While pharmacists are required to hold a doctoral degree in pharmacy, they are not medical doctors or physicians. There are several differences between the two professions, including what they are legally allowed to do.
Doctor vs. Pharmacist
Doctors have a medical degree and medical license, and they are required to fulfill residency requirements for their specialty. They examine patients, diagnose them with medical conditions, and determine their treatment plan, which might involve prescribing medication.
Meanwhile, pharmacists have a doctoral degree in pharmacy and a pharmacist license, and they might complete a residency. While pharmacists might perform some basic medical procedures, such as giving patients flu shots, they cannot prescribe medication or perform complex medical procedures. Pharmacists’ primary duties are to ensure patients have the right medicine and know how to use it.
Responsibilities of Pharmacists and Doctors
Responsibilities of doctors to patients: Doctors directly treat patients, which can include assessing a patient’s symptoms or injuries, diagnosing patients, analyzing test results, advising patients on treatment options, and treating patients by prescribing medicine, referring them to a specialist, or performing a medical procedure.
Responsibilities of pharmacists to patients: Pharmacists are responsible for making sure that patients have the medication they were prescribed by a medical doctor and know how to take it. They might also give general medical advice and perform basic medical tests on patients or give patients immunizations. They know what ingredients are in the medicine you’re taking and can give you advice on the best time to take your medicine, possible interactions with other drugs or natural supplements, and the risks and possible side effects of the medicine. They can also offer basic health and wellness advice.
When Can Pharmacists Use the Doctor Title?
Pharmacists can use the doctor title when they are at work, immediately identify that they are a pharmacist, and give advice specifically on medications prescribed by a medical doctor. They can also use the title they earned, much like someone with a Ph.D. in literature or any other doctoral field of study would.
However, pharmacists should avoid using the doctor title in any interaction with a patient where it might confuse the patient or put the patient’s safety at risk. Pharmacists cannot use the doctor title when it comes to performing a complicated medical procedure like delivering a baby or diagnosing an illness or medical condition.
Need Legal Advice? Contact Us Now
If you were harmed due to the actions or advice of a pharmacist or a doctor, you might be entitled to compensation for the losses you have suffered. An experienced medical malpractice attorney from Baker & Gilchrist will fight to help you on the road to recovery. We have over 60 years of combined experience helping clients just like you after medical and healthcare professionals harmed them through irresponsible actions.
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