Doctor vs. Pharmacist

  • By reComparison Contributor
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Difference between Doctor and Pharmacist

A doctor is a licensed practioner of medicine who either takes care of the over all health of his patients or specializes in a specific area. A pharmacist is not a licensed medical practioner but is someone who has training in handling medicinal substances and drugs so that they can be administered to the patients as prescribed by a doctor.


Roles and Responsibilities

Doctors are usually appointed to be in-charge of the various departments inside a health care facility or anchor a standalone medical practice. Doctors are experts at what they are trained to do and a part of their ongoing education has do with knowing how old and new drugs alike work – according their specialization.

Pharmacist is in charge of dispensing the right drug in the right amount to doctor’s patients. The amount and combination is traditionally prescribed by a doctor and that is what is followed by the pharmacist. Since the pharmaceutical industry has become more modernized now and the drug stores no longer need to mix individual chemicals to make medicines, the pharmacists role has somewhat diminished.


Doctors have a very important place in society as they are educated in and experienced with medical knowledge and training. People depend on doctors for treatment and receiving the appropriate dosage of prescription drugs. There has been a significant increase in the number of diseases around the world and hence doctors play a very big role in educating patients to by using precautions and treatments at any stage of any disease. Many diseases (tuberculosis, malaria, dengue etc.) which were thought to be incurable earlier can now be cured or at least managed effectively.

The work of a pharmacist is supportive to this cause. They dispense the medication, as advised by the doctor, to the patient. Their constant presence in the pharmacy gives them in depth and practical knowledge of medicine, which often comes in handy in the absence of a trained doctor.  Also, it ensures that they do not dispense the wrong medicine to the wrong patient.


In order to become a doctor, a person goes through years of rigorous studying and after completing graduation he or she can opt for a master’s degree in a more specialized field within medicine. The studies are usually followed by apprenticeship training under senior doctors. Different countries have been known to have slight differences in the medical course. However, the basic study emphasis remains the same.

On the other hand a pharmacist does not need such a long span of time to finish the course from a pharmacy school. Pharmacists’ generally study pharmacology, pharmaceutical chemistry, physiology etc. Pharmacists’ are trained to look for possible drug interactions. For instance, if a patient is being treated by more than one doctor, the pharmacist reviews the list of drugs on file for the patient and advises the patient about what possible warning signs to look for. Pharmacists’ also advise doctors when they see that the patient’s drugs may be harmful. Finally, the pharmacist is always available to talk to patients about how and when to use drugs in the most beneficial way.

Similarities and Differences

The medical world is made up of a symbiotic relationship between the doctor and the pharmacist. The smooth functioning of these two professionals is highly required for the administration of proper medical care.

  • Doctors are trained in medicine and the treatment of diseases.
  • Doctors are often known to create new methods of treatment and discover new medicines.
  • Pharmacists are in charge of dispensing medicine through a pharmacy.
  • Pharmacists help in not only compounding and dispensing medicine, but also with reviewing prescriptions, administering correct dosages to the patients in order to ensure their safety.

Who is easier to talk to about meds?
  • Doctor
  • Pharmacist

Discuss It: comments 16

Marianne would have you believe there is NO difference between a Pharmacist and a Doctor.

whoever wrote this article is as misinformed as i am, i can tell from the naivity of the writing.

This author is disturbingly uninformed. The dispensing of medications is now primarily (and, in some jurisdictions, exclusively) the role of the pharmacy technician. Today's community pharmacist is a lot more involved in patient counselling and education. Physicians have only learned the very basics of pharmacology in school. There's more and more argument these days that physicians are unqualified to make drug choices. In hospital settings and health "teams", while the physician has the final say in the matter, the pharmacist is usually the one who selects the drug.

whoever wrote this article is misinformed. doctors are not involved in discovery of medicines. a doctor is an expert of anatomy and physiology. it is only practice in hospitals in supervison of senior doctors that enable them to prescribe medicine. a pharmacist is an expert of medicine. pharmacists work in different areas from the begining of its production to the end.pharmacists involved in research design or modified a molecule or drug. a pharmacist studies pharmaceutics, medicinal chemistry, phamacognosy (a doctor dosen't study any of them and many more subjects), pharmacology and many more subject. both are very important persons but it is not fare to say that doctors are superior bcz its not. if doctors alone were capable from discovering a drug to final patient's treatment then pharmacist word wun't exist. I am a pharmacist and requesting u whoever u r, if u dont know abt anything abt a field, dont say anything... and one more thing, pharmacy is a very vast field from discovery of a drug to its proper handling. doctors give lives to patients but we pharmacist give lives to drugs..

  • Guest
  • kgaogelo wrote on March 2018

I want to study pharmacy me on what to do

  • Guest
  • Sonya Lee wrote on May 2019

You're an idiot... and a few years away from being a doctor. So, until you have an M.D. Your job will be to dispense and count medicine... and get yelled at by real physicians all day.

  • Guest
  • Pnehe wrote on February 2012

Doctors hv discovered a lot medicines too.

Okay just read the first line and "pharmacists are not licenced medical practioners"? Uhh...pharmacist are licenced to practice pharmacy (they obtain a Pharm D.) as physicians are licenced to practice medicine (they obtain a M.D.).

  • Guest
  • pharmacy technician resume wrote on July 2012


Your post contains great resource on pharmacist as I am thinking of making my career is such field. I have seen so many opportunities and benefits one can have being into such career. I have gathered so many facts being here.

  • Guest
  • Ifty Alam wrote on August 2014

in recent physician are not welcomed for medicinal research because of their inadequate knowledge about pharmaceutical chemistry..only pharmacists come forth with complete knowledge to discover a new drug..none other professionals to be compared with pharmacists in this manner...

  • Guest
  • RITTER N. KEAH wrote on June 2015

pharmacists are the bear rock on which a health care stands not the doctor because in our modern world now pharmacist can prescribe in the absence of the doctor not to only dispence.pharmacist advice patient about the rational use of drugs.more besides,pharmacists are highly educated people and as such they can be compare to doctors in salary,educationetc....

Wow... this article sounds like it was written in 1960

  • Guest
  • Ugbede Gaius wrote on August 2017

The author is either a Doc or a relative to one

The author is so uninformed. He is still living in the stone age






  • Guest
  • Mosasaur wrote on December 2019

I am a research scientist of 40 years and have published over 42 papers in peer review journals. I have researched with individuals with a PhD, MD or MD PhD but never pharmacists in academia or industry. While pharmacists should be more knowledgeable about drugs on the market, they are seldom found in basic science where discovery begins. MDs can practice or research or both and have many opportunities for grant money.

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