technicians help licensed
pharmacists provide medication and other health care products to
patients. Technicians usually perform routine tasks to help prepare
prescribed medication, such as counting tablets and labeling bottles.
They also perform administrative duties, such as answering phones,
stocking shelves, and operating cash registers. Technicians refer any
questions regarding prescriptions, drug information, or health matters
to a pharmacist.
who work in retail or mail-order pharmacies have varying
responsibilities, depending on state rules and regulations. Technicians
receive written prescriptions or requests for prescription refills from
patients. They also may receive prescriptions sent electronically from
the doctor's office. They must verify that information on the
prescription is complete and accurate. To prepare the prescription,
technicians must retrieve, count, pour, weigh, measure, and sometimes
mix the medication. Then, they prepare the prescription labels, select
the type of prescription container, and affix the prescription and
auxiliary labels to the container.
the prescription is filled, technicians price and file the prescription,
which must be checked by a pharmacist before it is given to the patient.
Technicians may establish and maintain patient profiles, prepare
insurance claim forms, and stock and take inventory of prescription and
In hospitals, nursing
homes, and assisted-living facilities, technicians have added
responsibilities, including reading patients' charts and preparing the
appropriate medication. After the pharmacist checks the prescription for
accuracy, the pharmacy technician may deliver it to the patient. The
technician then copies the information about the prescribed medication
onto the patient's profile. Technicians also may assemble a 24-hour
supply of medicine for every patient. They package and label each dose
separately. The packages are then placed in the medicine cabinets of
patients until the supervising pharmacist checks them for accuracy, and
only then is the medication given to the patients.
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.