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.

Medical Store & Pharmacy: Advantages and Disadvantages

With a medical store, there are some risks involved which are not faced with Pharmacy. It is important to choose where your medications are available

QualityMedical StorePharmacy
Professional ExpertiseNot availableStrictly followed by ensuring the latest standards
Product RangeHealth & Wellness itemsMedications & health items
Prescription RequirementNot required, prescription medications are sold without a prescriptionRequired 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
Medication safetyNot ensuredEnsured
Health regulationsNot followedFollowed
Responsible Medication UseNo GuidanceGuidance available

How a Pharmacy is regulated?

In every country, the Ministry of Health is the main body to regulate a pharmacy according to safe medication practices. The ministry also provides licenses to ensure proper guidelines & safe practices are followed by pharmacies and pharmacists.

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

When choosing a 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 recommend you check the following things while buying medicine. A Pharmacist also guides you about these in a pharmacy.

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

Medical Store vs. Pharmacy: Understanding the Differences

The below infographic helps us to learn the key differences between medical stores and pharmacies so that safe and effective medication use is practised.

Final thoughts about the Difference between Medical Stores and Pharmacy

To summarize it is easy to understand a medical store is an unprofessional, unsafe and old way to sell and buy medicines. By choosing a pharmacy, you ensure access to qualified professionals (like Pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians) and safe medication practices.

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