Is a Drugstore and a Pharmacy the Same Thing?


While most drugstores have a pharmacy, a pharmacy won’t have a drugstore. The two may be synonymous with one another but they are two very different types of stores.

Both sell medications but each one is distinctly different when it comes to the type of medications and their availability.

Your Local Drugstore

Drugstores sell over the counter medications that can be purchased by anyone at any time. They also sell a wide variety of healthcare items that may be needed daily.

These items include athletic braces, blood pressure monitors, vitamin/mineral supplements, and a wide selection of other items needed by both men and women. Items can be purchased at any time without a doctor’s order or prescription from the doctor.

The Pharmacy

A pharmacy deals specifically with drugs and medications that require a prescription or a written doctor’s order before they can be purchased.

The pharmacist who operates the pharmacy is specially trained to handle potent medications and narcotics that require a patient to have the doctor’s permission prior to their purchase.

These medications are very powerful, and it is up to the pharmacist to explain how they are administered as well as answer any questions the patient may have before starting to use.  Drugstores often have a pharmacy as part of their normal operation.

Drugstores are almost like mini-supermarkets that specialize in health and medical items. They offer many of the items a person will need if they are feeling under the weather. Pharmacies, on the other hand, are normally visited after a trip to the doctor. Although there are many situations where you can find both at one location, each can stand alone as an individual entity.