A pharmacist talking to a customer at the counter

Are you getting all you can out of your local pharmacy?

Your local pharmacy is a staple in your community. It is a place you trust, and it is the place you go to fill your prescriptions, pick up over-the-counter medications and health and beauty products. A recent survey by Canadian Health & Lifestyle found that 97% of people believe their pharmacist has their best interests at heart when recommending medical products. But did you know that your local pharmacy offers a variety of other services?

Filling your prescription and answering questions about medication are only a small part of what pharmacists do. They can also help you deal with medication side effects, help you with lifestyles changes, help manage ongoing health considerations and even administer the flu shot.

Canadian pharmacists also offer a number of extended services that can help with different health care concerns. New legislation has expanded their ability to help people.

“In many provinces, pharmacists can also administer drugs by injection, immunize, order lab tests and even prescribe for minor ailments, such as migraines, smoking cessation and cold sores,” says Rosalind Stefanac.

Medication reviews

Your pharmacist can perform an extensive review of the medications you are taking, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and natural health products. This service is usually covered by provincial health care plans.

“We make sure patients understand what they’re taking and why, and point out drug therapy problems,” says Sandra Trkulja, a clinical pharmacist. “We talk about therapy goals and then follow up with the physician with suggestions on how to make things better.”

This service can help to eliminate redundant medications, prevent drugs from interfering with each other, save patients money on unnecessary medical costs and it gives people the opportunity to ask pharmacists any questions they have related to their drug therapy program.

One-on-one consultations

For a fee, your pharmacy may also offer one-on-one consultations with a pharmacist to help you manage various health conditions or concerns, such as menopause, diabetes, blood pressure monitoring and pain management.

“We sit down in a separate consultation room and go through symptoms and current treatment options, and I make my assessment which I then send to their physician,” says pharmacy owner Jim Snowdon in Canadian Health & Lifestyle. “I haven’t had one of my suggestions rejected yet.”

These services are particularly valuable for people who do not have a family doctor, have trouble getting in to see their doctor or simply want another opinion or assistance managing their medical issues.

The extended services that are offered by pharmacies vary by location. Talk with your pharmacist about some of the additional services they offer and how they can help you achieve your health and wellness goals.