Tip of the Week
How to Choose a Pharmacist
You may think that all pharmacies and pharmacists are the same, but having a regular pharmacist can be a huge benefit. Choosing the best pharmacist is important for you and your family. A pharmacist will inform you about medications and how they may affect you. They will also let you know if a new prescription will interact with another medication you are taking.
Do not settle for just anyone. Finding the right person who will take care of your prescription needs is just as important as having the right doctor.
Consider these factors when choosing a pharmacist.
Location and Hours
You will need a pharmacy that is conveniently located near your workplace or home.
Also consider the pharmacy’s hours. These days, you can usually find a pharmacy that is open 24-hours a day. The schedule is especially important if you have children. An easy location and good schedule is critical to helping you obtain medications and have your questions answered by the pharmacist.
People who travel frequently will benefit from a corporate pharmacy that has chain stores throughout the country. Any branch you visit will have your medical information stored in their computer system. If you become sick during your travels, your regular doctor will be able to send a prescription to any branch pharmacy.
If you still can’t decide on a pharmacy, ask your friends and family for suggestions. You could also check with your doctor for recommendations.
Medications and Consultations
It is always best to keep all of your prescriptions with one trusted pharmacy. Using different pharmacies is a recipe for disaster. It is a situation ripe for creating inadvertent drug interactions or overdoses. Maintaining all of your prescriptions with one pharmacy means that the pharmacist can monitor your drug regimen to avoid adverse effects.
Of course, you should also feel comfortable asking questions about medications. Look for someone who takes the time and patiently answers all of your questions. Some pharmacies allow private, one-to-one consultations while others do not. Think about whether privacy is a concern for you and choose accordingly.
Pharmacists must keep their licenses and training up-to-date. However, they often have different levels of education.
Anyone who received a license prior to the 1990s may only have a bachelor’s degree. Recent pharmacists may have a doctoral degree. If educational backgrounds are important to you, inquire about the pharmacist’s background and training. They might also have a degree posted on the wall.
Are you getting a seasonal flu shot at the pharmacy? Not all of them offer vaccinations. The policies vary according to the pharmacy.
Sometimes a pharmacist will give shots; other pharmacies contain small medical clinics with physicians on staff to address basic medical needs. You might find a location that will give you a free flu shot. Inquire with the staff to find out if they have a vaccination program.
Choosing the right pharmacist is essential. Remember, you are trusting this person with all of your medication needs. You will rely on their information for you and your family’s well-being. It is at least as important as finding the best doctor.