Just like in most situations, people often confuse certain terms with another especially when they do not fully comprehend the meaning of the word. Understanding the difference between Pharmacology and Pharmacy can prove to be somewhat confusing for individuals who are not science students or who have not taken time to study and understand what each of them stands for or what they mean.
In this article, we would start by delving fully into Pharmacology, the definition and other things boarding around Pharmacology.
What is Pharmacology?
The study of medications and how they affect biological systems is known as pharmacology. Pharmacology is present in both dental visits and the taking of any kind of medication. Antibiotics, coffee beverages, and painkillers are all products of pharmacology. Some have equally said, a drug action is the subject of pharmacology. It entails examining how chemicals interact with the biological systems in our body as well as determining how medications influence those systems.
Pharmacologists are essential to our ability to:
- Create innovative treatments for illnesses.
- Enhance their efficacy, and minimize negative side effects
- Learn why different people respond to different medications and why some work better for certain people than others.
- Know the reasons some medicines lead to addiction.
The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics opined that the study of pharmacological sciences aims to comprehend drug characteristics and how they interact. Pharmacology, for instance, studies how drug molecules interact with drug receptors and the consequences of these interactions. Pharmacology has a broad definition. It includes, among other things, an analysis of the various drug classes, their medicinal applications, their social implications, and their methods of action.
Pharmacological sciences knowledge serves as a foundation for other research and applications. These include the production and regulation of various pharmaceuticals, the use of pharmaceutical medications in scientific investigation, the study of pharmacological effects in the context of the broader field of health sciences, and the use of pharmaceutical drugs in clinical practice. The field of pharmacology includes a variety of subspecialties. Pharmacoeconomic, pharmacogenetics, behavioral, cardiovascular, neurological, and clinical pharmacology are a few of these.
Education in Pharmacology
The biomedical sciences include the study of pharmacology. Anyone pursuing a degree in pharmacology will likely study courses including cell biology, fundamental physiology, medical microbiology, biochemistry, genetics, chemical biology, and neurology as they examine how medications affect living things.
Students need, most likely, to have a four-year degree in biology or chemistry in order to be admitted into a graduate-level pharmacology program. A pharmacist who delivers medication at a drugstore is very different from a pharmacologist. Pharmacologists often work in lab environments. They are most frequently found in positions related to government, academia, science writing, patents, the commercial sector, biotech, forensics, public health, or environmental science.
As you’ve seen, pharmacology is a comprehensive field of research that addresses a variety of topics relating to medications and their interactions. It is a good field for people who appreciate learning, observing, and creating discoveries and have a scientific and analytical mentality.
Typically, the pharmacy faculty houses the department of pharmacology in Nigeria. It may, however, fall within the faculty of basic medical sciences, as it does at many higher schools of learning across the nation, depending on the institution.
Unfortunately, there are just a small number of Universities that offer pharmacology as a course of study—only around 4 of them. It is hoped that this will soon be rectified so that the shortage of researchers in the pharmaceutical sciences may be filled.
What qualifications do I need to become a pharmacologist?
Chemistry, physiology (the study of the body), and pathology are all combined in pharmacology (the study of disease). Pharmacologists collaborate closely with researchers in fields including cancer biology, molecular and cell biology, neurology, and immunology. There are certain pharmacological positions that do not need a degree, despite the fact that many of them do.
The work that pharmacologists do?
Scientists who examine how new medications function are known as pharmacologists. Contrast this with a pharmacist, a trained healthcare provider who prepares, delivers, and provides advice on over-the-counter medications.
At this point, we would like to define Pharmacy, explain more on Pharmacy, career path and what differentiates Pharmacy from Pharmacology.
What is Pharmacy?
Pharmacy is the science, technique, or field concerned with creating, maintaining, compounding, and distributing pharmaceuticals.
Who is a Pharmacist?
A pharmacist is a medical professional with extensive knowledge of medication components, their qualities, the manufacturing process, and the illnesses or disorders each drug is intended to treat. Independent pharmacies, large national chains, or inside a hospital or clinic are all places where pharmacists can find employment.
Pharmacists can provide patients with guidance on dosage, toxicity, and over-the-counter remedies since they are informed about the effects of medications and how different medications interact with one another. Pharmacists need to be effective communicators since their profession necessitates frequent interaction with people.
They are also responsible for these:
- Collecting medications
- Storing drugs
- Preparing prescriptions
- Giving out medication to patients
- Responding to questions from patients about medications.
Career Paths of Pharmacists
Typically, pharmacy students look for employment in drugstores, medical facilities, clinics, and other conventional pharmacy settings. To appropriately disperse medicine, pharmacists in these positions communicate with patients, medical professionals, and occasionally insurance firms.
“Pharmacy means that you will have a certain, defined job.
In Europe, the typical annual wage for these positions is $128,090, but in Nigeria, it ranges from N2 to 15 million. The majority of Nigerian communities have excellent pharmacies where pharmacists may work and make a decent livelihood, particularly in metropolitan regions. The best person to explain a medicine, explain why it should be administered to a patient, or explain why you should pay for one drug over another is a pharmacist. Finally, some pharmacists establish specialized compounding facilities for non-standard medications, many of which are created to meet the unique needs of certain patients.
At this point, we would now venture into the difference between pharmacy and pharmacology. I also believe that at this point, you should be able to clearly outline some of the differences between either term or both courses.
