Nine-Star Pharmacist Concept: a Review

Nine-Star Pharmacist Concept: a Review

The pharmacist is “a person prepared to formulate, dispense, and provide clinical information on drugs or medications to health professionals and patients.”

A pharmacist is one of the people in the health care team, and he plays a key role in providing quality healthcare and pharmaceutical care to the public.

They are experts in medicines and use their clinical expertise, together with formulation, quality control, practical knowledge, to ensure the safe supply and use of medicines by the public.

Pharmacists are responsible to ensure the quality of pharmaceuticals/medicines supplied to the patients as per the government policies/regulations and patient pharmaceutical education including counseling of the patients.

The scope of pharmacy practice now includes patient-centered care with all the cognitive functions of counseling, providing drug information and monitoring drug therapy, as well as technical aspects of pharmaceutical services, including medicines supply management (the additional role of managing drug therapy that pharmacists can now make a vital contribution to patient care).

The contribution of pharmacists to health care is based, in most countries, upon a broad understanding of the scientific principles and techniques of the pharmaceutical sciences, and the ability to keep pace throughout their careers with the developments in medicine and pharmacy.

Their knowledge and expertise extend to all aspects of preparation, distribution, action, and uses of medications.

Pharmacists’ responsibility has shifted substantially toward the utilization of pharmaceutical knowledge in the rational use of medications by the patient.

To be effective health care team members, pharmacists need skills and attitudes enabling them to assume many different functions.

The concept of the “Seven-star pharmacist” was introduced by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2014 and covered these roles: Caregiver, decision-maker, communicator, manager, life-long learner, teacher, and leader.

The ‘seven-star pharmacist’ was a landmark concept in terms of setting benchmarks for pharmacists to provide very high-quality pharmaceutical care to patients.

An addendum to the seven-star pharmacist concept has resulted in the inclusion of two new criteria, thereby giving rise to the ‘Nine-star pharmacist’.

In addition to the seven roles, the inclusion of a pharmacist as a researcher and an entrepreneur is quite significant.
  1. Caregiver
  2. Decision-maker
  3. Communicator
  4. Manager
  5. Life-long Learner
  6. Teacher
  7. Leader
  8. Researcher
  9. Entrepreneur

1. Caregiver

Pharmacists must provide caring services of the highest quality, and must view their practice as integrated and continuous with those of the health care system and other health professionals.

2. Decision-maker

The foundation of the pharmacist’s work must revolve around accurate decisions made or taken regarding appropriate, efficacious, safe, and cost-effective use of resources (e.g., personnel, medicines, chemicals, equipment, procedures, and practices).

Pharmacists must also play a pivotal role in setting medicines policy both at the local and national levels. The pharmacist must thus, possess the ability to evaluate, synthesize data and information, and decide upon the most appropriate course of action.

3. Communicator

The pharmacist must provide a link between physicians and patients, and to other health care professionals. He or she should have complete knowledge about all the pharmaceuticals with recent updates and be confident while communicating with other health care professionals and community members.

Pharmacists must have effective patient communication skills and it may help him/her to provide better pharmaceutical care to the community by identifying the patient’s problem and requirements, ensuring the quality of patient life.

Effective communication skills help the practitioners to collect accurate and comprehensive information from the patient and it will help practitioners to provide successful patient-related pharmaceutical education to the patient.

Strong communication skills will enable a pharmacist to establish the necessary rapport to build a trusting relationship and to ensure an effective exchange of information necessary for the pharmacist to appreciate patient needs, and for the patient to understand and accept pharmacist recommendations.

4. Manager

Pharmacists must have the ability to manage natural and commercial resources which include manpower, physical, and financial resources.

He/she must assume greater responsibility for managing the drug label information, ensure the quality of pharmaceuticals, and maintain clinical competency and function in patient care activities.

Developing and maintaining department policies and procedures, goals, objectives, quality assurance programs, safety, and environmental and infection control standards are key components that aid the pharmacist in evolving as an efficient manager as well.

