Which field is better: pharmacy or medicine? Why?
It depends on what you want out of life. Physicians are like the writers and pharmacists are like an editor. The physician runs the show, but the pharmacist proofreads their work and assures that what they’re doing is safe and that they are writing what they intended. After all, physicians are human and DO make mistakes at time. Some are bigger than others. The physician doesn’t have to listen to the pharmacist and the pharmacist doesn’t have to fill a prescription if they deem it to be unsafe or have some other reasonable objection (This is rare; I tend to fill prescriptions I view as suboptimal as long as they aren’t harmful to the patient and can be viewed as good enough, because it takes too much time to bother the physician for minor issues that won’t harm the patient and they never listen anyway. e.g. physicians overprescribe Z-Paks for viral infections or for infections where amoxicillin would work, but it’s not worth my time. Save the Z-paks for walking pneumonia and people with allergies or resistant bacteria.)
Physicians tend to live and breathe their profession, while pharmacists generally don’t bring their work home. There are physicians that can leave work at work and who work 40 hours weeks (e.g. ER doctors) but physicians generally work much longer hours than pharmacists, who tend to have a 40 hour week.
Lets assume that a primary care physician works 50 hours a week (probably a low estimate) and their average pay is around $195k per year. If you normalize that to a 40 hour work week, they make roughly $155k (physicians that specialize can make much much more, but I’m using this as a comparison, as specialists likely work even longer hours). Pharmacists, on the other hand, generally work 40 hours and the average salary is about $120k per year. Add to that the fact that pharmacists have a much much lower level of liability, are able to leave work at work, AND are not required to complete rigorous residency programs before practicing (though some pharmacists do and this could be a requirement some day) and I’d say the salary difference is about a wash. If you want to specialize, you’ll obviously have a much higher salary but you will also have to live and breathe one individual area of medicine, while seeing the most challenging of patients. This may be appealing to some, but others may not want this.
Since increased salary is commensurate to liability and time, imho, it primarily comes down to what you want. Don’t do it just for the money. Each of these professions offer more than enough money to live your life and it’s more important to consider which one will make you happier. In pharmacy, you have a number of options on what to do, but the primary place most pharmacists end up is in community pharmacy. Community pharmacists have to eat a lot of shit from people, so you better have thick skin, you better be somewhat extroverted and you better be able to bite your tongue (not saying physicians don’t eat a lot of shit, but it’s less often). There are hospital jobs in lower numbers and with lower salaries (generally), and there are also clinical positions that are more akin to the work of a primary care provider (some pharmacists enter collaborative practice agreements to completely manage medications for the patients of a particular physician). However, if you want to be a primary care provider, I recommend medical school because those positions are rare for pharmacists at the moment.
The moral of the story is that if you want to run the show on diagnosis and treatment, go into medicine. If you prefer to be a second set of eyes that is concerned with diagnosis, but is primarily interested in ensuring physicians are providing safe and efficacious therapy, while also acting as a walking encyclopedia about medication for nurses, physicians and/or patients, then pharmacy may be the right path. I do personally think the job outlook is better for physicians at the moment, but that shouldn’t be the only consideration (though an important one). I would say that pharmacy is probably better if you are very concerned with having a solid family life, but that’s just my opinion and different medical pathways can provide the same flexibility. Medicine, on the other hand, is probably better if you are extremely career oriented and plan to live and breathe the profession