Top Ten Ways to Manage Profit at Your Online or Community Pharmacy

An online or community pharmacy must be carefully managed for optimum profitability; occasionally, changes to business processes and marketing strategies should be implemented in order to open up new streams of income, while also improving the success of promotional activities. If you’re looking for ways to make more money through your drugstore, you’ll appreciate these top ten tips for managing profit:

10.) Diversify- Open up your business to new customers by adding holistic herbal products to your inventory. For example, if you currently sell OTC pain relievers, prescription medications, and conventional health aids, why not begin offering your clientele herbal supplements that treat health care conditions in a more holistic way? There is a big market for alternative medicines, and herbal remedies are now more popular than ever before.

9.) Cross-Sell -Make the most of your inventory by using cross-selling techniques to bundle related products. For example, if you’re running an online pharmacy, make sure that your checkout area is programmed with sections that show complementary items. “Bundle” vitamins with delicious herbal teas, prescription medications with special pill boxes that help people to keep their tablets organized, and so on. Offering a few percent off the total price on cross-sold goods is an excellent way to add appeal to this sales technique. People often buy impulsively at the checkout, so cross-selling is an excellent way to boost your profits quickly.

8.) Use Social Media- Create a buzz by promoting your pharmacy on the hottest social networking platforms, such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Pinterest. If you promote properly, the investment of time and energy that you put into reaching out to customers at these websites will definitely pay off. Add photos, blog posts, status updates, and special offers to tempt new buyers, and always respond to any feedback as soon as possible.

7.) Analyze Your Sales- Successful health care entrepreneurs never rest on their laurels; instead, they stay on top of things by analyzing their sales numbers and figuring out exactly which products are most appealing to their clients. To offer people what they really want, check all of your sales records to pinpoint buying trends. Then, consider offering different versions of the items that people buy the most.

6.) Target Your Ideal Customer- Business research doesn’t stop with sales analyses; you must also use market research to profile your ideal customer. Knowing who’s buying from your pharmacy is the key to marketing effectively and stocking your drugstore properly. Use client information to find out where your ideal customer lives and what his or her needs are. Then, market to that demographic or segment.

5.) Become an Expert- Position yourself as an expert in the pharmacy world by writing articles about pharmacy products, offering health care advice, or speaking to your local community. Becoming an expert builds your public profile and creates more trust and rapport with new and existing clientele.

4.) Create a Smart Phone-friendly Website- Today, many shoppers check out businesses online before they buy, and they often use their smartphones to browse the World Wide Web. If your pharmacy website isn’t compatible with a range of electronic devices, including smart phones, it’s time to hire a web development firm that knows how to create a smart phone-friendly environment at your url.

3.) Freshen Your Website Graphics- Nothing is more unappealing than a dated, dusty-looking website that doesn’t have any of the bells and whistles. If you don’t freshen up your graphics to stay current, your customers will soon lose interest. The best pharmacy entrepreneurs know how to adapt to change and keep things interesting; these savvy owner/managers always outsource for the hottest new web design graphics.

2.) Build More Interactivity into Your Pharmacy Web Pages- Whether you’re selling pharmacological products from a community or online pharmacy, you must still offer a business website that acts as a virtual calling card for your company. By building more interactivity into every web page on your website, you’ll create the right atmosphere for success. Hire a web design firm and ask them to add sharing buttons for social media, comment fields, and message boards to boost the appeal and interactivity of your website.

1.) Support a Charity- Your pharmacy is all about the health and wellness of your clients; with this in mind, why not support a charity that also promotes these values? By joining with a reputable and registered charity and donating money and/or time, you will create plenty of publicity and lots of goodwill towards your company. Often, donating to charity is much cheaper than paying for ads, and it’s so fulfilling. Meet prospective clients at local charity events, or donate online and enjoy a better public image that will build your brand.

