North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL


June 15, 2011

Staff is key to success

COMMENTARY — In general, a pharmacy is a highly regulated business which requires a very accurate and detailed recordkeeping system. Can you imagine having to keep up with tens of thousands of different pieces of paper, and being required to organize them in a way that you could find any single one at a moment’s notice? 

That is what’s required of a pharmacy with regard to their prescription files. Add to that the ability to provide the proof of purchase of several thousand items, to know when you purchased them, who you sold them to, and on what date for the last five years of the business operation. The aid of computers makes this task manageable, but there must be trained personnel to operate the computer systems. The clerk, pharmacy technician and pharmacist all make this happen. 

Pharmacy clerks perform administrative functions such as answering phones, stocking shelves, and operating cash registers. They assist customers in locating “over the counter” products. They help vacuum and dust. They assist in ordering supplies.   

Pharmacy technicians  help licensed pharmacists prepare prescription medications, provide customer service, and perform administrative duties within a pharmacy setting. Pharmacy technicians who work in retail or mail-order pharmacies have various responsibilities, depending on state rules and regulations.

Technicians receive written prescription requests from patients. They also may receive prescriptions sent electronically from doctors’ offices, and in some states they are permitted to process requests by phone. They must verify that the information on the prescription is complete and accurate. To prepare the prescription, technicians retrieve, count, pour, weigh, measure, and sometimes mix the medication. Then they prepare the prescription labels, select the type of container, and affix the prescription and auxiliary labels to the container.

Pharmacists distribute prescription drugs to individuals. Most pharmacists work in a community setting, such as a retail drugstore, or in a healthcare facility, such as a hospital. They check for medication side effects, dispense medications, counsel patients on the use of prescription and over-the-counter medications and advise physicians about medication therapy. They also advise patients about general health topics, such as diet, exercise, and stress management, and provide information on products, such as durable medical equipment or home healthcare supplies.

In addition, they often complete third-party insurance forms and other paperwork. Those who own or manage community pharmacies may sell non-health-related merchandise, hire and supervise personnel, and oversee the general operation of the pharmacy. Some community pharmacists provide specialized services to help patients with conditions such as diabetes, asthma, smoking cessation, or high blood pressure. Some of them are trained to administer vaccinations.  Some may compound, or mix, ingredients to form medications. 

Pharmacists in healthcare facilities dispense medications and advise the medical staff on the selection and effects of drugs. They may make sterile solutions to be administered intravenously. They also plan, monitor, and evaluate drug programs or regimens. They may counsel hospitalized patients on the use of drugs before the patients are discharged. 

Some pharmacists specialize in specific drug therapy areas, such as intravenous nutrition support, oncology (cancer), nuclear pharmacy (used for chemotherapy), geriatric pharmacy, and psychiatric pharmacy (the use of drugs to treat mental disorders). 

There are a variety of activities in which a pharmacist may be involved. Pharmacists frequently oversee pharmacy students serving as interns. Some pharmacists are involved in research for pharmaceutical manufacturers, developing new drugs and testing their effects. Others work in marketing or sales, providing clients with expertise on the use, effectiveness, and possible side effects of drugs.   

As you can see, when you are waiting at the pharmacy there is a lot more involved in your prescription preparation than just pouring pills into a bottle. Every pharmacist and pharmacy employee strive to make sure that each and every prescription is filled accurately, and does not have any potential damaging effect or interaction with other drugs before it gets out the door. I don’t think you would expect or accept less for you or your family when it comes to your health.

Text Only
  • Bowel issues a common problem with easy remedy

    Steve Mullenix (R.Ph) co-owns The Pharmacy in Mount Olive with his wife, Sherry Mullenix (J.D., R.N.). They can be reached at 631-1201

    September 30, 2011

  • Lemak hosts free exams

    Lemak Sports Medicine and Orthopedics announced recently that Dr. Lawrence Lemak will now be available to see patients on Wednesday afternoons.
    Dr. Lemak is the founder of Lemak Sports Medicine and Orthopedics. He devotes his practice to sports medicine and knee replacement and is a nationally recognized leader in his field.

    July 26, 2011

  • Understanding electrolytes

    Steve Mullenix (R.Ph) co-owns The Pharmacy in Mount Olive with his wife, Sherry Mullenix (J.D., R.N.). They can be reached at

    June 22, 2011

  • Avoid heat-related illnesses this summer

    Steve Mullenix (R.Ph) co-owns The Pharmacy in Mount Olive with his wife, Sherry Mullenix (J.D., R.N.). They can be reached at 631-1201.

    June 17, 2011

  • Staff is key to success

    Steve Mullenix (R.Ph) co-owns The Pharmacy in Mount Olive with his wife, Sherry Mullenix (J.D., R.N.). They can be reached at

    June 15, 2011

  • Is there a difference in bottled, tap water?

    Steve Mullenix (R.Ph) co-owns The Pharmacy in Mount Olive with his wife, Sherry Mullenix (J.D., R.N.). They can be reached at 631-1201.

    April 22, 2011

  • Stuck on Band-Aids

    When you make a boo-boo, what is the instant cure all?   Everyone knows it’s a Band-Aid, but have you ever wondered if they are really effective or just cosmetic? 

    January 27, 2011

  • Medical equipment can be a necessity

    There may be a term that many of you have heard, but not know the meaning: “Durable medical equipment” or “DME” products.  DME is a term that covers a diverse range of apparatus that has been designed to assist patients suffering from an illness or injury which restrict their normal mobility and function. It can help people lead more normal lives without heavy reliance on family and caregivers.

    September 30, 2010

  • headache.jpg Headaches require various treatments

    Tension headaches are the most common type of headaches among adults and adolescents.

    June 18, 2010 1 Photo

  • Should you take aspirin every day?

    You’ve probably heard of people taking aspirin every day for their heart.  You may think that aspirin is only used to treat pains and aches; however, aspirin affects the body in other ways as well.

    June 11, 2010