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Pharmacy education in Europe

Lilian M Azzopardi BPharm (Hons) MPhil PhD
9 August, 2017  
The European Association of Faculties of Pharmacy (EAFP) was founded in 1992 when a group of academics from different European countries met in Paris to establish the Association with the aim of supporting networking in pharmacy education within a European dimension. EAFP provides a platform for its members to participate in planning future developments and in addressing the challenges in pharmacy education.   According to a report undertaken by EAFP, in 1994, 25–46% of curriculum content was dedicated to pharmaceutical chemistry and analysis.1 The exercise was repeated in 2006 where medical sciences, which include pharmacology, pharmacotherapy and clinical pharmacy, constituted 28% of the curriculum content, followed by pharmaceutical chemistry and analysis at 24%.2 This shift is a reflection of the response by pharmacy educators in Europe to the needs for a pharmacist graduate to have skills and competences to practise as a co-ordinator of medicines use in patient care. EAFP is responding to the need to develop these competences during pharmacy studies by supporting member organisations to elaborate and update courses in clinical pharmacy and pharmacy practice.    In September 2017, EAFP is teaming up with the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) and organising a course on Curriculum Design and Updating for Clinical Pharmacy Teaching. The workshop is being held on 19–20 September in Malta. The course is aimed at faculty members, preceptors, teacher practitioners and pharmacists who are involved in the development and elaboration of courses related to clinical pharmacy teaching at undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate level. The course aims to provide participants with an insight into aspects of curriculum design, methods of teaching and assessment, and incorporation of hands-on experience in the teaching using a team-based approach. Teams will create a plan of action for enhancing these areas and initiating change at their home institution. The course is also intended to stimulate the development of a network of clinical pharmacy educators.   In collaboration with partner organisations, EAFP is in discussion with the EU Commission with regards to modifications in the EU Directive on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications to reflect the inclusion of pharmaceutical care, pharmacy practice and biopharmaceutical technology in pharmacy courses. EAFP has embarked on a project of developing a virtual European Expertise Centre for Pharmacy Education and Training (www.eec-pet.eu) which is intended to serve as a dynamic site where pharmacy educators can share experiences.   EAFP collaborated with the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) at the global conference on pharmacy education held in Nanjing in November 2016. EAFP was actively involved in representing the European dimension in the shaping of the future direction of pharmacy education. Key aspects considered within the Nanjing statements that were supported by EAFP include: 1) the emphasis on achieving a professional skills mix within the curriculum through the inclusion of basic pharmaceutical sciences, biomedical sciences, pharmacotherapy and pharmaceutical regulatory sciences; and 2), the consideration of experiential education in a variety of real-life settings including hospital, community and non-traditional settings such as industrial, pharmacy administration and regulatory authorities.   The challenge in pharmacy education is the need to prepare relevant pharmacists for pharmaceutical industry, pharmaceutical regulatory affairs, pharmacovigilance, and clinical pharmacy practice. These needs are being driven by the developments in medicinal products including use of biotech products, more complex disease scenarios including a number of rare diseases and the use of orphan drugs, and the changes in the requirements of patients and in the setups in healthcare systems. EAFP provides a platform to brainstorm together, develop a roadmap that allows for consideration of national needs and share experiences.   References 1 European Association of Faculties of Pharmacy. Evaluation and comparison of education training in European Faculties of Pharmacy;1994. 2 Atkinson J, Rombaut B. The 2011 PHARMINE report on pharmacy and pharmacy education in the European Union. Pharmacy Practice (Internet) 2011;9(4):169–87.