The Online Pharmacy – How to Safely Buy Drugs Online

Safety concerns regarding buying prescription medications online pharmacy revolve around issues pertaining to your personal health, the legality of transactions, and protection of your personal information. Online pharmacies provide convenience and other advantages such as privacy and in some cases cheaper prices compared to the traditional brick and mortar pharmacy, but without due diligence the buying of prescription medication online can be fraught with a number of deleterious pitfalls.

To ensure the safety of prescription medications the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that medications go through safety clinical trials, and that the benefits outweigh the risks associated with a drug before it is approved for marketing and sale in the United States. Unfortunately pharmacists outside the United States that dispense drugs manufactured outside of the United States are not bound by federal regulations, posing a health hazard for those who choose to purchase from them. Because some pharmacies, even within the United States, import and distribute non-FDA approved drugs manufactured outside of the country, it is important to make sure that the online pharmacy you choose only dispenses FDA approved prescription medications. The main concerns about purchasing prescription medication from rogue online pharmacies that dispense drugs not approved by the FDA approved are, the drugs you receive might be counterfeit, contaminated, sub-potent, super potent or the wrong drug, all of which could jeopardize your health. In the worst-case scenario, you may not receive any medication at all despite paying for it. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the online pharmacy is licensed and based in the United States and if not that it is accredited and dispenses drugs approved by its government.

Since rogue pharmacies tend to want to be invisible and unreachable except in cyberspace, it is important to obtain up-to-date contact information in the form of a physical address and telephone number. With that information you can attempt to obtain a Better Business Bureau report. If a Better Business Bureau report is not available you can then do an advanced Dun & Bradstreet search to make sure that the business does in fact exist. Avoid doing business with operations that only provide you with an e-mail address as a form of contact. In addition to possibly precluding you from obtaining credentials and information about business practices, the provision of just an e-mail address might be an indicator of the quality of customer service you can expect or not expect. Also obtain the license number and any accreditation credentials from the pharmacy then verify the information through the state pharmacy board of the state in which the pharmacy is based, an all important step because some of the alleged Internet pharmacies are not really legitimate licensed operations. In addition to verifying license status and the fact that the pharmacy is located in the United States and meets quality standards, state boards of pharmacy or the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) can also let you know if an online pharmacy is accredited by Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) or other recognized accreditation programs. VIPPS pharmacy sites can also be identified by the VIPPS hyperlink seal displayed on their Web sites.

Many pharmacies online advertise the filling of prescriptions without a doctor’s order which can certainly be a health hazard if a prescription is filled without a thorough knowledge and understanding of your health record. The pharmacies that do this tend to hurdle the legal requirement of a doctor/patient relationship by having you fill out a questionnaire which is supposedly reviewed with you by their doctor during a telephone consultation. If you elect to participate in this type of interaction and relationship (which I do not recommend) be sure that the pharmacy engaging in this practice is compliant with the telemedicine laws of the state in which it is based since the definition of the establishment of a doctor/patient relationship varies from state to state. Also obtain the credentials of the doctor providing the telephone consultation including the state in which he or she is licensed and the license number, then verify that information through the medical board of the state in which the doctor is licensed to make sure that a valid license is held for the state in which you are located at the time of the telephone consultation. Otherwise the alleged relationship established by telephone and Internet would not be a legitimate one inasmuch as the interaction would be tantamount to the practice of medicine without a license. The take-home message is avoid buying prescription medications online without the order of a physician who is thoroughly familiar with your health history based not only on subjective information, but objective data as well including a physical examination, laboratory tests and x-rays if warranted. A doctor’s order also prevents the unauthorized substitution of generic prescription medication for brand-name medication, so make sure you know whether or not their doctor has authorized generic substitution, and if not be sure to know what the brand-name pill looks like before it arrives following shipment. The best way to be familiar with what brand-name pills look like is to order the first prescription from a local pharmacy and keep one or two of the pills in their respective bottles for comparison when your shipment arrives.

