Last Saturday was World Pharmacists Day, which is observed every Sept 25 to express gratitude for and shed light on the role played by these healthcare providers.
While most people might assume pharmacists are primarily tasked with dispensing medication behind the counter, you might be surprised to learn they can also be involved in research and development, academia, regulatory affairs, and other fields.
Here are eight types of pharmacists in Malaysia you might or might not have known of.
1. Community pharmacists
The most common and traditional form of pharmacy practice, those in this line dispense medication based on doctors’ prescriptions, as well as provide medical counselling or lifestyle advice to the community at large.
Community pharmacists screen for correct dosages, check whether treatments are appropriate, and provide recommendations on drug and drug-food interactions.
2. Hospital pharmacists
As the name suggests, these personnel cater to patients in a public or private hospital. They contribute equally to a multidisciplinary team of other healthcare professionals to ensure patients receive the best care.
Hospital pharmacists cover the preparation and dispensing of medicines, provision of medical information, counselling services, management of drug inventory, therapeutic drug monitoring, as well as preparation of nutrition for patients who can’t eat due to their condition.
3. Industrial pharmacists
Pharmacists in this field are often executives and/or managers in commercial organisations who manage the export and import of drugs, as well as research and development.
They primarily deal with selling pharmaceutical raw materials in bulk, in addition to marketing pharmaceutical products to stakeholders such as hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, pharmaceutical manufacturing houses, and others.
While those in a multinational corporation setting are also involved in marketing and distribution, they have the added responsibility of ensuring all registration of pharmaceuticals conform with Malaysian drug laws, and that all transactions are compliant with ethical principles.
4. Quality control and assurance (QC & QA) pharmacists
QC & QA pharmacists generally work in pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, where they are responsible for conducting lab-safety tests to ensure the drugs produced meet Good Manufacturing Practice requirements.
Those in quality assurance may work in hospitals or pharmaceutical companies, or could also be government auditors. Their job is to ensure compliance to standards so that the health of patients is not compromised in any way.
5. Regulatory pharmacists
The National Pharmacy Regulatory Agency is composed of a team of government pharmacists whose role is to oversee and approve registrations submitted by importers/distributors.
These regulatory pharmacists also oversee Good Manufacturing Practice, which includes supervising the analyses of products that are submitted for registration.
Private-sector regulatory pharmacists, on the other hand, are in charge of registering products for importers and distributors, and also provide consulting services.
6. Veterinary pharmacists
Those in this line are involved in the distribution of medications for pets and farm animals.
7. Academic pharmacists
These personnel are employed by tertiary institutions or pharmaceutical-science schools in universities to pass their knowledge on to future pharmacists.
8. Research and development (R&D) pharmacists
Pharmacists who are interested in research and development can either work at the ministry of health’s clinical research centre, or with universities or pharmaceutical companies.
Major pharmaceutical companies spend considerable amounts on R&D, making these pharmacists especially valuable for the innovation of medical advancements.
This article was written by DOC2US, a mobile application that allows you to talk to a doctor or any healthcare professionals via text chat at any time and from anywhere.