Insights from the Norwegian pharmacy regulatory body

As a pharmacist who was born and grew up in Norway, I have observed that pharmacists in Norway are more valued and respected compared to our colleagues in England. We can examine the reasons behind this and learn from them so that we can improve working conditions of pharmacists in England.

One major factor is the level of education required to become a pharmacist in Norway. In Norway, a Master’s degree has always been mandatory, which ensures that all pharmacists have a comprehensive understanding of medicine and a higher level of expertise. This level of education results in greater trust and respect from patients and other healthcare professionals. This change was brought in many years ago in England, yet, it has not gained the profession more respect. Will the changes of us becoming prescribers bring the value and respect we have been craving?

Norway’s healthcare system places a greater emphasis on the role of the pharmacist in patient care. In Norway, pharmacists are a fundamental part of the healthcare team, and their recommendations are taken seriously. This is not always the case in England. Often, pharmacists are overlooked, and their expertise undervalued.

Norway’s regulatory body for pharmacists, the Norwegian Pharmacy Association (NPA), is highly-regarded and influential. The association is actively involved in promoting and lobbying for pharmaceutical policies, and their recommendations are taken seriously by the government. The NPA has several strategies for promoting its policies, such as attending conferences, meetings, and engaging with policymakers to discuss the benefits of its proposals. Compared to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of GB, the NPA is more focused on achieving specific policies.

The NPA has a strong reputation in Norway, and its recommendations are taken seriously by the Norwegian government. The NPA has a direct line of communication with government officials, and its proposals are often integrated into national policy. The NPA’s success is partially due to its close relationship with the government and its ability to showcase the benefits of its policies. On the other hand, the RPSGB is more likely to be involved in research, education, and training programs. We can learn from Norway and as a pharmacist with strong ties to the Scandinavian systems, I have many ideas that I can bring to the table, and I am eager to collaborate with my colleagues to improve the state of pharmacists in England.

Shilpa Patel

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, May 2024, Vol 312, No 7985;312(7985)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2024.1.313320

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