University of Wisconsin 2014

Pharmacy, The Philippines Iloilo

Similarities and Differences of Pharmacy (US and Philippines)

  • pharmacy department decentralized
  • clinical work
  • responsible for buying and maintaining inventory
  • no patient chart
  • patients family must buy medication
  • pharmacists do not check prescription


When first arriving at the largest government tertiary referral hospital on Panay Island, it appeared that the Pharmacy Department was completely different than what I was used to in the United States. One key difference that stood out immediately was that the patient's family was responsible for buying all medications from the pharmacy and returning them to the nurse for administration.

In the USA the family is not allowed to handle the medications. The doctor orders the medication, the pharmacist dispenses the medication, the pharmacy technician delivers the medication to the floor, and the nurse administers the medication. Another difference is that the pharmacist is not responsible for "verifying" the order. In the USA verifying the order means that the pharmacist checks the prescription for appropriateness based on the patient's disease state, comorbidities, liver and kidney function, etc. In the Philippines this is left completely up to the doctor.

this pharmacy is starting to utilize the pharmacists in clinical roles... a very exciting advancement for the department

As I spent more time with the Pharmacy Department at the hospital, I noticed several similarities to the pharmacy departments in the USA. One similarity is that we both operate with satellite pharmacies. This means there is one main pharmacy with several smaller pharmacies scattered throughout the hospital. Another similarity is that the pharmacy departments in both the Philippines and the USA are responsible for buying the medications and maintaining the inventory.

Lastly, this pharmacy is starting to utilize the pharmacists in clinical roles. Right now there are clinical pharmacists in the NICU monitoring all antibiotics ordered. This is a very exciting advancement for the department and a great sign of a similarly progressive and evolving approach regarding hospital conventions!

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