Chemist vs. Pharmacist: What Are The Differences?

Chemist vs. Pharmacist

In Nigeria, the terms ‘chemist’ and ‘pharmacist’ are often used interchangeably. However, a lot of arguments have been raised on whether or not they should be used that way. This article explains the difference between a chemist and a pharmacist.

What are the differences between a chemist and a pharmacist?

The fact remains that they are not used interchangeably. They both have different meanings. In this context, chemists are patent medicine sellers that have the license to sell ‘on-the-counter drugs’ like paracetamol, antacids, pain relievers, worm repellers, etc. However, a chemist is restricted to selling a limited quantity of certain drugs.

While a pharmacist is a professional who operates in a pharmacy, prescribes drugs, or produces drugs. A pharmacist can decide to stock his pharmacy with whatever drug he wants. The decision is solely dependent on him. This is because a pharmacist has the license to sell any kind of drug.

The specialization of a pharmacist, whether selling or producing drugs, is solely dependent on the type of certificates they have and their course of study. The type of work environment in which pharmacists perform their duties depends on their specialization.

Who is a pharmacist?

For thousands of years, plants and other natural substances have been used for medicinal purposes. However, the practice of professional pharmacy became a professional field in the mid-nineteenth century.

Pharmacists are health professionals that deal with the properties, proper use, effects, and production of medicines. They also provide pharmaceutical care and prescribe drugs to patients.

Pharmacists undergo university or formal education to learn and understand the drug uses, potential drug interactions, biochemical mechanisms, therapeutic roles, side effects, monitoring parameters, and actions of the drug.

They also study the anatomy and physiology of the body, alongside pathophysiology. This will help them understand the human system and the kinds of drugs and hormones that affect each part of the body.

Pharmacists then interpret and communicate their specialized knowledge to physicians, health care providers, and patients. They can also use this specialized knowledge in the production of drugs or contribute to the research and testing of new drugs.

They work in clinics, pharmacies, universities, government institutions, and hospitals.

Pharmacists are responsible for the quality and quantity of medicines supplied to patients, ensuring that every supply of medication is in alignment with the law. They also ensure that the drugs prescribed are suitable, advise patients about medicines and how to take them, and also inform them about the reaction that may occur.

Pharmacists oversee the supply chain of medicines and ensure that pharmacy systems are suitable for this purpose. They also supervise the preparation and production of medicines and evaluation of the quality of medications before they are supplied by pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Who is a chemist?

Chemists are professionals with specialized knowledge about selling and prescribing drugs. Chemists are medicine sellers that have the license to sell on-the-counter drugs’ like paracetamol, antacids, pain relievers, worm repellers, etc.

However, chemists are restricted to selling a limited quantity of certain drugs. A chemist can prescribe drugs and also advise patients on what drug is suitable for them.

A chemist shop is where medicinal drugs are dispensed and sold, in which other medicinal goods can be purchased. However, there are restrictions; therefore, not all drugs can be found in a chemist’s shop.


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