Hospital pharmacy


Hospital pharmacy is a specialized field of pharmacy which is integrated with the care of a medical center. These include centers such as hospital, outpatient clinic, drug addiction facility, poison control center, drug information center of residential care facility.

The profession involves the selection, preparation, storage, preparation and delivery of drugs to patients in a medical environment. Another important area is the provision of advice to patients and other healthcare professionals on the safe and effective use of medicines.

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Objectives of hospital pharmacy

The primary mission of the hospital pharmacy is to manage the use of drugs in hospitals and other medical centers. Goals include selection, prescribing, procurement, delivery, administration and review of medications to optimize patient outcomes. It is important to ensure that the correct patient, dose, route of administration, time, medication, information, and documentation are followed when a medication is used.

What do hospital pharmacists do?

Role of the hospital pharmacist

The role of the hospital pharmacist is varied and can include various tasks including:

  • Design specific drug plans that are individualized for patients
  • Help physicians and other health care professionals make drug-based decisions
  • Preparing medicines for use in the hospital
  • Help patients understand their medications and how to take them
  • Conduct clinical trials to discover new or modified treatments for rare diseases
  • Provision of medication in case of emergency
  • Help with specialist medical care, such as for cancer patients

Differences from community pharmacy

While many of the tasks of a hospital pharmacist are similar to those of a community pharmacist working in a community setting, there are some distinctive differences. These include:

  • Increased interaction with prescribers and other health professionals
  • Greater contribution to prescribing decisions regarding medications and administration
  • A larger team of pharmacists working together in the same institution
  • Better access to patient medical records

However, patient contact for hospital pharmacists is often much less compared to a pharmacist working in the community. Hospital pharmacies also usually stock a wide variety of medicines, including those for specialized use which can only be indicated in a controlled medical setting.

Preparation of pharmaceutical products

Hospital pharmacists are responsible for the preparation of many pharmaceutical products for administration to patients.

Some of these formulations must be sterile, for example when administered in total parenteral nutrition (TPN) or for other drugs administered intravenously, such as certain antibiotics and chemotherapeutic agents. This process is complex and requires pharmacists to be highly skilled in producing quality products, in addition to properly equipped facilities.

Hospital pharmacy organizations

The Hospital Pharmacy Section of the Federation of International Pharmacists (FIP) was founded in 1957 and emphasizes the practice of pharmacy in hospitals, including relevant education and communication, on a global scale.

Members are encouraged to share their experience and to identify and discuss global issues that can be improved in hospital pharmacy. This may include developing new guidelines or standards of practice, including reviewing new guidelines suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO).

There are also other organizations of hospital pharmacists in each country. The objective when members come together is to discuss current issues in hospital pharmacy and to create solutions and strategies for the future of the profession.

The references

Further reading


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