5 Things to Expect at the Pharmacy


When you go to your pharmacy, what should you expect? 

Pharmacy professionals are important members of your health team. The Ontario College of Pharmacists (”the College”) registers and regulates these professionals and works to ensure they meet their duty to provide a high standard of care. 

The College has a mandate to serve and protect the public. One way it does that is by developing professional practice and ethical standards that underpin the quality and safety of the care you receive from pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

By knowing what you’re entitled to as a patient, you can get the most out of your pharmacy visit. Keep these five expectations in mind. 

1. Respect

That means being treated fairly and with dignity, something any patient would want from any health care professional. You should feel supported in your needs and in the decisions you make about your health. And, you should count on the fact that your pharmacist is asking you questions with your best interests in mind.

2. Understanding

Pharmacists are medication experts. They can explain all of the medications you’ve been prescribed and how to take them properly. You should feel comfortable speaking with your pharmacist about the drugs you’re taking and how they work.

If you’re unsure or unclear, have the pharmacist go through it again in simple language. If you need more time, request him or her to set up an appointment to address your questions or concerns. This allows you to make sound and important decisions about your health.

3. Privacy

You may have questions about your health or conditions that are of a private or personal nature, and you should feel comfortable discussing these matters with your pharmacist. So if you ask, your pharmacist should talk with you in a private, quiet area of the pharmacy where other patients can’t listen in. 

4. Confidentiality

Like other health care professionals, pharmacy staff have access to your personal information so they can offer you well informed advice and recommendations. This information can include things like your medications previously dispensed, medical conditions, health coverage, and health care provider. Pharmacy professionals have a legal and ethical obligation to keep such information safe, secure, and confidential at all times.

5. Addressed Concerns 

Pharmacy professionals are committed to providing you and your family with high quality care. However, if you ever have a concern about your experience at the pharmacy, you should expect to be able to speak with the pharmacy professional or the pharmacy manager about this concern. You can also reach out to the College for guidance or file a formal complaint. The College investigates all written complaints it receives. 

Think of these five expectations next time you visit your pharmacy to maximize your health outcomes.