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Pharmacy School

In earlier days, one desirous of running a pharmacy needed a healthy handlebar moustache as the only qualification. A strong physique on top of that spelt better knowledge of drugs. But things have undergone a sea change now. Today, the basic requirement for a pharmacist to be regarded for registration is an undergraduate or postgraduate Pharmacy Degree from a recognized University. While in most European countries this involves a 4 to 5-year course to attain a B. Pharm (Bachelor of Pharmacy) or B.Sc. Phm (Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy) degree, in the US, students graduating after Jan 1, 2003 must complete Doctor of Pharmacy degree to act as a licensed pharmacist. This necessitates completion of four years at an accredited college of pharmacy though most students applying for admission already have an undergraduate degree.

Any student desirous of practicing as a pharmacist must register his/her name with the country, state or the province’s Regulatory Body. When the Regulatory Body covers an entire country, it generally conducts a written as well as an oral test for the prospective pharmacist prior to registration. But if the jurisdiction is limited to a specific area, the required test is conducted by a national examining board.

However, the practice varies from place to place and from country to country. For instance, in Australia, a pharmacist should complete an undergraduate 4-year Bachelor of Pharmacy course that should be followed by an internship and free examination conducted by Australian state registration board. Pharmacists are also registered by Pharmacy Boards in different states like the Pharmacy Board of Victoria. Pharmacists in Western Australia are registered by the Pharmaceutical Council of Western Australia. Moreover, graduates are required to complete an approved graduate training course. On meeting these requirements, graduates are eligible to sit for the registration examination which may involve both written and oral tests.

However, things tend to turn more towards the practical side than academics in Canada where a pharmacist must complete undergraduate 4-year Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree after finishing a minimum of 1-year of university studies beforehand. The degree is also more work oriented and composed of coursework and clinical familiarity with drugs and reagents through internship and placement. This is then followed by completion of a national board examination conducted by the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC). A good number of hospital pharmacists in Canada also go for Hospital Pharmacy Residency Program which is a twelve to twenty four month postgraduate directed learning experience. Through structured rotations in pharmacy practice, education, research, and administration, residency programs aim to prepare pharmacists for challenging and innovative pharmacy live outs. Graduate residents are an important source of highly qualified pharmacists trained in institutional practice. Most residency programs are accredited by the Canadian Hospital Pharmacy Residency Board on behalf of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists.

Pharmacy schools in different parts of the world

Pharmacists in Chile are highly skilled professionals who have to study for six years to become pharmacists. They are so trained as not only to dispense and be capable of working at clinical and community based pharmacies but also in food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry at all levels including drug development, manufacturing, marketing, management and many more. The official designation of a pharmacist in Chile is Quimico farmacéutico which means chemist and pharmacist.

The training of a pharmacist in Denmark takes place at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen where Bachelor of Pharmacy degree (BPharm) takes two years while the MPharm takes two more years.

In France, it takes six years to study Diplôme d’Etat de Doctueur en Pharmacie, at the end of which students are allowed to take part in a competitive examination. Those who succeed then follow a 4-year postgraduate specialty course (pharmaceutical residency) where they are made familiar with laboratory medicines, reagents, etc.

In Greece, a 4-year university course must be completed at the University of Athens by an aspiring pharmacist. It comprises four years of theory and laboratory practice along with a 5th year of obligatory full-time in-service training in a community pharmacy as well as in the pharmaceutical section of a hospital. On successful completion of the course, degree in Pharmacy is awarded to the student.

In the Republic of Ireland, a student desirous of becoming a pharmacist must complete a 4-year BPharm or BScPharm degree course which so long was conducted at the Trinity College, Dublin. In 2003, two new School of Pharmacy were opened while a Pharmacy Department was created at the University College at Cork on the southern coast of Ireland. Also, another Pharmacy School came into being at Dublin (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland).

Integration with the European Union has resulted in the usual BPharm and BSc courses to be superseded by a 4-year course for the qualification of MPharm or Master of Pharmacy in the United Kingdom. In UK, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain is primarily responsible for regulation of all pharmacy matters while in Northern Ireland, it is controlled by Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland.
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