This month our resident pharmacist, Dermot Smyth, who operates the pharmacies in both Slane and Tullyallen, reveals that it is vital to keep medicines in their proper place, tells why he got into the business in the first place, says what is the growth market in his sales and offers up the best bit of advice he ever received.
Remember if you have any questions for him send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Is it absolutely necessary to store medication at the proper temperature?
Our friendly pharmacist
Con Hardiman, Navan
‘Con it is ever so necessary, honestly it really really is, it is so important to store medicines correctly. All medicines are chemical compounds and their stability and therefore effectiveness is affected by their environment. Most medicines that make it to the market are generally stable at normal temperature and humidity but some need to be stored in the fridge or in a cool dark press to maintain their effectiveness. If your not sure how to store your medication – ask your pharmacist they will advise you’.
Why did you become a pharmacist, and did you ever blow up the science lab at school
Vera Smith, Oldcastle
‘Why does anyone choose a career really Vera! We have no history of pharmacy in our family. Mam and dad always encouraged me to choose a career path that would give me plenty of work.
‘I liked science at school, and no I didn’t ever blow up the lab thanks be to God, I liked helping people and didn’t know too many unemployed pharmacists and I wanted to play football at third level so I thought studying pharmacy at Queen’s University in Belfast might suit me!
To be fair I am very lucky with my choice of career. There’s variety in my work – you never know what challenge is going to walk in the door next and it is rewarding – you help a lot of people in lots of different ways – and I get a buzz from that. So I lucky – not many people can say they enjoy their work but I do most of the time anyway.’
Is it all tablets and bottles in your daily routine, do you never wish for something different.
Murt Lynch, Trim
‘Without doubt medicines and prescriptions make up the majority of our business – the biggest growth areas in the business however are vitamins, minerals and supplements.
‘It is noticeable that people are looking after themselves and their health more during the lockdown and I think long term this may be a good thing, one of the very few good things to come out of COVID.
‘Do I ever wish for something different? no not really as I said I am fortunate in that I like what I do.’
To use a 21st century phrase, what is your USP, (Unique Selling Point)
Alice Husband, Moylough
‘Great question! Well, we like to think that our main point of difference from other pharmacies is that we care. We try to offer people the right solution for their problems, of course we are a business and trying to make a few euros but if someone leaves us with a problem solved the chances are they will return to let us help solve their next problem and the next one and then they will tell their neighbour who will come to us with a problem and so on.
‘An old pharmacist I worked with in Belfast a long time ago gave me this bit of advice. He maintained that everyone coming into the pharmacy had a reason to come in and was generally in poor health or had a relative in poor health. His advice was to always send people out the door feeling a wee bit better about themselves or their problem – listen to them, advise them and reassure them. I always think back to that and believe it was one of the best pieces of advice I ever got.’