What should a Pharmacist's role be in modern medicine?

What should a Pharmacist's role be in modern medicine?

One of the protective mechanisms with Western/Conventional medicine that is far less common with Alternative medicine is the separation between the person recommending a particular treatment (usually your GP) and the person profiting from selling it (your pharmacist). In Australia, pharmacists are seeking to become more involved in providing patient care and are also fighting plans by our large supermarket chains to include pharmacies within supermarkets. Michael Vagg, Clinical Senior Lecturer at Deakin University School of Medicine & Pain Specialist at Barwon Health, Australia, provides some interesting background to the current situation in Australia that has resulted in some rather thoughtful responses.


We grow up accepting long established practices, often without understanding the reasons behind them. Articles like this give you an appreciation for why we have inherited them and provide some guiding principles that we can use to ensure that we have a better chance of receiving unbiased treatment advice.


Photo: I'm not too sure who was more surprised when I looked into this tree hollow and found a possum looking back at me.


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11 Replies

  • In the UK we already have pharmacies in some of our larger supermarkets. What arguments are they using to deter supermarket pharmacies? We try to use the local chemist/pharmacy as they have an interest in local people and many provide a repeat prescription service which saves a visit to the GP surgery. In addition supermarkets have made many small High streets, ghost towns, so using the local shop and pharmacy is helping to save our High streets. Use it or lose it as many places have.

    There is a push in the UK to have people use the local chemist/ pharmacy for minor ailments to ease the strain on our GP's, which presumes they are well trained enough to refer patients to the GP if they consider it advisable. It may be that Australia is not so overpopulated as the cities here are.


    Photo: Great, but he does not seem exactly pleased to see you!

  • I agree with Bub about the effectiveness of pharmacies sited within supermarkets in the UK and read this rather critical article with little personal recognition of the services we receive in the UK.

    Far from pushing 'unqualified diagnosis', my personal experience from pharmacists here is recommendation to consult my GP rather than relying on over the counter preparations. I have no sense of them viewing me as a fiscal opportunity at all and have received some excellent advice which has included trying to source cheaper generic brands to save me money. On many occasions I've witnessed pharmacists turning people away for that reason and certainly not then trying to sell them toiletries and candles etc. as suggested in the article. Does that really happen?

    Because pharmacists here maintain records if you're a regular customer, I've even had the pharmacist tell me they wanted to ring the doctor to check on certain prescriptions for family members because they were unhappy about interactions between certain meds. And they really are the experts in that regard because sometimes GP's do recommend meds which shouldn't be taken together.

    I'm not sure how the system works in other countries, but it found the article unrepresentative of the services we receive from highly qualified pharmacists here. I'm not sure if others agree with me.


  • "I'm not sure how the system works in other countries, but it found the article unrepresentative of the services we receive from highly qualified pharmacists here. I'm not sure if others agree with me."

    I totally agree with the above quote from Newdawn.

    In my area the big chains such as CVS are setting up clinics in the pharmacy but they are not staffed by pharmacists. They are staffed by NPs or PAs.

    As for pharmacies within a supermarket, yes we have them and they are staffed with qualified pharmacist. Some people like the convince of doing their weekly shopping and picking up their prescriptions at the same time.

    When it comes to any questions about a drug I trust the pharmacist.

  • So very cute, don't see a lot of bottom lips unless they're pouting. Neil, is this wee one pouting ? Does it have ticks in her ears?

  • It's a fairly low rainfall area, so ticks aren't common. I wouldn't want to tick her off by investigating either; someone with leather gauntlets who knows how to handle a possum can do that. They've got very sharp claws and teeth and are not known for having friendly dispositions!

  • A few years back I had a possum child visit me in the house. The tiny critter entered through the kitty door. It was early in the am, getting ready to go to the race track and when I walked into the kitchen I heard a very strange hissing. I thought it was a couple of my kitties being irritated with each other until a group of kitties slowly went under the kitchen table. Heaven help us, big mouth open, pointy teeth, slobber and hissing. Big noise from such a wee little guy but certainly scared me ! I captured it with a kitchen towel and took it to a friend at the track that did wild life rescue. My friend took the towel off and started to talk to the critter, she said the little ones that should be with mom won't bite. So I held it and fed it kitten milk replacer. That was a fun time and the little guy grew bigger, was released in my area and hopefully had a good life.

  • Great to hear how you and your friend cared for the possum child, Denise.

  • Hay Paula,

    I love to know that the most innocents of our world are loved by so many !!! Since the baby possum had teeth it really didn't do well on the kitten bottle so my friend fed it meat. That's why I relinquished the babe to her, I don't do meat. My sister had a hummingbird in her garage that wouldn't leave. It took almost 5 hours with my sister and her neighbor trying all sorts of creative ideas and finally got the bird to hop onto the end of a broom. The little guy was getting weaker all the time so hopefully it took nourishment after they walked it over to a bush with flowers.


  • Beautiful little creature, but it does look like she has a problem in her ears. Hard to see exactly what it is - does look rather like ticks, but I suppose it could be mites, or some other parasite, or maybe a spotty skin problem... Lovely bright eyes though...

  • It's nice to know that some of us are concerned about the health of Australian native wildlife in an accompanying picture on a topic about the role of pharmacists. Seriously, if more or us took greater interest in the health of our natural environment and took some personal responsibility for minimising our impact on the environment, the world would be a better place for all of its inhabitants. Parasite burden is, I gather, one measure of wildlife health. I recently read a rather alarming article on the high pollution density of plastics on the Australian coastline, but I digress. Well spotted Denise and Paula, given the reduced resolution of the image provided. I've had a close look at my original photos and it looks like most of the matter in the possum's ears is wax and dirt along with possibly some mites or other parasites. Bear in mind that you are seeing the ears scrunched up slightly within a tree hollow; conditions hardly conducive to keeping large ears clean. The photo was taken near a full river in spring, so this possum should be enjoying very good health at the moment, with access to plenty of food and water.

  • YAY !!!!! ..... I simply adore it's bottom lip......good job with your photography ! My cats clean my ears so no problem with me having wax, dirt, ticks.....

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