Pharmacy Search Engines – An Indispensable Tool

Over the past few years, online pharmacies have become a preferable alternative to the community drugstores. The increased degree of convenience and safety has made them an instant favorite among the consumers. However, the growth of online pharmacy business led some unscrupulous people in launching illegal websites offering below par products and services. Most patients are often lured by their tall claims and end up getting cheated by these pharmacies. The growing number of such illegal Internet pharmacies has made it difficult for the patients to track down the legitimate ones where they can place their orders.

Though all legal pharmacies are licensed and approved by an external authoritative body and generally have a link on their website in support of that, it is practically a cumbersome process for the patients to scrutinize each and every pharmacy website to get a proof of their legitimacy. Under such a scenario, a pharmacy search engine can prove to be an indispensable tool for the patients.

A pharmacy search engine offers an interface with a search box in it. The users need to type in the drug name in that search box and click on the search button to get a list of pharmacies dealing in that specific drug. Pharmacy/ Medicine search engines maintain a database that includes all legal and authorized pharmacies operating over the Internet and discounts all the illegal ones. On entering a drug name in the search box, the search engine checks its database and compiles a list of all the Internet pharmacies dealing in that drug. It then returns a list of such pharmacies to users along with the prices offered by them.

The usage of a medicine search engine may look similar to that of the traditional search engines like Google or Yahoo. The difference is in the generated results for a search query. On a specific drug query, the traditional search engines may or may not return a result set comprising of online pharmacies. Moreover, patients can never be sure of the credibility of the pharmacies listed in the result sets, as some professionals specializing in search engine algorithms can push their positions right at the top. Pharmacy search engines, on the other hand will return more specific results showcasing various licensed online pharmacies dealing in such a drug.

Such results even give an overview of the current stock status, discounts applicable and prices charged by the listed pharmacies. The patients just need to scroll through the results to find the pharmacy that complies with their requirement. A single click of the mouse on the selected result either directs them to the pharmacy website or allows them to place the order directly from the website offering such a search service.

Medicine search engines serve as common platform for both the pharmacists as well as the patients. It is a media through which the online pharmacies can showcase their products vis-à-vis the other pharmacies. The patients on the other hand are assured of the credibility of the pharmacies that are returned as a result set for a specific drug query.

Canadian Pharmacy School

Pharmacists in Canada are now moving over and going beyond routine duties like sitting behind the counter, collecting drugs and counting them. In fact, the industry is now witnessing a paradigm shift and pharmacists are at the centre of this new development in that country.

Canada is now grooming a new generation of pharmacists who are now even counseling patients and giving them advice on the best and cost effective drugs. This new dimension to the career of a Canadian pharmacist has been attributed to the developments in the industry as a whole and the need to adapt to new market trends. Pharmacists are now being trained to adopt a patient centric approach, which also includes taking over some of the duties, hitherto performed by doctors.

Budding Canadian pharmacists are also being taught to identify, mitigate and prevent problems related to medication. While the field of pharmacy is ever changing and evolving, pharmacists are now required to be on their toes all the time and adapt to changes in all the three modes of drug sale including online, mail order and conventional methods. Pharmacy schools are now giving special training in these aspects. A pharmacist should learn to cope with the bulk of information flowing in or he could be overwhelmed just by the number of new drugs that are hitting the market every year.

Special emphasis is also placed on learning about the laws and regulations that are in place in Canada and the prevalent public health policy at the provincial or national government levels. Pharmacists are also required to liaise with community support groups and with ailment related groups like the local associations like the local lung association and local diabetics association. This mandates the knowledge of public relations work not to mention possession of good communication skills. The curriculum followed by Canadian pharmacy schools has evolved well in the last few years to cover these emerging areas and to provide students with the edge needed to obtain employment after obtaining their degrees.

Drug manufacturers have been roped in by many reputed pharmacy schools to aid pharmacy students in choosing their streams from a wide range of options. Pharmacists are also being guided to grow into the excellent community pharmacists who go on to become the first link in the health care system. They are expected to play a significant role in ensuring that the patients receive the best drug therapy. Pharmacists can also specialize in fields like oncology, infectious disease, psychiatry, etc. Specializations help them in playing their role in various health care teams.

The industry also wants pharmacists in areas like clinical research, marketing and public relations. They are also being involved in preparing information materials related to drugs and in educating pharmacists, physicians and patients.

As of now, 9 universities in Canada are having pharmacy schools. The admission requirements usually vary from one university to another. After obtaining a Bachelors degree in pharmacy, one has to pass a national board examination through the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada. After this, one can also get some practical experience through an internship program. Different provinces in Canada have put forth different requirements for becoming a licensed pharmacist.

In 2002, the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE) began recognizing the accreditations awarded by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP) for programs leading to a baccalaureate degree in pharmacy.