What does a pharmacy assistant do and what skills are required?

Pharmacy Assistant 1

An important member of the healthcare community, pharmacy assistants aid pharmacists in administrative and customer service roles.

From purchasing medications, merchandising, taking inventory control and record keeping, the job duties are wide ranging. Pharmacy assistants are called on to answer the telephone, accept payment for prescriptions, price stock, stock shelves and mark items for sale as well as prepare and reconcile third party insurance claims and records

As with pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, pharmacy assistants work in community and hospital pharmacies, health care facilities, medical centres, clinics, pharmaceutical laboratories, educational institutions and the federal government.

Computer literacy and keyboarding skills are essential as are excellent oral and written communication, a caring attitude toward others, the ability to remain calm and handle emergencies the ability to pay close attention to detail and good manual dexterity. Also important are organizational skills and detail orientation.

In some instances, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy assistants have overlapping duties, but generally the duties of technicians include counting tablets, mixing and weighing medications while assistants handle the clerical work.

But where a technician may be able to answer a patient’s direct question, an assistant must always direct prescription or drug-related questions to the pharmacist.

Published on December 14, 2011
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