The Role of Pharmacists in the Military

This Remembrance Day, We at Centrum Pharmacy, would also like to inform you of the crucial roles and services that pharmacists in the military play in safeguarding our troops and ultimately our freedom. 

Deployed pharmacists find themselves with distinct challenges, assuming the role of primary drug experts in unconventional and sometimes hostile environments. Their responsibilities go beyond the usual screening, packaging, and distribution of medications.

The Deployed Pharmacist’s Role:

  • Expertise and Availability:
      • Deployed pharmacists serve as the go-to experts for managing, storing, and obtaining pharmaceuticals.
      • Often the sole pharmacist in their operational area, they are expected to be available at all times.
  • Diverse Positions:
    • Deployed pharmacists may hold various positions such as field hospital pharmacist, division pharmacist, medical logistics pharmacist, and theater pharmacy consultant.
    • Proficiency in both outpatient and inpatient pharmacy, coupled with logistics expertise, is crucial.

Challenges Faced:

  • Logistics and Supply Management:
      • Significant challenges include logistics and supply management.
      • Concerns such as supply availability, controlled substance accountability, and management of refrigerated items arise.
  • Formulary Changes and Varying Missions:
    • Adapting to formulary changes, varying missions, and addressing manpower challenges are common issues.
    • The unpredictable nature of deployments necessitates flexibility and quick decision-making.

Pharmacists’ Experiences:

  • Preparation:
      • Emphasis on mental preparation, with a focus on sterile compounding and critical care.
      • On-the-job training becomes crucial, especially in understanding the logistics side of pharmacy and medicine.
  • Unique Medications:
      • Deployed pharmacists may encounter medications not typically found in traditional pharmacies, depending on the environment.
      • Examples include snake antivenom in Afghanistan, emphasizing the need for adaptability.
  • Handling Unique Situations:
    • Being prepared for situations like mass casualties, enemy fire, disrupted logistics channels, and evacuations is crucial.
    • Ensuring units have enough medications during critical moments is a top priority.


This year, we would like to highlight the contributions of one such Pharmacist Hero:

Shelley Hempstead. Please follow the link below to read about her story:

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