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Neighborhood pharmacy building for prescriptions and medical assistance.

community pharmacy at a glance

Community pharmacy, also known as retail pharmacy, is the most common type of pharmacy that allows the public access to their medications and advice about their health.

Community Pharmacies supply medicines in accordance with a prescription or, when legally permitted, sell them without a prescription. In addition to ensuring an accurate supply of appropriate products, their professional activities also cover counseling of patients at the time of dispensing of prescription and non-prescription drugs, drug information to health professionals, patients and the general public, and participation in health-promotion programmes. They maintain links with other health professionals in primary health care.

Community pharmacists were known in the past as chemists

how to start a community pharmacy in Nigeria

Community pharmacies are situated in high street locations, in neighbourhood centres, in supermarkets and in the heart of the most deprived communities. Many are open long hours when other health care professionals are unavailable. There are several different types and sizes of community pharmacies, ranging from the large chains with shops on every High Street or in edge of town supermarkets, to small individually owned pharmacies in small communities, in the suburbs and often in deprived areas or rural settings.

The traditional role of the community pharmacist as the healthcare professional who dispenses prescriptions written by doctors has changed. In recent years community pharmacists have been developing clinical services in addition to the traditional dispensing role to allow better integration.

What services does community pharmacy provide?
The community pharmacy contractual framework outlines three types of services:

essential services – these are the nationally set, mandatory services that community pharmacies must provide as part of their duty. It includes the dispensing of medicines and medical appliances, the disposal of unwanted or spare medicines, advising patients on self-care, providing advice on healthy living and providing medicines support following a hospitaldischarge

advanced services – these are optional services that pharmacies can choose to provide. They are nationally set and specified, and the option to provide them is open to all community pharmacies, provided they meet certain minimum requirements. The advanced services currently commissioned through the contract framework include flu vaccination, the New Medicine Service (which aims to help patients understand and make best use of a newly prescribed medicine), and the recently developed Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (which allows certain other parts of the health system to refer patients to community pharmacy for some urgent care needs like emergency medicines supply and as well as for some minor illness needs)

enhanced services – these are optional services such as anticoagulation services that used to be commissioned by primary care trusts. Since the abolition of primary care trusts. At present this route is not often used as most areas use locally commissioned services to commission these types of optional services .

Community pharmacists are equipped to provide education and counseling to patients to address questions they may have regarding factors such as dosing, administration, storage, potential side effects, and how to taper medications for acute events.


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