The historical difference between Pharmacology and Pharmacy
The use of extracts to cure ailments was a typical early medical technique that has evolved into the pharmacology and pharmacy practices of today. For instance, Dr. William Withering, an English physician from the seventeenth century, is credited with employing compounds from the foxglove plant (Digitalis purpurea) to cure the buildup of liquid in soft tissues (also called edema or dropsy). Heart failure is a complication of this illness. Dr. Withering conducted an unbiased investigation of the extracts from the plant and how they affect his patients despite the fact that the plant had long been known to be deadly and had been utilized in folk medicine. He came to the conclusion that safe, tiny amounts were best.
What is the difference between pharmacologists and pharmacists?
Both pharmacologists and pharmacists deal with drugs, and both have comparable educational backgrounds and prospective salaries. The key difference is that whereas pharmacists interact with patients to deliver medications and provide advice on their usage, pharmacologists work within the multidisciplinary science of researching pharmaceuticals and their interactions with people.
Although the terms “pharmacist” and “pharmacologist” may not seem to differ all that much, there are really a number of significant differences between the two professions. Example; knowing whom to question about the science behind eye drops and whom to visit for your eye drops will help you reach your eye care purpose if you are aware of these distinctions.
However, the specialist areas, working conditions, and employment demands between pharmacists and pharmacologists vary:
Education and Training
Pharmacologists and pharmacists both need to have a bachelor’s degree. Although no specific college major is necessary for these jobs, the majority of students obtain degrees in science or math, such as:
- Basic chemistry
- Chemistry, organic
Graduate school is required for aspiring pharmacologists and pharmacists after obtaining a bachelor’s degree. A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree is best suited for students interested in research, clinical trials, and education, whereas a Pharm.D. degree is a professional doctorate that prepares students for practice.
Since they practice pharmacy, pharmacists are obliged to have a Pharm.D. According to their preferences, pharmacologists might opt to get a Pharm.D., Ph.D., or Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree depending on their career objectives.
Before they can start working, pharmacists must complete 1,500 hours of training, pass the country’s Pharmacist Exam, and pass state board examinations. To work in the field, pharmacologists often just need to complete educational requirements. A medical license is required for pharmacologists in order to conduct clinical trials on humans.
Some pharmacologists and pharmacists could decide to finish a residency or fellowship program in the field of their choice. Fellowships and residencies are two or three years of practical instruction and practice.
Between 2020 and 2030, the number of positions in the pharmacy industry is expected to drop by 2 percent, or 7,000 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS predicts a 17 percent growth in employment, or an estimated 22,600 new posts, for medical scientists, including pharmacologists.
Pharmacy and Pharmacology salaries and employment demand
Both professions can offer financial stability. Pharmacologists make an average of $96,811 (approximately 60million Naira) a year in the United States, while pharmacists make an average of $119,630 per year which is equivalent to between 70,000,000 to 80,000,000 naira per year. Earlier on in this article, we stated what pharmacists make annually in Nigeria
However, earning potential for both occupations might vary depending on several variables, such as:
Location: Ones in big cities often pay more than jobs in small towns.
Specialty: The salary for various specializations might differ. For instance, nuclear pharmacists frequently earn more money than ambulatory pharmacists do.
Setting: Some pharmacologists and pharmacists work in the industry, do further study, or educate. Salary ranges vary depending on the chosen professional choice.
The working environment of a Pharmacist
Typical patient-centered environments where pharmacists operate include:
- Independent drugstores
- Clinics with a particular focus on oncology or pediatric clinics,
- Networks of pharmacies inside supermarkets or retail establishments
The majority of a pharmacist’s time is spent counseling and teaching patients about their prescription regimens. Since employment in a pharmacy puts one in contact with the public, pharmacists interact closely with patients and form bonds that may last for decades. A job as a pharmacist can be a wonderful fit for you if you love interacting with patients regularly and offering guidance and support.
The working environment of a Pharmacologist
Pharmacologists, on the other hand, rarely deal with patients. Scientists that specialize in pharmacology work mostly in laboratories. They may collaborate with a group in a variety of ways, such as:
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Crime labs
- Government institutions
- Study facilities
You may consider a career in pharmacology if, interacting with patients is not your preferred job setting and research and experimenting are.
Among the various specialties available to Pharmacists are:
1. Geriatric Pharmacy: These pharmacists provide care for senior citizens in long-term care institutions and assisted living facilities.
2. Pharmacy for infectious diseases: Infectious illness pharmacy specialists research and suggest antimicrobial medications and therapies.
3. Oncology Pharmacy: This group of pharmacists focuses on the treatment of cancer.
4. Pediatric Pharmacy: This focuses on developing secure medication regimens for patients under the age of 18.
5. Pharmacy in Psychiatry: Pharmacists can assist patients in treating addiction-related mental health issues.
On the other hand, the following are some possible specializations for pharmacologists:
6. Toxicology: Pharmacologists that specialize in toxicology research the properties and consequences of poisons.
7. Biotechnology: Pharmacologists with a focus on studying biological processes can help create drugs like antibiotics.
8. Medicinal Chemistry: Pharmaceutical scientists who specialize in medicinal chemistry do research and use chemistry to develop medications.
9. Drug development: These pharmacologists concentrate on the design and development of novel medications through pre-clinical and clinical research, FDA drug review, and FDA post-market safety and monitoring.
At the end of this article, one should fully comprehend the difference between Pharmacy and Pharmacology, how each of them operates, work description, career path, necessary education qualification, average salary, and employment.
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