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The Similarities And Differences Between Doctor Of Pharmacy And Medical Doctor

Medical Doctor During Surgery
Medical Doctor During Surgery
I see many college students asking what is the difference between Pharmacy and Medicine and surgery. I do not blame them because the two professions are closely related. If you are seeking admission and you are confused on the difference, just relax. This is going to be an in debt review of both professions.
A Medical Doctor (M.D) is a profession that has been licenced and registered by the Medical And Dental Council  Of Nigeria (M.D.C.N) after graduating from an accredited school. On the other hand, a Doctor of Pharmacist is a profession that has been licenced and registered by the Pharmacists Council Of Nigeria (P.C.N) after graduating from an accredited school.

An MD is an expert in the diagnosis of disease/disorder, physiology and pathophysiology and treatment options, surgery, usage of appropriate medicine at appropriate indication, dose requirement for treatment, the condition of the disease, and condition of the patient.

An MD prescribe a treatment option for a patient with a disease based on assessment (clinical decision-making). The treatment option falls into two categories;


He can perform a simple test on patients such as blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate etc. if the test is a complex one, the patient will be sent to the laboratory where laboratory scientists do the various test like malaria test, Typhoid, etc. other tests may be x-ray by a cartographer.

With the test result, the MD can then prescribe the second options which are
  • Invasive
  • Non-invasive treatment

Invasive Technique

When an MD prescribe an invasive technique (operation or surgery) for treatment, they carry it out themselves.

Non-Invasive Technique

When a doctor goes for the non-invasive technique as a treatment option, it is either life style modification or the use of drugs. Once a drug is involved, the pharmacist can come in.

Pharmacist and drugs
Pharmacist and drugs
The pharmacist is involved in ensuring the safe and proper use of drugs, bearing in mind drug indications, drug-drug interaction, drug-food interaction as well as counselling in the hospital setting. They are also involved in the production of drugs.

To summarized everything, a pharmacist knows the in and out of all medicines from the dosage form, the composition, the generic, quantity of the different ingredients in a product, recommended dose to be taken, the instruction, precautions, those who should avoid a particular drug composition and use, drug dosing, during and how to take it with food or without. Side effects, route, the safety of a drug for the different group of person, mechanism of action, the onset of action, duration of action, rate of absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion, safety dose, drug categories, storage condition, reading prescription by prescribers (very difficult) and finally recommendation.

In terms of what they study in school, they share some courses together. However, pharmacy is more on chemical properties of drugs and how to apply them why medicine and surgery are about the physiology, prognosis, and anatomy. There is a symbiosis between the two professions. They are the closest in the medical field.
  • Pharmacist study physiology for one year while medicine and surgery do that for two years
  • Pharmacy offer pharmacology for three years of which medicine and surgery do same in one year
  • Anatomy for pharmacy students is just for a year and medicine do a lot of them in a space of 2 years.
In terms of drugs, doctor covers a highly condensed one-semester portion of what pharmacists get over a course of four years.

A graduate that study Medicine and Surgery is given the degree of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S) and as such can go by the title Dr. On the other hand, Pharmacist that got a B. Pharm degree receive the title of pharmacist. However, the pharmacist with a Pharm. D. degree which is a Doctor of Pharmacy can add the title Dr. to their name. A Later article will explain the meaning of the title and who is entitled to go by that title.

Conclusively, Pharmacist can own and manage a community pharmacy or a pharmaceutical industry. On the other-hand, MD can own and manage a hospital.

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