Pharmacists are integral part of healthcare system. Duties and Importance of pharmacist is less understood but  role of pharmacist is indispensable from discovery to rational use of drugs. Pharmacist role is not acknowledged by some governments and policy makers and this lead to commonplace irrational use of drugs; both through prescription and self medication.

We are providing role and responsibilities of pharmacists as per pharmacy regulations and drugs laws in India. If strictly implemented these can improve patient well-being and treatment outcomes to a great degree.

Role and Duties Of Registered Pharmacist 

1. Dispensing/Supply of Drugs:

(a) The various activities of dispensing (prescription assembly) like removal of drugs from the packing, filling the prescription etc. may be performed under the super-vision of a registered pharmacist by any person who has been trained to perform these activities. However, the actual dispensing of drugs to patients shall only be performed by the Registered pharmacist after due verification of the prescription filled by others.

(b) A Registered pharmacist shall undertake a pharmaceutical assessment of every prescription presented for dispensing. For the purpose of the act, pharmaceutical assessment is defined as the point at which Registered pharmacist applies his knowledge to establish the safety, quality, efficacy and rational use of drugs treatments specified by a prescriber.

(c) Patient confidentiality shall be maintained at all times.

(d) Appropriate information shall be provided to the patient or the care giver and, where possible, understanding of this information should be checked.

(e) For all prescriptions handled by the pharmacy:

(i) Patient details shall be checked and confirmed;
(ii) Pharmaceutical assessment shall be made;
(iii) Proper documentation shall be maintained.

(f) Assessment of the prescription should include but not be limited to assessment of whether :

(i) The prescription is legally valid.
(ii) The prescription includes an appropriate dosage form and appropriate route of administration.
(iii) Prescription is appropriate to the patient’s condition.
(iv) Duration of treatment is correct.
(v) Prescription is appropriate according to patient’s para-meters (age, weight etc.) and previous medication.
(vi) Prescription is compatible with other medications.
(vii) Prescription is consistent with formulary and guidelines, if any.
(viii) Possibility of side effects and ad-verse drug reactions exist.
(ix) Contra-indicated.
(x) Potential for misuse and inappropriate use of the medicines in prescription by patient exists.
(xi) Prescription is complying with labeling requirements.

(g) Compounding, dispensing and labeling of required drug products should ensure that

(i) The drug product matches the prescription.
(ii) The drug product has not expired.
(iii) The drug product is appropriately compounded (if necessary), packed and labeled appropriately.
(iv) The accuracy of dispensing is checked by Registered Pharmacist.
(v) Proper documentation is made.
(h) Delivery of the drug product to the patient/carer is done in such a way as to ensure that:
(i) The Registered pharmacist hands over the drug to the patient/carer.
(ii) Appropriate information on drugs is provided to the patient/ carer.

2. Pharmacist role for promotion of rational drug use:

To promote rational use of drugs, the pharmacist shall involve himself in activities such as:

(i) Preparation of formularies both at the hospital level and at state/ national levels.

(ii) Critical assessment of promotional materials prepared by the drug companies.

(iii) Dissemination of evaluated information through authorized sources.

(iv) Updating the knowledge of drugs through continuing education programmmes and also to organize educational programmes for health professionals.

v) Preparation and dissemination of patient information leaflets.

3. Pharmacist role in Patient counselling :

(a) Upon receipt of a prescription (prescription drug order) and following a review of the patient’s record, a Registered Pharmacist shall personally initiate discussion of matters that will enhance or optimize drug therapy with each patient or care given of such patient. Such discussion shall be in person, whenever practicable or by telephone and shall include appropriate elements of patient counseling. Such elements may include the following :

(i) Name and description of the drugs
(ii) The dosage form, dose, route of administration, and duration of drug therapy
(iii) Intended use of the drug and expected action
(iv) Special directions and precautions for the drug
(v) Common severe side effects or adverse effects or interactions and therapeutic contraindications that may be encountered, including their avoidance, and the action required if they occur ;
(vi) Techniques for self monitoring drug therapy
(vii) Proper storage of the drugs
(viii) Prescription refill information
(ix) Action to be taken in the event of a missed dose
(x) To ensure rational use of drugs

Note: The pharmacist shall not be required to counsel a patient or caregiver when the patient or caregiver refuses such consultations.

(b) The pharmacist shall maintain the records pertaining to drugs administered to the patients (drug card) that may be utilized for the evaluation of the drug therapy

(c) The pharmacist is authorized (as a Health care professional) to undertake process and outcome research, health promotion and education and provide health information. Also to undertake the Pharmaco-epidemiological studies.

(d) Pharmacies providing patient counselling shall have regard to the following:

i.Only Registered pharmacists are involved in counselling.
ii.Facilities are provided for confidential conversation and patient confidentiality is maintained.
iii.Patient information leaflets are provided.
iv.Proper documentation is made.
v.Unnecessary counselling should be avoided.
vi.Counselling for Patient’s Benefit: In every consultation, the benefit to the patient is of foremost importance. All registered pharmacists engaged in the case should be frank with the patient and his attendants.
vii.Punctuality in counselling: Utmost punctuality should be observed by a registered pharmacist in making themselves available for counselling.a

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