The Future of Pharmacy | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

The Future of Pharmacy

It would seem the future of pharmacy is to return to its roots – back to patient assessment and counseling, that age-old, hands-on process of determining which medicine is most useful for a given patient and providing advice to that patient.

For much of the 20th century, pharmacists played a secondary role to physicians, dentists and, more recently, physician assistants and nurse practitioners when it came to decisions on drug therapy – maximizing the benefits of prescriptions and reducing the risks for the patient by ensuring correct dosage, checking for drug interactions and providing relevant information.

In this context, pharmacists kept up their profit stream by filling prescriptions as quickly as possible, and many overwhelmed pharmacists didn’t have adequate time or ability to assess the patient.

While a pharmacist should be responsible for determining the appropriateness of a medication for the indication noted, this is not always the case for many prescriptions where patient indications are not noted or where patients are not personally assessed. As modern pharmacy continues to evolve with the changes thrust upon it by outside forces, everything points to the increasing role of pharmacists in patient assessment. Of course, assessment has always been part of what a pharmacist does, second usually to dispensing, but now it is becoming a driving force in the profession.

Future changes will see pharmacists taking on a stronger role as prescriber, necessitating more patient assessment on their part. Already, pharmacists in some jurisdictions have the ability to extend, adapt or change prescriptions, and even the ability to apply for full prescriber or initial prescribing status.

The History of Pharmacy