The Pill Less Pharmacist: Pharmacy Practice in the 21st Century

By Angela Orr, RPh and CEO, The Pill Less Pharmacist


When I graduated pharmacy perhaps many of you were not even born yet! Things have certainly changed since 1985. As I was graduating, University of Rhode Island was offering the PharmD program for the first time.


Back then the way I saw it as a pharmacist there were few options. It was hospital, a few industry positions, academia or as the majority of us went into retail pharmacy.


I was fortunate to experience many different settings in pharmacy. After working in hospital pharmacy I went into home infusion therapy in the early 1980’s. I believe this was when the pharmacy profession began to emerge with broader clinical opportunities. Being able to monitor patients' TPN formulations, programming pumps for circadian rhythm chemotherapy, and making home patient visits! I really believed (and still do) that as a pharmacist my clinical expertise mattered.


I then transitioned and worked for an insurance company as the executive liaison with the pharmacy benefit managers (PBM). It was there that I began to see how pharmacies were treated by the payers and chose to leave.


Back to retail for me, which has been my love. It was there that I felt I could truly make an impact and help make a difference for people in their life. I see that sentiment in most of the pharmacists I interact with.


Along the journey I opened and owned, for a total of 15 years, two of my own pharmacies in Maine. With increasing regulations, tightening reimbursements, and a breast cancer diagnosis I decided to change my focus to offering non dispensing care.



So I sold my pharmacies and have transitioned to becoming a certified life coach, certified HeartMath practitioner and Business coach. I see such a bright future for pharmacists who can share their gifts with the world in a non dispensing function.


When I first graduated the only position I saw myself in was either a retail or hospital pharmacist for the rest of my career. I would have never imagined that I could have done so many interesting and remarkably impactful things that I have done.


Why do I tell you all of this? Because I want you to see that there is so much possibility for you and your career also. In today's world there are


❖ Hospital pharmacist

❖ Retail pharmacists

❖ Academia

❖ Residencies and fellowships and Specialty pharmacy. How many specialties within this area? Coumadin clinics, AIDS, Chemotherapy, Emergency Room, Operating Room, and so many more

❖ Government positions

❖ Industry positions

❖ Compounding

❖ Pharmacy ownership

❖ Home care pharmacist

❖ Coaching and there are thousands of specialties within this area

❖ MTM pharmacists

❖ Remote positions

❖ Medical Liaisons

❖ Vaccinating pharmacists

❖ Pharmacists as providers

❖ Mail order pharmacist

❖ Research pharmacist

❖ Blogger

❖ Podcaster

❖ CBD expert

❖ Essential Oil expert



The list could go on and on. I think my point is that I am so excited for the future of pharmacy and I hope you are too!


I believe the only limit is what you believe is possible! To grow I say learn to ask yourself better questions.


My question to you is: If money were not an issue what would you do? What are you passionate about?


Then think how can I make that happen with my pharmacy knowledge and get paid to it? It will not be an overnight answer or journey but certainly it will be a rewarding journey to pursue your path.


You can contact me (my website is under reconstruction!)


https://www.facebook.com/angela.mcgarrigle.9