Why not turn to your community pharmacist? Pharmacists are the most accessible resource for information on medications, over-the-counter products and general health issues. And because they are an integral part of your healthcare team they complement and support the work of your physician and other providers.
I’ve been going to the same pharmacy for over 15 years and can attest to the great support our entire family has received – whether it’s health advice, flu shots or assistance with understanding new medications.
A few statistics on pharmacists:
- There are 24,000+ community pharmacists in Canada – 9,500+ in Ontario (2015)
- They practice in the nearly 10,000 pharmacies
- It takes a minimum of 5 years university to become a licensed pharmacist
- They are regulated by provincial authorities (e.g. Ontario College of Pharmacists)
most trusted professionals after firefighters and ambulance drivers/paramedics.
If you’ve always thought that pharmacists simply dispense prescription drugs, here’s some good news. In recent years, the scope of a pharmacist’s practice has expanded considerably. These are just a few of the services they can now offer:
1. Medication reviews and management
2. Chronic disease management – including diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma
3. Immunization programs - flu shots and shingles vaccine
4. Wellness programs – smoking cessation, cholesterol screening, weight management
5. Limited prescribing:
- Emergency refills, renewals and extended prescriptions
- Change of dose and formulations
- Recommend treatments for certain conditions
So now’s the time to get to know your pharmacist
If you don’t already have a “home” pharmacy, it’s important you find one. That way, the pharmacist will get to know you and your health status, making it easier to provide accurate advice. Having all of your medications dispensed from one pharmacy reduces the risk of potential drug interactions.
Managing your medications and getting accurate health information is just one element of taking control of your healthcare. If you need help navigating the multiple layers of the healthcare system, give me a call for a free 30-minute consultation.