Although the legal ramifications of not being compliant with federal and state laws regarding the sale, importation and distribution of pharmaceutical medications generally rest with the pharmacy, the purchase and possession of controlled substances such as narcotics without a doctor’s prescription can result in legal consequences for the buyer, depending on the state of residence. Thus, the message is the same. Do not buy prescription medications, particularly controlled substances, without a doctor’s prescription. If you are elect to purchase medication not available in the United States and not approved by the FDA from a foreign Internet pharmacy for treatment of a condition for which your doctor feels it is indicated, be sure to obtain and keep on record a letter or note from your physician stating that.

After you have conducted the above research and you are satisfied with the results the final step should be to make sure that any private personal information submitted is protected and that your online transactions are secure. Make sure that the particular website has a well stated privacy policy assuring you that your information will not be shared with or sold to anyone for the purpose of marketing thus making you a target for spam e-mailing. Also make sure that your online credit card purchase is secure to protect yourself from identity theft. This can generally be done by looking for the lock icon to the right of the address bar of your browser before entering your credit card and other transaction information. Since credit card transactions can never be 100% secure because of what might happen to the information after is retrieved from the system, it is reasonable to find out whether or not the pharmacy will accept other forms of payment or even file with your insurance company.

In summary, do the necessary and appropriate investigation of an online pharmacy before buying medications online so as to optimize the likelihood of a medically, legally, financially and emotionally safe buying experience.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purpose only and is not intended to be legal advice or a substitute for medical consultation with a qualified professional. If you are seeking legal advice or are unsure about your medical condition you should consult an attorney and/or physician.

How Long Will it Take to Get My Pharmacy Tech Certification?

As most people know, a health care related career is some of the most important work a person can do. Whether a doctor, a nurse, or a pharmacist or pharmacy technician, health care workers strive to keep people healthy. And what could be more important than that?

For those looking into a health care career, the position of Pharmacy Technician may appeal to you. Depending on the workplace, a Pharmacy Technician has a variety of duties and responsibilities, from counting out pills to corresponding with customers, and each duty is important. Even routine tasks, such as labeling bottles, can be of life-or-death importance– as, of course, it’s imperative that patients are given the correct medications in the correct doses.

The hourly earnings of a Pharmacy Technician also vary from workplace to workplace. Pharmacy Techs who earn the most generally work in hospitals, where they earn an average of $13 hourly. The lowest-earning Pharmacy Technicians work in health or personal care stores, with about a $10.50 hourly wage. Obviously, where you choose to work as a Pharmacy Technician matters. And because hospitals and other highly specialized locations pay best, they also look for the best Technicians– that is, Pharmacy Techs with certification.

Training to Be a Pharmacy Technician

While some smaller drug stores, etc., simply provide on-the-job training to untrained Pharmacy Technicians, most higher-paying locations look for Pharmacy Technicians with formal training and certification. To obtain this, most aspiring Pharmacy Techs attend online or classroom training courses. When choosing a Pharmacy Tech course, there are several things to keep in mind, such as length of course, depth of subject matter, and quality of the course (accreditation).

How Long Will it Take?

Most Pharmacy Technician training courses run from about six months to a year, depending on the course. In that time, you will learn the skills required to operate a pharmacy, follow correct pharmaceutical procedures, provide the correct drug dosages, and assist the pharmacist in administrative tasks. This course also helps to prepare you for your PTCB (Pharmacy Technician Certification Board) exam or ExCPT (Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians).

While there are very few current federal and state laws governing the need for Pharmacy Tech certification, having a PTCB or ExCPT certification is becoming the standard. Passing one or more of these examinations is of key importance.

What if I Need to Finish Faster?

If you don’t have the six months to a year it takes to complete a Pharmacy Tech training course, there are several options available. As the certification is more important to potential employers than the formal training, you can choose to focus your time on studying for the test. You can do this either by studying the test materials, or taking one of the variety of short “crash course” cramming sessions offered by some schools. Most of these courses are from a few hours to several days, and are designed to give you all the information you need to pass you PTCB or ExCPT exams.

