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Summary This paper discusses the relationship between pharmacy and medicine in the light of recent claims that occupations such as pharmacy, whose central tasks arc organised around those of medicine, have gained increasing control over their sphere of work, thus contributing to a decline in medical hegemony. We discuss the process by which on the one hand, para-medical groups may extend their boundaries into areas officially the responsibility of the medical profession, and on the other, the medical profession may willingly delegate or indeed relinquish control over certain tasks. However, we argue from data collected from those groups in medicine and pharmacy concerned with the problems of drug use, that this does not necessarily indicate a decline in medical hegemony.