Pharmacists vs General Physician – What is the Difference?

Female pharmacist working

Pharmacists and general physicians both play a very important role in helping people in society stay healthy. While they do share some similarities, they also have a number of stark differences. They are, after all, different professions, but within the same field. 

Here we will look at some of the similarities and differences between these two important health care professionals:

The Differences Between Pharmacists And General Physicians

When making a comparison between a pharmacist and a general physician, there are a couple of main areas to review:


To become a pharmacist, you will need to complete a Doctor of Pharmacy. You will need to complete your undergraduate program as well as 4-year PharmD program to become licenced. To become a doctor, you will require more schooling. Physicians will need to complete an undergraduate degree, medical school, and residency requirements. It can take more than 10 years of education to become a doctor.

Area of Specialization

Pharmacists’ area of specialization is on medication where a physician area of focus is on providing general or specialized medical care. 

“In pharmacy, you will learn about medications, drug research & information, pharmacy operations, drug information, information technology applications for pharmacy, pharmacokinetics, pharmacology, biochemistry, and more,” says The Pharmacy Report.

“In medical school, you will learn about different topics. In the first two years of the program, you will learn about topics like medical laws & ethics, microbiology, anatomy, and physiology. In the final two years, it will require you to practice clinical rotations. The rotations will be performed under doctors’ supervision, and students will learn more about surgery, pediatrics, internal medicine, psychiatry, gynecology, obstetrics, etc.”

Overall, pharmacists are focused on supplying medicine that meet patient needs. A doctor is focused on examining patients, identifying conditions, performing procedures and monitoring conditions.

Key Areas Where Pharmacists Excel

There are certain areas where pharmacists are more knowledgeable than doctors in regard to your health and wellness. They include:

  • Pharmacists have more in-depth knowledge of what is in your medication.
  • Pharmacists are experts at monitoring how your medication is used. They will be able to provide you with important information about how various medications, supplements, and even foods interact with each other.
  • Since you go to them with all your prescription needs, they will have a detailed understanding of your medication history, whereas a physician will have a detailed understand of your health history.
  • Pharmacists are focused on overall wellness. They can consult you on many wellness topics and help you improve your health overall.
  • Pharmacists can help you choose the right vitamins and supplement to support your health goals. They can help you choose options that will not interfere with your medication.

Since you may interact with your pharmacist more than a specialist or even your family doctor, they may be more in tune with your health, wellness, and medication requirements. 

Together pharmacists and general physicians can help you properly manage all your health ailments and ensure you are making the best health decisions based on your specific situation.

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