What is the different between a 'dispensary' and a 'pharmacy'?

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A 'pharmacy' is usually a retail store where prescription medication is dispensed and sold, along with other goods.

A 'dispensary' is usually a designated area in an institution such as a school, office building, hospital, and so on, where medications are dispensed, usually without charge.

A 'dispensary' could also be, or be part of, a clinic in an institution of some sort, or a separate, stand-alone medical center or clinic, where diagnosis, treatment and dispensing of medication takes place.

The term 'pharmacy', though, is used to describe a dispensary in, for example, a hospital.

The term 'dispensary' is rarely used to describe a retail pharmacy, though some pharmacies use signage such as 'Dispensary' to indicate a part of the store dedicated exclusively to supplying prescription medication, or medication which required labeling with the purchaser's name and other data, in areas where this - and the pharmacist's advice on usage - is required either by law or by industry self-regulation.

So, while there is a clear difference between the two terms, they can be interchangeable.
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