What Are the Key Contributors of the Growing Demand For Pharmacy Technicians?

There are quite a number of positive developments which affect the increase of pharmacist Technicians in the past decades, some of them are:

1. The gain of national certification on pharmacy Technician career and job has opened up a lot of opportunities for those who have the interest to become assistant to a pharmacist.

2. The development of model curriculums for Pharmacy Technician training and a higher and greater level of recognition of pharmacy technicians in the State and Nation wide on pharmacy practice Acts have encouraged many potentials to seek for new employment opportunities as well as to seek for pharmacy technician’s courses in colleges or online.

3. The roles and responsibilities of Pharmacy technicians have been more clearly defined in hospital, community centre, clinics and wherever the skill sets of pharmacy technicians are needed.
4. Increasingly, hospital pharmacies are encouraged to develop pharmacy technician programs and the increase changes being called out to ensure the roles of these technicians was appropriately articulated in state laws and regulations.

5. The responsibilities of this professions have increased over the years from initially they are responsible for most of the clerical work only in the pharmacy ( similar to a clerk) … until they start to play the governance role for the state pharmacy association as well as the state board of pharmacy.

6. The enablement of pharmacy asistants across multiple settings today, including community pharmacy, hospitals and health systems, long term care facilities, clinic pharmacies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical whole-salers etc signify that this is a profession which is largely needed in a good wide spread of industry.

7. In the recent years, pharmacists have become more receptive to pharmacy technicians compared to 15 years back where the latter is given the task of dispensing medicine only. However much has changed over the last few years in the potential increased in job scopes of pharmacy technicians.

8. The enhancement in medical field has enabled new medications, antidotes to be invented across the world by the medical experts. This has significantly reduced non fatal deaths, reduce or eliminate significant pain of patients with this invention. With the prolonged age of the population in the society today, the demand for pharmacy technicians have significantly being increased as well.

9. On the other hand, with the increase invention of of new medications invested and become available today, the pharmacists are faced with a greater number of prescriptions to dispense. This has directly reduced the bandwidth of the pharmacists, leaving them with lesser time for counseling patients. At the same time, their working conditions and schedules have deteriorated with an increase in job stress. This is where the importance of the pharmacy technicians comes into picture and they presence has helped to take over the tasks of dispensing the prescriptions to the patients.

Pharmacy assistants as such has gained it popularity increasing nowadays and it is by no mistake on the increased demand of pharmacy technicians in many health sectors in the society today.

What a Pharmacy Technician Does

What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do?

I have been writing articles on why and how to become a pharmacy technician, but some recent feedback has made me realize I left out the obvious. What is it that pharmacy technicians do in a pharmacy? Most people figure they help the pharmacist enter prescriptions and count pills. This is true for an outpatient pharmacy, also called a retail pharmacy, but there are many roles for pharmacy technicians in healthcare. The rest of this article will list different types of pharmacy settings and the roles that pharmacy technicians have in these settings.

Community/Retail Pharmacy:

I have worked retail, and I prefer other settings; however, it is where a large percentage of pharmacy technician jobs are found. What a pharmacy technician can do is determined by the state they work via state laws and rules. In general, technicians cannot provide clinical information to patients or be the final check for prescriptions. In some states, technicians are allowed to provide information on over-the-counter (OTC) medication (ie, medications that do not require a prescription, such as, acetaminophen and ibuprofen). Pharmacy technician tasks include, but are not limited to:

• Collecting patient information (insurance and personal information as needed)
• Entering and processing prescriptions in the computer system
• Filling and selling prescriptions
• Requesting refills from doctor offices for patients
• Compounding medications that are not commercially available
• Ordering medications
• Restocking shelves
• Answering the phone
• Working with insurance companies on approving payment for certain medications
• Maintaining the cash register and conducting accounting functions

