Not to be confused with Hospital, early examples of which were called dispensaries.
A dispensary is an office in a school, hospital, industrial plant, or other organization that dispenses medications, medical supplies, and in some cases even medical and dental treatment. In a traditional dispensary set-up, a pharmacist dispenses medication as per prescription or order form. The English term originated from the medieval Latin noun dispensaria and is cognate with the Latin verb dispensare, "to distribute".The term also has Victorian antiquity, in 1862 the term dispensary was used in the folk song the Blaydon Races. The folk song differentiated the term dispensary from a Doctors surgery and an Infirmary. The advent of huge industrial plants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, such as large steel mills, created a demand for in-house first responder services, including firefighting, emergency medical services, and even primary care that were closer to the point of need, under closer company control, and in many cases better capitalized than any services that the surrounding town could provide. In such contexts, company doctors and nurses were regularly on duty or on call.
Electronic dispensaries are designed to ensure efficient and consistent dispensing of excipient and active ingredients in a secure data environment with full audit traceability. A standard dispensary system consists of a range of modules such as manual dispensing, supervisory, bulk dispensing, recipe management and interfacing with external systems. Such a system might dispense much more than just medical related products like alcohol, tobacco or vitamins and minerals.
Pharmacy is the science and technique of preparing, dispensing, and review of drugs and providing additional clinical services. It is a health profession that links health sciences with pharmaceutical sciences and aims to ensure the safe, effective, and affordable use of drugs. The professional practice is becoming more clinically oriented as most of the drugs are now manufactured by pharmaceutical industries. Based on the setting, the pharmacy is classified as a community or institutional pharmacy. Providing direct patient care in the community of institutional pharmacies are considered clinical pharmacy.The scope of pharmacy practice includes more traditional roles such as compounding and dispensing medications, and it also includes more modern services related to health care, including clinical services, reviewing medications for safety and efficacy, and providing drug information. Pharmacists, therefore, are the experts on drug therapy and are the primary health professionals who optimize use of medication for the benefit of the patients.
An establishment in which pharmacy (in the first sense) is practiced is called a pharmacy (this term is more common in the United States) or a chemist's (which is more common in Great Britain). In the United States and Canada, drugstores commonly sell medicines, as well as miscellaneous items such as confectionery, cosmetics, office supplies, toys, hair care products and magazines and occasionally refreshments and groceries.
In its investigation of herbal and chemical ingredients, the work of the pharma may be regarded as a precursor of the modern sciences of chemistry and pharmacology, prior to the formulation of the scientific method.