Retail pharmacists are medical professionals who prepare and sell prescription drugs as directed by physicians. Pharmacists may be employed by retail chains or operate their own retail businesses. Pharmacists are required to attain a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D) degree and any licenses required by the state in which they live. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income for pharmacists in the United States was $106,410 as of May, 2008.
Retail pharmacists fill doctors' drug prescriptions brought to them by their customers. The pharmacist mixes and measures drugs in accordance with the dosages that the doctor has requested. They also package the drugs in bottles or vials and label them with instructions for taking the medications.
Customers often have questions about how to take medications or their possible side effects. Pharmacists use their knowledge and training to counsel customers on the appropriate dosages as well as provide instructions concerning the safety of combining certain medications. The pharmacist may also consult with the customer's physician if clarification or additional instructions are necessary.
Because the pharmacy is a retail operation, the pharmacist and her staff must be able to deliver excellent customer service to retain and increase business. This involves being attentive to the customers' needs and providing prompt and courteous service. The pharmacist may offer additional services to gain an edge over her competition such as delivering medications within a certain radius of the drug store or providing special hours of operation for customers.
Pharmacists may also need to perform the managerial functions in a retail store. Retail pharmacists may hire and train pharmacy staff, as well as oversee the operations of areas such as the ordering and stocking health and beauty products, packaged food items and medical supplies. The pharmacist may be responsible for maintaining or increasing the store's profitability, so he may need to employ loss prevention measures and manage the payroll.
Dealing with Insurance
Due to the often complex nature of medical and prescription drug insurance, the pharmacist may need to be well versed in insurance matters and may spend a great deal of time dealing with insurance companies. The pharmacist may elect to assign most of these duties to a staff member, although his involvement may be necessary from time to time.
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