uncommon for a clinical pharmacist to notice that a prescribed antibiotic isn’t effective for a particular strain of bacteria and suggest a change.
Most clinical pharmacists have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) and 2 years of residency experience. Since they are experienced professionals with specialized knowledge, some clinical pharmacists are affiliated with pharmacy schools and participate in educating future pharmacists.
The job as a clinical pharmacist is challenging, but can be very rewarding for pharmacists who enjoy the clinical aspects of pharmacy more than the dispensing and manufacturing parts of pharmacy. The most important thing is to find a fit that is right for you.
Poison Control Pharmacist
Almost everyone knows someone who has eaten something by accident at one point or another and it is often hard to tell if it is safe or not. Fortunately, we have pharmacists who work at Poison Control Centers (PCC) with the education and training to help us.
Pharmacists who work at Poison Control Centers receive calls from medical professionals and patients about drugs and toxicity. Some calls may be from a concerned parent of a child who ingested several gummy vitamins, while other calls may be from a physician asking about the use of expired medications in an emergency situation. The variety of calls involved puts the pharmacist in many different unique situations and is great for those who like to tackle many different challenges. Regardless of the nature of the call, a pharmacist must use their clinical knowledge to provide the best answer and recommend appropriate treatment options if necessary.
Pharmacists Help with Drug Questions
Most Poison Control Centers are open 24 hours so rotating shifts may be necessary if you want to be a pharmacist at a Poison Control Center. The salary is usually competitive with hospital pharmacists and may exceed $100,000 a year. There are over 50 Poison Control Centers across the nation in the US so there is a lot of flexibility in job locations. However, pharmacists must have the appropriate license for their state requirements.
Since poison control pharmacists are clinically oriented, a residency after pharmacy school is preferred. Also, knowing multiple languages can help since there may be calls from people who are more comfortable speaking a foreign language. The road to becoming a poison control pharmacist isn’t easy, but the rewards are worth it for people who enjoy helping others and solving multiple types of problems.
Retail pharmacy is one of the most popular career choices for pharmacists. With a pharmacy around the corner in every major city and in most towns, retail pharmacists have the flexibility to choose to work in various different locations around the world.
Retail pharmacists have the most face to face interactions with patients and are an important part of the community. Many patients trust the judgment of their pharmacists and often ask questions about both prescription and non-prescription medications. The pharmacist checks medications prepared by technicians for adverse drug reactions and provides counseling to patients before the drug is dispensed. Many retail pharmacists also provide additional services and counsel patients on topics as diverse as blood pressure and diabetes monitoring. Additionally, many retail pharmacists now also provide immunization services for flu. The role of the retail pharmacist is constantly expanding to provide better service for patients.
Retail Pharmacist Counseling
Retail pharmacists in the US can make over $60.00 per hour with an annual salary over $120,000. A license is required to become a retail pharmacist. Check this list to view what is necessary for each state. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the growth rate of pharmacist jobs is faster than average for the future.
To get a job as a retail pharmacist, it is important to network during on campus recruiting events if you are still in pharmacy school. Also, getting a job as a pharmacy technician or intern at a retail pharmacy will help your chances. Many new hires start off as a floater and move between different stores, but eventually is assigned to a single store.v
Retail pharmacists can advance to a pharmacist in charge (PIC) position or a management position if they are part of a large corporate chain such as CVS and Walgreens.
v A career in hospital pharmacy is rewarding, but competition is intense. This article will give you an idea of what the job entails and what you can do to increase your chances of landing the coveted staff pharmacist position.
Hospital pharmacists work with healthcare professionals to provide the best treatment options for patients. The pharmacist checks orders for drugs for potential side effects and drug interactions and dispenses the medications. Hospital pharmacists may also prepare IV bags and TPN solutions for infusion, oral syringes with specific doses, and creams or ointments, but in many cases the hospital pharmacist supervises pharmacy technicians for drug preparation and checks the finished product prior to dispensing to patients. At some hospitals, pharmacists also make home visits to provide patient counseling to patients that have been discharged from the hospital with medications to ensure proper use.
In the United States, hospital pharmacists can make over $53.00 per hour with an annual salary over $110,000 a year. To become a hospital pharmacist, you need a pharmacist license for the state that the hospital is located in. Licensure information for each state can be found in this list. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the growth rate of pharmacist jobs is faster than average for the future.
In addition to getting a pharmacist license, it is helpful to go through a 2 year residency program after pharmacy school to get a job at a hospital. Not only will this give you additional hands on experience, but it will also let you network with other healthcare professionals. It is also beneficial to work as a pharmacy technician during school and to learn as much about the hospital pharmacy as you can before applying for a job.
Hospital pharmacists can advance to a pharmacist in charge (PIC) position or a director of pharmacy position to take on additional responsibilities.
Through research and trials, pharmacists can help physicians determine which drug therapies best treat various diseases. They bring an understanding of medicine and its uses to the clinical aspect of research. They gather data on the usage of medications and compile the ________ for further research.
What is a Pharmacist?
Pharmacists are healthcare professionals who practice in pharmacy. Pharmacists do indeed dispense medicines, but first they check for any possible interactions with other medicines or medical conditions.
What is compounding, and why is it necessary?
Compounding is the creation of a pharmaceutical preparation—a drug—by a licensed pharmacist to meet the unique needs of an individual patient (either human or animal) when a commercially available drug does not meet those needs. A patient may not be able to tolerate the commercially available drug, the exact preparation needed may not be commercially available, or a patient may require a drug that is currently in shortage or discontinued. The U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention (USP) formally defines compounding as “the preparation, mixing, assembling, altering, packaging, and labeling of a drug, drug-delivery device, or device in accordance with a licensed practitioner's prescription, medication order, or initiative based on the practitioner/patient/ pharmacist/compounder relationship in the course of professional practice.”
Following are a few examples of how a compounding pharmacist can customize medications based upon a doctor’s prescription to meet a patient’s needs:
•Customize strength or dosage.
•Flavor a medication (to make it more palatable for a child or a pet). •Reformulate the drug to exclude an unwanted, nonessential ingredient, such as lactose, gluten, or a dye to which a patient is allergic. •Change the form of the medication for patients who, for example, have difficulty swallowing or experience stomach upset when taking oral medication.
Compounding pharmacists can put drugs into specially flavored liquids, topical creams, transdermal gels, suppositories, or other dosage forms suitable for patients’ unique needs. Compounding does not include making copies of commercially available drug products, as this is not allowed by law.
How is pharmaceutical compounding different from drug manufacturing?
Traditional compounding is the preparation of a medication to meet the prescriber’s exact specifications and to be dispensed directly to the patient, pursuant to a valid prescription for that patient. Pharmaceutical compounding is performed or supervised by a pharmacist licensed by a state board of pharmacy (see question below on legal oversight of compounding versus manufacturing). Manufacturing is the mass production of drug products that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are sold to pharmacies, health care practitioners, or others who are authorized under state and federal law to resell them.
What is a compounding pharmacy?
While most pharmacies offer some level of compounding, most compounding is done in pharmacies that have made the investment in equipment and training to do so safely and efficiently. The preparations offered by these compounding pharmacies can be nonsterile (ointments, creams, liquids, or capsules that are used in areas of the body where absolute sterility is not necessary) or sterile (usually intended for the eye, or injection into body tissues or the blood).
All licensed pharmacists learn during their training and education to perform basic compounding. In addition, most pharmacies have some compounding tools, such as a mortar and pestle for grinding materials, graduated cylinders for measuring liquids, balances for weighing solids, spatulas for mixing materials, and ointment slabs on which to work. With such tools and through applying their knowledge, all pharmacists routinely prepare nonsterile compounded preparations when requested by prescribers.
Of the approximately 56,000 community-based pharmacies in the United States, about 7,500 pharmacies specialize in compounding services. This means the pharmacists in those facilities spend most or all of their time compounding special preparations for patients. Preparations made in these pharmacies are more likely to include both sterile and nonsterile dosage forms. Compounding also takes place in hospital pharmacies and at other health care facilities.
Who regulates compounding pharmacies? Do compounding pharmacies follow the same regulations as drug manufacturers? Why or why not?
The practice of compounding is regulated by state boards of pharmacy. Community and hospital compounding pharmacists are allowed exemptions to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 if they comply with the regulations outlined in Section 503A. All pharmacists and pharmacies engaged in compounding are subject to oversight by both federal and state authorities.
Pharmacists engaged in compounding are expected to follow applicable standards and regulations for the types of preparations that are compounded. FDA has oversight for the integrity and safety of the drugs (called Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, or APIs, by FDA) used in compounded preparations. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has oversight for any controlled substances used in the preparation of compounded medications. Controlled substances include narcotics such as hydrocodone, amphetamines, and similar drugs, and drugs such as those used for anxiety and sleep disorders.
In addition, the United States Pharmacopeial (USP) Convention issues standards that apply to compounding. This private, nonprofit organization defines the chemical purity of drugs and also issues practice standards. USP develops standards for the identity, quality, strength, and purity of medicines, dietary supplements, and food ingredients that may be used in compounding preparations. These standards in particular are relevant to compounding pharmacists.
USP General Chapter <797> is a national standard for the process, testing, and verification of any compounded sterile preparations. It provides guidance on preventing microbial contamination and other variances in compounded sterile preparations, regardless of setting (e.g., hospitals, community pharmacies) or who is performing the compounding (pharmacists, nurses, pharmacy technicians, or others).
USP General Chapter <795> provides similar guidance for nonsterile preparations that are compounded in health care settings. It describes categories of compounding (simple, moderate, complex), defines concepts such as beyond-use date and stability, and provides criteria for compounding pharmacists to follow in preparing various drug preparations.
