Medical Store vs Pharmacy: What Is the Difference?

To a layman, the difference is not very noticeable as both stores will provide medicine upon request. But in reality, the difference is huge if we consider patient safety, proper drug handling, and professional guidance.

What is a Medical Store?

It is not more than a shop keeping medicines and providing them to patients upon request. A medical store does not follow the rules & regulations required for medicine handling. Staff is not licensed and often misguide patients with wrong advice which is not safe for patients.

What is a Pharmacy?

A Pharmacy is a proper place where the patient can buy medicines with a doctor’s prescription. This prescription is then rechecked on the criteria of safe dosing by a licensed competent and responsible pharmacist on duty. Once medicines are prepared it again rechecked by a second pharmacist. You will find medicines are properly stored and temperature monitored. A pharmacist also contacts your doctor if the medicine prescribed is not according to the safety.

Main Differences between a Medical Store & Pharmacy

To understand the main difference between the two, let’s compare them in a comparison chart

QualityMedical StorePharmacy
Professional ExpertiseNot availableStrictly followed by ensuring the latest standards
Product RangeHealth & Wellness itemsMedications & health items
Prescription RequirementNot required, not safe medicines are also soldRequired for safe dispensing under the supervision of a pharmacist
Regulatory ComplianceNot metStrictly followed by ensuring the latest standards
Professional GuidanceNot availableLicensed pharmacist available to guide on medications
Store of MedicinesNo suretyRequired for safe dispensing under the supervision of a pharmacist
Main MotiveSales & ProfitsHealthy safety with safe dispensing of medicines

How a Pharmacy is regulated?

In every country, the Ministry of Health is the main body to regulate a pharmacy according to the country’s laws. Ministry also provides licenses to ensure proper guidelines are followed by pharmacy, pharmacists.

This is the main reason why when you visit a pharmacy you will easily spot the following:

  • Pharmacist’s Name
  • Pharmacist’s Registration Certificate
  • Pharmacy working hours with the pharmacist’s hours of attendance

When you buy medicine at the pharmacy, it’s a good idea to talk to the pharmacist. They are trained to know about medicines and can suggest the right one for you. They’ll also tell you how to use it correctly and give you advice on any precautions you should take.

What you should check before buying a medicine?

As a Pharmacist, we can recommend you check the following things while you are buying medicine. A Pharmacist also guide you about these in Pharmacy.

  • Active Ingredients
  • Dosage Instructions
  • Expiration Date
  • Storage Requirements
  • Prescription Requirement
  • Possible Side Effects
  • Warnings and Precautions
  • Allergies
  • Batch Number
  • Manufacturer Information
  • Packaging Integrity

Final thoughts about the Difference between Medical Stores vs Pharmacy

To summarize it is easy to understand a medical store is an unprofessional, unsafe and old way to sell and buy medicines. In the era of rules and regulations, we must take care of our safety and must prefer a pharmacy for our medications whereas pharmacist prefers health outcomes and not only sales is the main motive.

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