Evolving Role of the Pharmacist

Evolving Role of the Pharmacist
February 21, 2024 Sue Riordan
Evolving role of the pharmacist

If there’s one thing the COVID-19 pandemic showed us, it’s how important a role our community pharmacies can play. During the pandemic, nearly 41,000 pharmacies were mobilized to administer more than 300 million vaccines across the country.1 And though these were special circumstances, it demonstrates just how critical a role pharmacists play when it matters most. As trusted professionals, they help people achieve better health each and every day. A new report recently released from CVS Health® looks at how this role may be set to expand to meet the needs of the consumers they serve. Read on for our take on the evolving role of the pharmacist.

Unsung heroes

You likely know your pharmacist as the friendly face behind the counter when you pick up your prescriptions. But what does this job really entail? It’s often much more than meets the eye. Your local pharmacist is an important, knowledgeable member of your health care team. Not just responsible for filling medicine per doctor’s orders, they’re also well versed on the medications you take. This includes  correct dosing you need for proper outcomes. Plus, they’re educated on common side effects and how new medicines may react with current ones you’re taking, alternative medicines and a lot more. Some of this may not come as a huge surprise. But how about the role your pharmacist plays in helping you manage your overall health?

Trusted professionals

According to the new Rx Report from CVS Health, 90 percent of Americans say the trust they have in their local pharmacy teams runs quite deep. In fact, nearly three in four Americans would be comfortable discussing their own personal health or health of a family member with a pharmacist.

And that’s one way the role of the pharmacist may continue to evolve. Most surveyed in the report expressed an interest in performing more clinical duties on a regular basis.

Beyond filling prescriptions, they’d like an opportunity to:

      • Provide immunizations.
      • Provide heart health services.
      • Educate about diseases or conditions.
      • Share practical tips for prescription savings.
      • Counsel about medications.
      • Offer diagnostic tests for illnesses.
Expert credentials

So, that may have you thinking about the faces behind the pharmacy counter again.  Just what qualifications and credentials do they need to hold?

In order to practice, community pharmacists must complete several years of schooling to earn either a bachelor of pharmacy (BSPharm) or doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree. In addition to this and being licensed, many may be required to obtain certificates for wider-ranging patient care, such as administering vaccines.

Clinical pharmacists—who work in a hospital or health care clinic—require even more training. This often includes additional schooling, plus a residency program or other hands-on patient care experience. Their job tends to be less about filling prescriptions and more about researching and developing medication therapy plans to assist doctors and patients being treated at various facilities.

Care you can count on

However you slice it, the extensive training they receive make pharmacists a reliable resource to help you manage your health. They’re also widely accessible. Since local pharmacies are so prevalent in many communities, they’re helping to close many of the health equity gaps that exist.

At Meritain Health®, you’ll encounter expert pharmacists on our Meritain Pharmacy Solutions (MPS) teams and in many programs found within Medical Management. In addition,, walk-in MinuteClinic® locations—available in-network with our national network—put you in touch with experienced pharmacy teams at CVS Health® and CVS Pharmacy®.

The role of the pharmacist is continually expanding. But that’s very good news when it comes to your health and well-being—and care you can count on!


This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice.