Only pharmacists licensed by the Singapore Pharmacy Council can call themselves pharmacists and use the title in their work.
Registration to be a pharmacist includes having a degree in pharmacy and fulfilling all accompanying professional requirements (read: exams, clinical training, and more exams).
You can check if the person who claims to be a pharmacist really is one at this link here.
Pharmacists only count pills.
Contrary to popular belief, pharmacists do much more than count pills, although some of us quite excel in the mental focus needed to count stuff.
Your prescription from the doctor can be fulfilled at most retail pharmacies on the island. The pharmacist on duty has to first make sure that the prescription is genuine (photocopies and expired scripts are not honoured) and is written by a doctor, dentist, or vet licensed to practice in Singapore.
They typically have two seconds to do this, so yes, they have very powerful eyes, but also tonnes of experience with people trying to “smoke” a fake prescription for very powerful medication.
This CSI-like process is followed by verifying your identity and health conditions as the pharmacist is the final checkpoint before you take the medication home – so in the unlikely event of any error in your medication, the pharmacist has a quite some responsibility to bear in the eyes of the law (so please, don’t rush them to hurry along with your prescription!).
My pharmacist charges so much for medication!
Let’s just say, there’s no bargaining when it comes to the prices of medication. We charge what the pharmacy as a company decides to charge. The pharmacy is not a flea market, guys!
Public healthcare institutions (hospitals and polyclinics) tend to purchase medication in bulk and whenever feasible, as generics (containing the same active ingredient but made by a different company from the brand name medicine). They also offer subsidies which may apply to you, and sometimes the option of instalment payment.
Compared to retail pharmacies you find in shopping malls, buying medication at public institutions is usually a more economical option.
Retail pharmacy chains have more overheads to account for, including rent at the mall, so it’s no surprise that there may be a mark-up on certain products. However, these pharmacies stay open later into the night and are convenient when you need some advice on anti-acids after a spicy hotpot supper!
Some retail pharmacies carry generic versions of medication alongside the branded ones, so it’s no harm really to ask your friendly pharmacist if he stocks some!