Functions and Location of Hospital Pharmacy

We have covered following topics: definition, Functions, Location and organization structure.

Definition of Hospital Pharmacy

Hospital pharmacy functions for receiving, storing, and dispensing drugs and medicines to patients. The hospital pharmacy may also manufacture pharma cuticles and parenteral products. The department provides a range of pharmacy services for hospitalized and ambulatory patients, including purchase, manufacture, compounding, storage, dispensing, distribution, and maintaining a record for the same.  Hospital pharmacy is the health care service, that comprises the art, practice, and profession of choosing, preparing, storing, compounding, and dispensing medicines and medical devices, advising healthcare professionals and patients on their safe, effective, and efficient use.

Functions of Hospital Pharmacy

The various functions performed by a hospital pharmacy are:

  • 1) It attains a supply of drugs, chemicals, and biological and pharmaceutical formulations only from licensed vendors and manufacturers.
  • 2) It inspects the received items and maintains an inventory for the same.
  • 3) It dispenses the patient’s drugs, chemicals, and pharmaceutical preparations. The pharmacists repack the medicament in appropriate containers and label them.
  • 4) It keeps a record of all the narcotic drugs and alcohol received and issued.
  • 5) It predicts the demand for drugs, chemicals, antibiotics, biologicals, radiopharmaceuticals, etc., and takes suitable steps to fulfill the demand.
  • 6) It keeps a record of each supply dispensed.
  • 7) It manufactures large volumes of parenteral and other drug preparations in case of unavailability, high cost, lack of authentic vendors, or caution.
  • 8) It implements strict control on the quality of the supplies received, manufactured, and dispensed.
  • 9) It discusses the drug-related information with the medical staff, resident nurses, health care team, and the patients.
  • 10) It participates in minimizing the incidence of illness and improves the general health of the population.
  • 11) It provides patient counseling.
  • 12) It implements the recommendations of the pharmacy and therapeutic committee.

Organization Structure Of Hospital Pharmacy

Hospital Pharmacy Organization Structure
Organization Structure Of Hospital Pharmacy

The hospital pharmacy has various divisions, like compounding and dispensing, manufacturing or production, quality control, central sterile supply, research, education and training, administration, and library. The Chief Hospital Pharmacist is the head of pharmacy who reports to the Administrator. The number of Assistant Chief Pharmacist, who assists the Chief in administration, depends on the work, nature, and scope of preparations, staff strength, etc. The Assistant Chief Pharmacist supervises and controls the various functions of the pharmacy.

The Chief has a secretary and other office clerks to assist him. Staff pharmacists, technicians, pharmacy helpers, and other workers of the hospital pharmacy are involved in compounding, dispensing, manufacturing, drug supply, central sterile supply, and library duties.

Location Of Hospital Pharmacy

The pharmacy should be situated on the ground floor or the first floor to ease its accessibility and provide adequate service to various departments and nursing stations.  If the hospital has an outpatient department, the pharmacy or its branch should be near it.  In a multi-story hospital, each floor should have a pharmacy. The layout of floor pharmacies should be such that a continuous flow of men and materials is maintained.

A complete unit of the hospital pharmacy includes the following areas:

  • 1) Office of the chief
  • 2) Out-patient dispensing unit
  • 3) Bulk compounding area
  • 4) Manufacturing unit for sterile and non-sterile preparations
  • 5) Packaging and labeling area
  • 6) Alcohol and volatile liquid area
  • 7) Narcotic vaults
  • 8) Radioisotope storage & dispensing area
  • 9) Central sterile supply area
  • 10) Cold storage area
  • 11) Research wing
  • 12) Pharmacy storeroom
  • 13) Library
  • 14) Waiting room

An outpatient pharmacy should look pleasant and have enough space and seating arrangements for patients waiting for the medicine to avoid overcrowding. The waiting room in the outpatient pharmacy should have a professional look, bear educative posters on health and hygiene, and hold light literature for reading to engage the visitors. This has a positive impact on the pharmacy and the visitors. To routinely manufacture bulk preparations (like stock solutions, bulk powder ointments, etc.), a suitable space adjacent to the pharmacy or in the basement directly below the pharmacy should be provided. The medical stores of the pharmacy should lie adjacent to the pharmacy or beneath the pharmacy.


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