Hospital Pharmacy:

There are many different roles for pharmacy technicians in a hospital pharmacy. I know this type of pharmacy best since this is where most of my work has been. The most common are technicians who work in the central pharmacy. In addition we have decentralized techs, sterile compounding techs, billing techs, OR techs, narcotic techs, database techs, automation techs, team lead techs, and buyer techs. These technicians as a whole perform the following tasks, but not limited to:

• Filling new orders, this includes a variety of medications from oral medications to specially prepared sterile compound medications (including chemotherapy meds)
• Answering the phone
• Tubing medications (if the pharmacy has a pneumatic tube station)
• Preparing medications for delivery
• Delivering medications
• Assisting floor pharmacists with medication histories
• Assisting floor pharmacists with IV drip checks
• Handling missing dose calls
• Billing medications where nurse charting does not bill
• Maintaining the pharmacy database
• Restocking operating rooms and anesthesia trays with appropriate medication
• Dispensing and tracking all controlled substances throughout the hospital
• Maintaining automation equipment [automated dispensing cabinets that store medication on nursing units, automatic fill systems (typically called Robot-Rx)]
• Purchasing of all medication and supplies needed in the pharmacy
• Leading and managing the technician workforce, including upkeep of schedules

Long-Term Care Pharmacy:

I have worked at a couple of long-term care pharmacies, and I think it is a great place to be a technician. They typically employee a lot of techs because the work load lends itself to a lot of technician tasks. These pharmacies provide the medication needs for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and psychiatric facilities. The typical pharmacy is located in a warehouse. It does not have an open pharmacy for people to come to; they receive orders by fax and deliver all medications via couriers or drivers to facilities. The oral medication is filled in blister packs (cards of 30 tabs that are used to provide a 1 month supply of medication), or some other mechanism that provide the facility with an extended amount of medication doses that can be safely and cleanly kept until doses are due. Pharmacy technician tasks include, but are not limited to:

• Filling new and refill orders (different from hospital because of the number of doses provided)
• Processing new order and refills coming through the fax machine
• Order entry of prescriptions and printing of labels for fill techs
• Sterile compounding of medications (although there aren’t as many sterile compounded medications as a hospital, there are still enough that most long-term care pharmacies have a few techs specialize in sterile compounding
• Billing medications to homes
• Controlled substance dispensing and documentation
• Ordering medications and supplies
• Restocking medications that are returned that are still suitable for reuse.

Home Infusion Pharmacy:

These pharmacies primarily care for patients that require some form of IV or other non oral medication, and want to receive the therapy at home (hence the name home-infusion). I have also worked in a home-infusion pharmacy. As a tech I had a lot of experience in sterile compounding, and found my self in any position that needed a IV room tech. Pharmacy technician tasks include, but are not limited to:

• Compounding sterile preparations in the clean room
• Preparing supplies associated with sterile medication administration for delivery
• Billing medications delivered to patients home
• Coordinating deliveries of medications with patients
• Entering orders in the pharmacy order entry system

Nuclear Pharmacy:

No, I have not worked in a nuclear pharmacy (I am sure you were staring to think I got around quite a bit, but I have been in pharmacy for about 17 years). I have some friends who work in a nuclear pharmacy. The hours are interesting; they usually come in at about 3 AM and work until about noon. These types of pharmacies make radioactive compounds and they need to be made in a way that when they are delivered to the hospital or clinic administering them, that the dose has degraded to a specific amount. Without going into too much detail, these medications have short half-lives. So they have to time the compounding of the product with the time it takes to deliver the medication and the time the patient is to receive the dose. The job pays well, but as you can imagine, there are not a ton of these positions available. Pharmacy technician tasks include, but are not limited to:

• Preparing radioactive products
• Cleaning and preparing sterile compounding areas
• Entering orders into the pharmacy system
• Coordinating dose due times with deliveries and preparation
• Billing products to hospital or clinic

