WA Health system


A pharmacy (chemist) is responsible for the manufacture, supply and appropriate use of medication.

The different types include:

  • a community chemist in your area
  • a pharmacy department in a hospital
  • a pharmacy responsible for the research and manufacture of new medications.

What does a pharmacist do?

Your pharmacist is able to:

  • prepare and supply medication
  • advise you on how medication can be used in the treatment of common illnesses
  • advise members of the public and other health professionals about safe use of medications including:
    • dosage and drug interactions
    • potential side effects
  • advise on and supply first aid supplies.

Examples of treatment provided by pharmacists

If you have gastroenteritis, your pharmacist may advise the use of an over-the-counter treatment, such as oral rehydration drinks, to complement any medication you’ve been prescribed.

The role of a pharmacy while you’re in hospital

While you are in hospital your pharmacist will:

  • monitor your medication usage
  • provide information on the medications you are using
  • work with other health care professionals
  • prepare products for your use.

When you leave hospital

The pharmacy will prepare medications for you to take home with you after your hospital stay.

Can I get my medications from my local chemist?

The pharmacists at your local chemist are able to supply you with medications. Some medications are only available through a prescription from your doctor.

Your pharmacist can supply over-the-counter medications.

You may be required to produce identification to buy some medications such as cold and flu tablets.

Visit healthdirect to read about getting the most out of your pharmacist (external site).

More information

Some allied health services are offered to people with chronic conditions and complex care needs. Speak to your doctor to find out what service you might be able to access.


Public Health

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.