Lost in Translation: Exploring the Surprising Differences in Pharmacy Terminology Between the UK and US

2 mins

This is a blog all about the terminology differences between the United Kingdom and the Unit...


This is a blog all about the terminology differences between the United Kingdom and the United States in pharmacy. While you may not have even considered that there are differences, there are some very clear differences which may surprise you!


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First, let's start with some background information. Pharmacy is the science and practice of preparing and dispensing drugs. Pharmacists play an important role in ensuring that patients receive the correct medications and dosage for their health conditions.

Now, let's get to the fun stuff - the terminology differences between the UK and the US in pharmacy. Here are some examples:


Prescription vs. Prescription Order

In the UK, a prescription is referred to as a "prescription order." In the US, it's simply called a "prescription." This might seem like a small difference, but it can be confusing for those not familiar with the terminology.


Chemist/ Pharmacy vs. Pharmacy/ Drug Store

In the UK, a pharmacy is often referred to as a "chemist." In the US, it's simply called a "pharmacy." This is another small difference, but it can be confusing for those who are not familiar with the terminology.

 

Dispense vs. Fill

In the UK, pharmacists "dispense" medications, while in the US, they "fill" prescriptions. This might seem like a minor difference, but it's important to note when communicating with healthcare professionals from different countries.

 

Tablet vs. Pill

In the UK, the term "tablet" is used to refer to a solid dose of medication. In the US, it's often referred to as a "pill." Again, this might seem like a small difference, but it's important to be aware of when communicating with healthcare professionals from different countries.

 

Medicines vs. Drugs

In the UK, medications are referred to as "medicines," while in the US, they're often called "drugs." This is another terminology difference that can be confusing for those not familiar with the terminology.

 

Items vs. Scripts

In the UK a pharmacy’s productivity levels will be measured by its “items” per month. This is the number of prescriptions that a Pharmacy is to process/send out. Whereas in the US, they use “scripts” per month to understand the productivity levels.

These are just a few examples of the terminology differences between the UK and the US in pharmacy. While these differences might seem minor, they can cause confusion and miscommunication between healthcare professionals from different countries.


So, the next time you're communicating with a healthcare professional from another country, be sure to keep these terminology differences in mind. And, if you're ever in doubt, don't hesitate to ask for clarification!