Health Plans/HMO Pharmacy Group:

I saved this one for last because it is a lot different. Most healthcare plans have a pharmacy department. They manage the pharmacy benefit of the health plan. I have worked with my companies health plan and have spent some time with the pharmacy department. Pharmacy technician tasks include, but are not limited to:

• Answering phone calls and providing support for patients on the pharmacy benefit
• Reviewing prior authorization requests
• Providing support to physicians and drug companies for information requests
• Supporting the pharmacists in the department with database and projects as needed

As you can see, pharmacy technician roles can be very diverse. The best advice I can give you is to figure out what setting you would most like to work in and obtain some experiential hours in that setting. I have found that the type of pharmacy you train in is typically the type of pharmacy you end up working in.

Careers in Pharmacy – What Should I Pursue?

Pharmacies generally employ two types of professionals: Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians. While both are integral to a pharmacy’s performance, they represent two very different approaches to careers in pharmacy. When deciding what career path is right for you, a lot of factors come into play. In this article, we will outline these two careers in pharmacy so you can make the right choice!

Pharmacist- What is It?

Pharmacists are healthcare professionals who are in charge of dispensing prescription medications to patients. Typically, a pharmacist will fill prescriptions, check interactions of a patient’s prescriptions, instruct patients on proper use of a medication, and oversee pharmacy technician, interns, and various other careers in pharmacy. Many pharmacists own or manage their own pharmacy and are more business minded. Some pharmacists work for pharmaceutical manufacturers, and are involved in the creation of new medications. The median annual wage of pharmacists is very good, punching in at $111,570 in May 2010, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How do I become a Pharmacist?

The path to becoming a pharmacist is unique- while most graduate programs require a bachelor’s degree or four years of undergraduate experience, a Doctor of Pharmacy program requires as little as two, as long as the appropriate prerequisites are met, such as courses in chemistry, anatomy, and biology (although some programs do require a bachelor’s degree). An entrance exam, known as the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT), is also required. Most programs will take about four years to complete, and graduates who want a more advanced pharmacist position will complete a one-two year residency program. Many pharmacists who go on to own their own pharmacies will also acquire a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). Graduates must also pass two exams detailing pharmacy skills and pharmacy law in order to attain a state license. While this process may seem long, it pays off with one of the most rewarding careers in pharmacy.

Pharmacy Technician- What is It?

Pharmacy (or pharmaceutical) technicians help pharmacists dispense prescription medications to patients. They will usually be the ones measuring out prescriptions, compounding medications like ointments, packaging and labeling pharmaceuticals, and performing routine tasks like answering phones and filling forms. The pharmacy technician will work under the supervision of the pharmacist- if the customer has questions about medications or health, the pharmacy technician will arrange for the customer to speak with the pharmacist, as he/she is the more trained of the two careers in pharmacy. Technicians must have great customer service skills, organizational skills, and be detail oriented. The median annual wage of a pharmacy technician was $28,400 in May 2010, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How do I become a Pharmacy Technician?

Becoming a pharmacy technician provides the simpler process of the two careers in pharmacy. Each technician must have a high school diploma or equivalent and pass an exam or complete a formal training program, depending on the state. Many pharmacy technicians will learn their skills on-site, but some will attend vocational schools or community colleges to complete programs in pharmacy technology. These programs detail arithmetic, pharmacy law and ethics, and record keeping. This path will allow for the quickest work straight out of high school for graduates pondering one of the careers in pharmacy.

Both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are absolutely vital to a pharmacy. These two positions are dynamic and rewarding, constantly helping patients get their medications. I hope this article has helped you decide which of the careers in pharmacy is right for you!

