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Pharmacists are a Wealth of Information

This is Science Today. Despite years of effort to reach out to local communities, the role that pharmacists play as health care providers remains unclear. Those were the findings of a University of California, San Francisco study conducted by Dr. Sharon Youmans, an assistant professor of clinical pharmacy.

Youmans: A lot of people aren't aware that we have four years of training, so it's sort of the same length of time as medical school. In addition to learning the drugs, we learn all the intimate details of the drugs. How the bodies metabolize them, excrete them, all the drug interactions that may occur, not only with other drugs but with other diseases, with other foods and herbals, so we're trained to recognize those.

Narrator: Youmans says today pharmacy schools are training students about lifestyle changes, too, such as smoking cessation or weight loss.

Youmans: So it's treating the whole patient, not just focusing on one thing. So, we're a wealth of information. We're usually more accessible than a physician because you could actually walk in and ask to speak to a pharmacist.