Pharmacy students must be better prepared for their future careers

I read with interest the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) recent conclusion that the existing MPharm degree offered by British universities fails to equip pharmacists with the skills needed to deliver care and services expected of them in the future (
The Pharmaceutical Journal 2015;294:677

). I came to the same conclusion over a decade ago (The Pharmaceutical Journal 2004;273:114), and have made suggestions on the way forward, including introducing the clinical pharmacy degree (PharmD) in the UK as run in the United States, Canada, France, Malta, Italy, India, etc, and enhancing the role of community pharmacists in public health[1],[2]

Although I agree with the GPhC that integrating the MPharm degree and pre-registration training year will help, this will not be enough to produce future pharmacists who are capable of delivering patient-centred care, have people skills and fit into the multidisciplinary team. There will also be a need to enhance and advance the clinical and public health content of the present MPharm curriculum, possibly with universities offering dual MPharm (or even PharmD) and Master of Public Health degrees. Pharmacy students will need to train with other healthcare students (e.g. medical and dental students) and pharmacists will need to work more closely with other healthcare practitioners.

There is also a need to tackle a number of barriers in the system, such as lack of professional autonomy for pharmacists, lack of input and support from public health and other healthcare practitioners, difficulty in communicating with public health providers, insufficient funding from the government, time pressure and workload, and lack of understanding by the public and other healthcare providers regarding the skillsets of pharmacists.

Chijioke O Agomo




[1] Agomo C. The role of community pharmacists in public health: a scoping review of the literature. Journal of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research 2012;3:25–33.

[2] Agomo C & Ogunleye J. An investigation of strategies enhancing the public health role of community pharmacists — a review of knowledge and information. Journal of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research 2014;5:135–145.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 18 July 2015, Vol 295, No 7871;295(7871):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20068915

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