Are you one of these pharmacist ‘types’?

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The shopkeeper, the grocer, the locum, the homeopath, the community pharmacist… one researcher has attempted to classify pharmacists into various categories

Pharmacists are not a homogeneous group, yet little attention has been given to what the differences are between them, says Dr Terence Maguire, a community pharmacist and proprietor from Belfast, Northern Ireland.

As a ‘thought experiment’, Dr Maguire conceptualised pharmacist types using two continuums: professionalism and commercialism.

Figure 1: Segmentation of pharmacy-contractors by commercialism and professionalism. Source: Canadian Pharmacists Journal

“The segments are generalised—pharmacists tend towards a type and can change type, and I have tried to be descriptive, not pejorative, in my choice of names,” he writes in the Canadian Pharmacists Journal.

Here are the following ‘types’ he came up with:

The shopkeeper: Low on professionalism, low on commercialism. Follows the law but will seldom truly act in the best interests of the patient.

The grocer: Keeps a tidier shop. He or she is more focused on high throughput of goods as a means to commercial success.

The businessman: High on commercialism, low on professionalism. Has aspirations to be a multiple owner.

The locum: Reasonably professional but has no commercial sense.

The entrepreneur: Sitting on the fence and could be more professional or more commercial, depending on what motivates him or her.

The homeopath: High on commercialism, lower on professionalism. Able to manipulate science into pseudoscience if it’s to their commercial advantage.

The semi-medics: Adopters of new services who consider the patient first. They fail, however, to ensure sufficient funding is retained to allow businesses to be sustainable.

The pharmacist: These have more commercial expertise than the semi-medic.

The community pharmacist: The “hero” of this matrix. Ideal cross between high commercialism and high professionalism.

“If these pharmacists types are verified, they could tell us a lot about why, as pharmacists, we act the way we do,” writes Dr Maguire.

“I predict that most are shopkeepers. By awakening [this group], getting them engaged and … increasing their professionalism and commercialism … we have the possibility to bring about the transformation we desire.

“Ultimately, the pharmacy network must be plugged into, and aligned with, the direction of national healthcare policy.”

Do you see yourself as a pharmacist ‘type’? Or do you think labelling and categorising pharmacists is too simplistic or does the profession a disservice? Let us know in the comments section below

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