Pharmacy Technician – A Closer Look

In the not so distant past when you walked into a pharmacy needing to get a prescription filled you would have, in most instances, found that your prescription was actually filled by the on duty pharmacists. However, over the past few years a change has occurred in the pharmacist arena and that change is, “a pharmacist probably no longer filling your prescriptions”. Although pharmacists are on duty wherever medications are dispensed; today in most instances, a pharmacy technician or pharmacy assistant are the ones filling prescriptions.

Pharmacy Technicians and assistants have existed for some time but their roles have evolved for a variety of reasons. A big reason is that they help to reduce health care costs because they get paid much less than a certified pharmacist. Another important reason is that it simply makes sense. Pharmacy technicians and assistants are trained to handle routine work (fill prescriptions and customer service), which frees up the pharmacists to focus more of their time on supervisory duties, as well as patient care.

Melissa Murer, Executive Director of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board, put it this way, “Pharmacists are becoming more focused on patient care, so pharmacy technicians are needed to perform more of the distributive functions.”

In this brief (but hopefully informative article) I attempt to demonstrate what pharmacy technician and assistants do and where they do it.

In general, they assist licensed pharmacists in providing medication and health care to patients by preparing and filling prescriptions and performing clerical tasks. Duties are similar but pharmacy technicians generally have more responsibilities. In addition, technicians and assistants are required to be closely supervised by a licensened pharmacist, although the laws defining what “being supervised” entails, varies by state.

In addition to having all of their prescriptions checked by a pharmacist, technicians and assistants must also direct all patient questions regarding drug information, health matters or prescriptions to the pharmacist.

Pharmacy Technicians
Technicians follow specific procedures when filling prescriptions. After receiving an initial prescription or refill request, they must verify that the prescription information is accurate and then count, pour, retrieve, weigh, measure and if necessary, mix the required medication for the prescription. The next step is to prepare and affix the labels to the proper container. After filling the prescription the technician will then price and file it. Another important aspect of a technician’s job is to prepare patient insurance forms and establish and maintain patient profiles.

In retail pharmacies, technicians will also stock and take inventory of medications (both prescription and over-the-counter) maintain equipment and help manage the till.

In many hospitals, technicians have the responsibility to read the doctors orders from a patients’ chart, prepare and then deliver the medication after it’s been checked by a pharmacist. They may also enter information about patients’ medical records (regarding their medications) or put together a supply (normally 24 hours) of medicine for patients, including the labeling and packaging of each dose. But just like technicians working in a retail pharmacy, each package is checked by the supervising pharmacist before being given to a patient and they also maintain inventories of medicine and other supplies.

Pharmacy Assistants
Duties are similar to pharmacy technicians and while hospitals and pharmacies employ pharmacy assistants, the number of available positions is generally less than technicians. In retail pharmacies they work as clerks or cashiers, answer phones, handle money and perform clerical duties. In hospitals they also deliver medications and assist in stocking shelves.

Pharmacy technicians and assistants work in clean well-organized areas but are required to spend most of their workday on their feet. And because more and more pharmacies are open 24-hours a day work hours can vary with technicians and assistants are often required to work odds hours (nights, evenings and weekends). Therefore, there are many opportunities to work part-time in 24-hour pharmacies. In addition, a percentage of both technicians and assistants work part time because they are studying to become pharmacists.

States have traditionally required a one-to-one ratio of pharmacist to technician but that is also expected to change. Mark Boesen, Director of Government and Student Affairs for the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, has stated that: “Many of the major employers of technicians are expanding the number of their facilities and boards of pharmacy in some States are allowing the legal ratio of technicians to pharmacists to expand. This is a very promising field to work in.”

An increasing demand for technicians with greater responsibility has prompted some States to revise their one-to-one ratio of pharmacist to technician to two or three technicians per pharmacist.

As pharmacy technicians take on more and more tasks previously performed by pharmacists, they must also learn and master new technology. A good example is the increased use (by many pharmacies) of robotic machines to dispense medicines. Technicians will be required to oversee the machine, stock bins and label containers.