The Legal Drug Dealer: Who a pharmacist is not

Source Able Delalie

Hello! My name is Able Delalie and I am your Pharmacist. This is my first of a  series of writings about the Pharmacy profession, pharmaceutical care and you, our cherished patients. I am glad and honoured you clicked on the link.  I ask that we learn, unlearn and relearn what we know about the profession. Please join me let’s grow together.



 A shopkeeper. An assistant doctor. A pill counter. The one you visit when you don’t want to see a doctor.

“Maame Nurse” or “Papa Doctor” are the names reserved for people in lab coats; based on their gender and not what they studied in school. Eventually, people resign to fate and begin to respond to the tags.

The question ‘Who is a Pharmacist?’ has been asked a couple of times and the answers always confirm one thing, we do not know who pharmacists are.

So my first column writing would be the best opportunity for us all to get to know them a bit like we know the other health professionals. That way any other writing you read will be from a pharmacist’s point of view.

Is Pharmacy a new introduction into the health profession? No. The beginnings of Pharmacy date back to ancient times. To the times when people saw the medicinal need for plants, whole or parts. When someone crushed and expressed the juice from a leaf or boiled whole or parts of a plant to heal an ailment or the other, Pharmacy was being practised.

Can everyone be a pharmacist?

The Health Professions Regulatory Bodies Act, 2013 (ACT 857) infers that a person can only be a pharmacist when they have a minimum of a four-year degree in pharmacy. (This, in a few years will increase by two years with the introduction of Doctor of Pharmacy).

The person must have undergone a mandatory one-year pre-registration internship in the hospital and community, written and passed a professional qualifying examination and satisfied any other requirements expected.

So yes! Everyone can be a Pharmacist once they fulfil all the requirements. Until then, you are not a Pharmacist.

Unfortunately, in the eyes of the public, we are either shopkeepers who are only there to transact business or mere pill counters who look at a prescription from a prescriber and serve the holder drugs. The roles of pharmacists go beyond.

The pharmacist is a member of the healthcare team involved in patient care- ensuring the safe and effective use of medications by both healthy persons and patients.

They do this through an understanding of the composition of drugs; mechanisms of action of drugs; possible side effects and drug interactions.

Pharmacists are responsible for:

  • Providing medicine therapy for a definite outcome to improve a patient’s quality of life.
  • Supplying quality medicines to patients.
  • Ensuring that the medicine supplied is within the law. Hence the nickname Legal drug dealer.
  • Ensuring that the medicines prescribed to patients are suitable by taking note of the patient’s family and medical history.
  • Advising patients about medicines, including how to take them, side effects and drug interactions and answering patients’ questions.

Pharmacists are:

  • Supply chain officers: They supervise the medicines supply chain and ensure pharmacy premises and systems are fit for purpose
  • Medicine experts: They advise other healthcare professionals about safe and effective medicines use,  in addition to a safe and secure supply of medicines
  •  First responders: They attend to patients’ symptoms and advise on medicines for sale in pharmacies.
  • Provide services to patients, such as smoking cessation, blood pressure measurement and cholesterol management
  • Manufacturers: They supervise the production and preparation of medicines and assessments of the quality of medicines before they are supplied to patients from pharmaceutical Industries.

Where do pharmacists work?

They can be found in community pharmacies, hospitals, manufacturing industries, regulatory agencies, marketing and nuclear sectors.

Consulting pharmacy is a relatively new branch of pharmacy. The community pharmacy is the first port of call for patients, therefore, an important field in Pharmacy. As the weeks go by, we would understand the role pharmacists play in the various fields.

So who is a pharmacist?

A health professional who is trained to serve you. They aim at providing pharmaceutical care in any field they find themselves alone or in conjunction with other healthcare providers. Pharmacists are your medicines expert.

I will leave you with a quote by Paracelsus: All things are poison, and nothing is without poison. The dosage alone makes it so a thing is not poison.

This principle implies that everything, even water, is poisonous. But the correct dose by your Pharmacist will keep the grim reaper away.

Stay safe. I am your Pharmacist.

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  1. Moses Akpalu says

    This is down to the layman’s understanding of who a pharmacist is and what the pharmacy profession is all about. Epic! piece sheer epic excerpt I must say. Stone cold facts to all who desire facts about the profession. 🔥🦾

  2. Anonymous says

    Thanks Able. Great job. Looking forward to hearing from you frequently in coming days. Cheers and power to you.

  3. Anonymous says


  4. Judith says

    Very educating article. So is the internship and exam within the community effective in Ghana? I know people who run a drugstore because they are nurses, not necessarily a pharmacist. Is that allowed because of their profession? Or very likely they did undergo the community internship and exam?

  5. Esther Yeboah says

    Insightful! Thanks!

  6. Gen says

    You’re not only educating the public but keeping us on our toes since much would be expected from us henceforth. Great job

  7. Gen says

    You’re not only educating the public but also keeping us on our toes since much will be expected of us henceforth

    1. Susan says

      Thanks able

  8. Barbara Mensah-Amewuda says

    Great piece colleague. Very educative too. Simple diction for all to benefit. Looking forward to reading from you soon.

  9. Lizzy says

    Very educative and detailed .thank you

  10. Akosua says

    Very educative👌🏿

  11. Shata Curtis says

    Waow very insightful

  12. Anonymous says

    Very educative

  13. Citizen Danso says

    Nice write-up. Keep educating the public

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