Chances are that when you think of a pharmacy, only one image pops into your head: a pharmacy area inside a bigger retail store or chain, with a friendly pharmacist in a white coat waiting to hand over your medication. In reality, there are many different types of pharmacies that exist and serve unique needs. Let’s review six different types of pharmacies and what they do!
1. Community Pharmacy
First up, we have the community pharmacy. This is what most people assume is the only type of pharmacy, or at least the one they are most familiar with. They are also known as a retail pharmacy. In a community pharmacy, there will be a specific pharmacy chain or retailer with a pharmacy area that is open to anyone in the community. People can make their own appointments and come in and out to grab prescriptions or over the counter medication.
2. Hospital Pharmacy
This is the second type of pharmacy that most people are familiar with. It is a logical assumption to make, since hospitals deal with a lot of medication each and every day. Prescriptions must be written by doctors and filled quickly, not to mention the meds that get delivered to all of the patients! Hospital pharmacies are an essential part of keeping everyone safe and healthy. In addition, clinical trials or teaching and mentorship programs can occur.
3. Managed Care Pharmacy
Now we’re getting into the specific types of pharmacies that most have never heard of! A managed care pharmacy is the specific term for the area or group in charge of planning, organizing, and managing the medication in specific healthcare facilities. These can span all over the board, from hospitals to nursing homes to mental health wards. Managed care pharmacies are important because they provide essential care to the specific areas where they reside. Oftentimes, the medication they give out each day is essential to the health of their patients.
4. Online Pharmacy
You might be asking yourself: how could a pharmacy possibly be online? The answer is quite simple! Online pharmacies (also known as internet pharmacies or mail-order pharmacies) operate entirely over the internet or by phone order. Medication orders are sent through the mail, or prescriptions can be delivered through an online portal. Sometimes, online pharmacies are a separate branch of a physical pharmacy that handles all internet-based orders. A good example of this is this online pharmacy.
5. Consulting Pharmacy
Consulting pharmacy is a new and exciting branch of the profession, and has only been around for about thirty years! The point of consulting pharmacy is to focus on the reviews and applications of medication as opposed to directly administering it. This study allows us to learn more about the theories of medication. In addition, consultant pharmacists can visit or be part of a staff that dispenses medication and over their expert advice and research. Consultant pharmacists are becoming a common part of nursing homes and other care facilities where lots of medication is needed.
6. Ambulatory Care Pharmacy
Like the name suggests, an ambulatory care pharmacy is ambulance based and provides essential care to patients who often reside in rural areas. An ambulatory care pharmacy is mobile, meaning it can travel to meet patients instead of requiring patients to find them. This is essential for the eldery or infirm patients who live in rural areas and/or lack transportation. This type of pharmacy is typically employed by a larger healthcare organization.
As you can see, there are so many different types of pharmacies out there! This is important to know in order to see pharmacy as an essential and far-reaching service.
Erik Jackson has been a senior editor at Health News Tribune for three years. Fluent in French and proficient in Spanish and Arabic, he focuses on diseases and conditions and the newest trends in medicine.