A pharmacy is a place where drugs are sold and Pharmacy is practiced. It is also called a drug-store or a chemist's in certain parts of the world. A pharmacy is generally called a medical store in India, and both prescription drugs & over the counter drugs are sold here. A drug store attached to a hospital is called a dispensary and only prescription drugs are distributed here.
A pharmacist is also known as apothecary or chemist, all denoting the profession of expertise in dealing with drugs. Being in search for chemical and herbal ingredients, the Pharmaceutics is regarded as the precursor of chemistry and pharmacology.
The crux of Pharmacy constitutes drug preparation, dispensation and review, along with clinical health services (diagnostic, therapeutic, rehabilitative, preventive & palliative). Pharmacy aims at the effective, safe and affordable use of drugs. Pharmacists are experts in drug therapy and they try to optimize the use of drugs for the benefit of patients.
GPAT (Graduate Pharmacy Aptitude Test) conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA) is an entrance exam for M.Pharm programmes in India.
The field of pharmacy can be divided into the following categories, generally:
Pharmaceutics: A branch that deals with drug development and production.
Medicinal Chemistry: It is the chemistry discipline concerned with the design, development and synthesis of pharmaceutical drugs.
Pharmacy Practice:It is the discipline of pharmacy which involves developing the professional roles of pharmacists.
Pharmacology: it is the branch of biology concerned with the study of drug action. That is the biochemical and physiological effects of drugs on human beings. The effect of medicines derived from natural sources, to be specific. The drug can be man-made, natural or endogenous (from within the body) molecule that exerts a biochemical or physiological effect on the applied medium.
Pharmacoinformatics: It is considered another new discipline, for systematic drug discovery and development with efficiency and safety. Drug discovery and development requires the integration of multiple scientific and technological disciplines. These include chemistry, biology, pharmacology, pharmaceutical technology and extensive use of information technology.
Pharmacodynamics:The study of the cellular and molecular interactions of drugs with their receptors. Simply, "What the drug does to the body".
Pharmacokinetics:The study of the factors that control the concentration of drug at various sites in the body. Simply, "What the body does to the drug".
Pharmaceutical toxicology: is the study of the harmful or toxic effects of drugs.
Pharmacogenomics:The effect of genes on a person’s response to drugs is the subject matter of Pharmacogenomics. Here the principles of pharmacology (science of drugs) and genomics (study of genes and their functions) are combined to develop effective and safe medications for a person’s genetic makeup.
Pharmaceutical chemistry:the study of drug design to optimize pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, and synthesis of new drug molecules (Medicinal Chemistry).
Pharmacognosy:the study of medicines derived from natural sources. If you are interested in the drug effects on human body, pharmacy is the best course for you. Bangalore hosts many reputed Pharmacy colleges that offer Diploma, graduate and post graduate programmes in Pharmacy. Possibilities and job opportunities are many after passing a course in pharmacy; starting a drug store, applying for government/ private jobs and research.
Nuclear pharmacy:It is a specialty area of pharmacy practice that involves preparation and dispensing of radioactive materials to be used as nuclear medicine. The concept of nuclear pharmacies was born in 1970s.
Forensic pharmacy:it is the application of drug science to criminal investigation and legal justice system. Cases related to adverse drug reactions, drunk driving, poisoning, and other numerous civil & criminal cases need the help of a forensic pharmacist.