Pharmacies and drugstores: what is the difference between them?

Among so many doubts existing in our daily lives, one of them is about the difference between pharmacies and drugstores. Many people end up being confused with each other or, still, believe that they are the same things. To exemplify, try to think of how many people say “I’m going to the pharmacy” instead of “I’m going to the drugstore” when they need to buy some type of medicine – be it industrialized or manipulated. Complicated, isn’t it?

It is known that both pharmacies and drugstores are establishments that, culturally, are one of the first accesses of the population to the health service. Therefore, in view of this, it is necessary that a professional in the pharmaceutical field, with registration at the Regional Pharmacy Council, remains in the establishment during the entire period in which it is open, so that the objectives of the Ministry of Health, and also of the consumer, are reached. In addition, for a pharmacy and / or drugstore to function, prior authorization from the Health Surveillance is required.


The differences between Pharmacy and Drugstore

According to items X and XI, of Article 4, of Law No. 5,991, of December 17, 1973, establishments called pharmacies and drugstores have explicit differences, as described below:

X – Pharmacy

Establishment of manipulation of magistral and officinal formulas, trade in drugs, medications, pharmaceutical supplies and related items, including dispensing * and private care of a hospital unit or any other equivalent of medical assistance;

XI – Drugstore

Establishment of dispensation * and trade in drugs, medications, pharmaceutical supplies and related products in their original packaging.

* Dispensing means the act of the pharmacist, which consists of replacing one medication with another that has been prescribed, as well as providing guidance on its respective dosage, interaction with other medications, possible adverse reactions and care with the preservation and storage of the product. .

Translating what is in the law, the pharmacy is the place that has a laboratory for preparing formulas prescribed by trained professionals (such as doctors, dentists, veterinarians and nutritionists, for example) and that can also sell industrialized products , while the drugstore only sells industrialized ones and some other items, such as cosmetics, first aid supplements and even convenience items.

Of course, eventually, a drugstore can also be called a pharmacy, as it contains a laboratory inside, but these are rare cases.