Pharmacy (from Greek pharmakeia, use of drugs, from pharmakon, drug) is the health profession that links the health sciences with the chemical sciences, and it is charged with ensuring the safe and effective use of medication. The scope of pharmacy practice includes more traditional roles such as compounding and dispensing medications, and it also includes more modern services related to patient care, including clinical services, reviewing medications for safety and efficacy, and providing drug information. Pharmacists, therefore, are the experts on drug therapy and are the primary health professionals who optimize medication use to provide patients with positive health outcomes. The term is also applied to an establishment used for such purposes.

Types of pharmacy practice areas

Pharmacists practice in a variety of areas including retail, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, drug industry, and regulatory agencies. Pharmacists can specialize in various areas of practice including but not limited to: hematology/oncology, infectious diseases, ambulatory care, nutrition support, drug information, critical care, pediatrics, etc.

The future of pharmacy

In the coming decades, pharmacists are expected to become more integral within the health care system. Rather than simply dispensing medication, pharmacists will be paid for their patient care skills.

This shift has already commenced in some countries; for instance, pharmacists in Australia receive remuneration from the Australian Government for conducting comprehensive Home Medicines Reviews. In the United Kingdom, pharmacists (and nurses) who undertake additional training are obtaining prescribing rights. They are also being paid for by the government for medicine use reviews. Pharmaceutical care or Clinical pharmacy has had an evolving influence on the practice of pharmacy. Moreover, the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree is now required before entering practice and many pharmacists now complete one or two years of residency or fellowship training following graduation. In addition, consultant pharmacists, who traditionally operated primarily in nursing homes are now expanding into direct consultation with patients, under the banner of "senior care pharmacy."

Pharmaceutical Symbols

World-wide thre are many symbols, Signs and Badges used to represent Pharmacy.

A number of these symbols enjoy particularly widespread usage, and are explained and illustrated below. There is no standard representation of them, but the illustrations on this sheet have been chosen to give the simplest and clearest image available for each one.

Major Pharmaceutical And Medical Symbol

1. The mortar and pestle has long been used as a pharmaceutical symbol in Britain and on the European mainland, and is still widely employed as a pharmacy shop sign in Scotland. The mortar and pestle are tools of traditional pharmacy, hence their use as an easily recognisable visual motif. The mortar and pestle symbol shown here is a stylised Scandinavian version.

2. The recipe sign appears at the start of prescriptions. Although universally accepted as an abbreviation of “recipe” (Latin for ‘take thou’), it has also been suggested that it is the astronomical sign of the planet Jupiter.