The Development and Trends in Pharmacy Education Across ASEAN Countries

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Thomas Paraidathathu
Chanuttha Ploylearmsang
Phayom Sookaneknun Olson


Pharmacy education in ASEAN countries varies from country to country. The duration of a basic pharmacy degree ranges from four years for a Bachelor of Pharmacy (BS (Pharmacy)) degree to six years for a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D) degree. A national licensing examination is required in some countries for registration/licensing as a pharmacist. This review aimed to describe the development and trends in pharmacy education across ASEAN countries. The scope included the focus of pharmacy education in ASEAN countries; the influence of colonial powers or foreign alliances; varied models and duration; the growth of private education; trends in pharmacy education; the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic; and future directions. Changes in the pharmacy curriculum are a necessary step to meet the needs of society, and to prepare students with the necessary knowledge and skills to improve the provision of pharmaceutical care to the society that they serve. There appears to be an increasing focus in pharmacy education on patient-centered services such as clinical pharmacy/pharmaceutical care, and the introduction of new methods of delivery and assessment that places emphasis on the demonstration of skills rather than the knowledge of facts. The Covid-19 pandemic has necessitated the delivery of online pharmacy education which has opened the avenue for a borderless classroom and the ability to access educational resources and the expertise of educators from around the globe. However, differences in political systems, the extent of the development of infrastructure, the priorities of the healthcare system and the availability of trained pharmacy educators results in a wide disparity in pharmacy education in ASEAN countries. It does not appear that the harmonization of pharmacy education and, consequently, the movement of pharmacists across the borders of ASEAN countries, as envisaged under the concept of the ASEAN Economic Community, will be possible in the near future.


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