5. Life-long Learner

It is impossible to acquire complete pharmaceutical/pharmacy education in an institute and the professional experience needed to pursue a life-long career as a pharmacist.

The concepts of life-long learning must begin while attending pharmacy school and must be supported throughout the pharmacist’s career.

Pharmacists regularly update their knowledge and skills in order to keep up with the current trends in issues related to drug therapy management.

The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education defines Continuing Professional Development as “the lifelong process of active participation in learning activities that assists individuals in developing and maintaining continuing competence, enhancing their professional practice, and supporting the achievement of their career goals.”

The pharmacist's continuous education system must be structured education to support the continuing development to maintain and enhance his competence.

Pharmacists also develop and maintain proficiency in delivering patient-centered care; working as part of interdisciplinary teams; practicing evidence-based medicine and focusing on quality improvement.

6. Teacher

One of the pharmacist’s responsibilities is to assist with the education and training of future generations of pharmacists and the general public.

The dynamic fashion of pharmacy teaching is not only to import the skill and knowledge to others; it also offers an opportunity for professionals to gain new knowledge and to fine-tune existing skills.

The teaching sessions are best conducted in actual practice settings, where the emerging pharmacists can immerse themselves in a real-world pharmacy practice experience.

The student pharmacist is also undergone various exercises to gain knowledge on pharmacy laws and regulations to improve the professional pharmacists’ competencies.

7. Leader

The pharmacist also plays a leadership role in the healthcare system to make decisions, communicate, and manage effectively.

A leader is one who can create an idea/vision and motivate other team members to achieve the vision. A leader is a person who continually encourages constructive differences. A leader is mission-driven without being egocentric.

Effective pharmacy leaders are experts in demonstrating and creating high-performance pharmacy practices characterized by high-quality patient care, improved medication safety, and maximum productivity.

8. Researcher

Research is not just for academicians. A great deal of research takes place at the grassroots level. Research findings can impact all sectors of the pharmacy profession.

A culture change is needed whereby pharmacists see research as a core part of their normal daily practice. There is a need for more practice research to help the profession meet its aspirations. Pharmacists need help and advice about how to get involved.

Pharmacy research should not be confined to community settings.

Hospital pharmacists are increasingly engaged with research as an integral part of their career development - keeping up to date with, and contributing to, research and developments, often in collaboration with medical staff and colleagues in the pharmaceutical industry.

9. Entrepreneur

Pharmaceutical businesses have infinite opportunities, more so for pharmacy graduates. The current scenario is that many entrepreneurs with little or no knowledge of pharmacy set up ‘pharmacy shops’ to procure and dispense medications, under the supervision of a registered pharmacist.

The question posed at this juncture is: ‘Why can't pharmacists evolve into Pharmapreneurs?

Pharmapreneurs comprise a number of highly qualified and diversified personnel having had sales, marketing, key accounts, and market access experience with multinational and local companies.

The possible areas for the involvement of pharmapreneurs are market access landscape navigation, new products launch, top-line sales protection plans, reimbursement strategy, mature brand life-cycle maximization, risk assessment and mitigation scenarios planning, sales force excellence, and divestitures.

The Pharmapreneur must:
  • Possess and apply appropriate pharmaceutical sciences knowledge,
  • Perform pharmacist-directed patient care,
  • Solve problems and continue to learn as the healthcare laws and policies change,
  • Enhance patient care by creating new outcomes improvements paradigms,
  • Innovate new pharmacy business solutions that enhance the patient experience and strengthen the business of community pharmacy.


Aaseer, TS., Subramani T. 2014. Seven-star pharmacist concept by World Health Organization. Journal of Young Pharmacists. Vol 6, Issue 2, Apr-Jun 2014.

Aaseer, TS., Subramani T. 2015. The Nine-Star Pharmacist: An OverviewJournal of Young Pharmacists. Vol. 7, Issue 4, Oct-Dec 2015.

The Role of the Pharmacist in the Health Care System. Preparing the Future Pharmacist: Curricular Development. Report of the Third WHO Consultative Group on the Role of the Pharmacist. Vancouver, Canada, 27-29 August 1997.