USP General Chapter <800> is a new standard developed by USP that establishes practice and quality standards of hazardous drugs to minimize the exposure to hazardous drugs within health care settings. This standard aims to promote worker safety (pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and many others), patient safety, and environmental protection. This standard was published on February 1, 2016, but will not be officially implemented until July 1, 2018. The current list of hazardous drugs is available from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Compliance with these and other USP guidelines is considered the minimum standard of practice in pharmacy.
Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation
Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation is a service of the Accreditation Council for Health Care (ACHC) that assesses the nonsterile and sterile pharmacy compounding process as defined by a specific set of standards that concentrate on the quality and consistency of medications produced.
How would patients know if their medication is compounded?
Knowing that, should they take any precautions, or do anything differently?
Ask. A patient can receive compounded drugs from a typical community pharmacy or a specialty compounding pharmacy, or compounded drugs can be administered by doctors or other health professionals in clinics or medical offices. Patients should ask the person administering a medication or the pharmacist dispensing a prescription whether it was prepared in a compounding pharmacy or manufactured by a drug company. A widely accepted standard of practice is to label all compounded preparations with information stating the medication has been “compounded.”
If a prescription calls for a compounded drug, patients can ask whether the compounding pharmacy is accredited. Lists of accredited compounding pharmacies are organized by state on the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board’s (PCAB) website.
Does a compounding pharmacist have special training?
Compounding is a central activity to the practice of pharmacy. Pharmacists are taught in pharmacy school how to properly compound medications, and many states test pharmacists’ compounding knowledge and skills before issuing them a license.
Pharmacists who practice in the 7,500 pharmacies that specialize in compounding services have generally had advanced training in compounding after they graduated from pharmacy school. No state currently requires a particular type of training, and no nationally recognized specialty exists for pharmaceutical compounding. Specialized training in pharmacy compounding processes is available through several of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) suppliers serving the needs of the compounding pharmacy community.
v When is a compounding pharmacy necessary?
A health care provider will prescribe a compounded drug only when commercially available drug products do not meet your needs. If you do not understand why you have been prescribed a special formulation, ask your prescriber. If you are concerned about taking a compounded drug and you and your prescriber agree that you can tolerate the commercially available drug, you may also ask if there is any evidence that your outcome will be better on the compounded formulation.
Where is more information about compounding available?
For additional information about compounding pharmacy, contact IACP, PCAB, USP, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) or the appropriate state board of pharmacy.
If you are interested in information on new regulations, news stories, and practice standards in compounding pharmacy, these are available on APhA’s “Just the Facts” page. The FDA and CDC websites provide up-to-date information, lists of affected facilities and states, treatment guidelines, FAQ statements and other resources to assist health care providers and the public in addressing this issue.
What caused the meningitis outbreak, and how could it have been prevented?
In 2012, patients developed fungal meningitis after receiving injections into the spinal column of a product prepared by the New England Compounding Center (NECC), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA.
A number of things went wrong with these preparations. Because the compounded preparation was a suspension (with visible particles) rather than a solution (a dispersion of the drug at the molecule level), the liquid could not be filtered in a way that would have removed bacteria and fungi. Because the preparation was being injected directly into the spine, no preservative or other additives that might have prevented fungal growth could be added. The drug itself was a type of steroid, and these agents decrease the body’s response to microorganisms, and this might have prevented some patients from fighting off the fungi on their own. Finally, because NECC was distributing the preparation to many states in large quantities—something that compounding pharmacies are not permitted to do under state and federal laws—some of these preparations remained unused for a long time in some cases (allowing the fungi to grow), and a large number of patients were affected.
Inspections of NECC by FDA and the Massachusetts State Department of Health found unsanitary conditions at NECC facilities and violations of the USP<797> standard as well as local law.
The report also found that NECC was distributing large quantities of compounded preparations “apparently for general use rather than requiring a prescription for an individual patient.” State law requires a prescription for compounding and dispensing medication.
“Manufacturing and distributing sterile products in bulk was not allowed under the terms of its state pharmacy license,” the report said. “If NECC was appropriately licensed as a manufacturer with the FDA, the company would have been subject to additional levels of scrutiny.”
Congressional hearings on November 14–15, 2012, examined what went wrong in the NECC case, the role and responsibility of regulators, and what can be done to prevent another such outbreak in the future.
Will the outbreak lead to reconsideration of or changes in current policy/regulations?
v The Compounding Quality Act of 2012 was a direct outcome of increased regulation over compounding. This landmark legislation is also called the Drug, Quality and Security Act (DQSA) of 2013. The first section, Title I, is concerned with compounding. Title II deals with Track and Trace rules.
The DQSA established for FDA clear authority over certain aspects of compounding. The Act also created a new entity, called Outsourcing Facilities. Section 503B of the FD&C Act was added by this bill to govern outsourcing facilities.
Requiring board certification of pharmacists and/or accreditation of compounding pharmacies to provide complex compounding services could also be a result of the fungal meningitis outbreak. The Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties is developing a specialty designation for sterile compounding.
Here are further guidelines.