States and Canada, drug stores commonly sell not only medicines, but also miscellaneous items such as confectionary, cosmetics, office supplies, and magazines, as well as refreshments and groceries.
The word pharmacy is derived from its root word pharma which was a term used since the 15th–17th centuries. However, the original Greek roots from pharmakos imply sorcery or even poison. In addition to pharma responsibilities, the pharma offered general medical advice and a range of services that are now performed solely by other specialist practitioners, such as surgery and midwifery. The pharma (as it was referred to) often operated through a retail shop which, in addition to ingredients for medicines, sold tobacco and patent medicines. The pharmas also used many other herbs not listed. The Greek word pharmakeia (Greek: φαρμακεία) derives from pharmakon (φάρμακον), meaning "drug", "medicine" (or "poison").[n 1]
In its investigation of herbal and chemical ingredients, the work of the pharma may be regarded as a precursor of the modern sciences of chemistry and pharmacology, prior to the formulation of the scientific method
Pharmacy, tacuinum sanitatis casanatensis (14th century)
The field of pharmacy can generally be divided into three primary disciplines:
Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy
The boundaries between these disciplines and with other sciences, such as biochemistry, are not always clear-cut. Often, collaborative teams from various disciplines (pharmacists and other scientists) work together toward the introduction of new therapeutics and methods for patient care. However, pharmacy is not a basic or biomedical science in its typical form. Medicinal Chemistry,on its own, is also a distinct branch of science of synthetic chemistry combining pharmacology, organic chemistry, and chemical biology.
Pharmacology is sometimes considered as the 4th discipline of pharmacy. Although pharmacology is essential to the study of pharmacy, it is not specific to pharmacy. Both disciplines are distinct.Those who wish to practice both pharmacy (patient oriented) and pharmacology (a biomedical science requiring the scientific method) receive separate training and degrees unique to either discipline.
Pharmacoinformatics is considered another new discipline, for systematic drug discovery and development with efficiency and safety.