A registered pharmacist in the Philippines must go through rigorous education and training before practicing pharmacy.
Here are the 3 steps to becoming a registered pharmacist in the Philippines:
Typically, pharmacy is a four-year course program in most colleges and universities. However, some, such as the University of the Philippines (UP), offer five-year pharmacy programs.
The BS Pharmacy program offered in UP Manila is centered around clinical and patient practice. In contrast, the BS Pharmaceutical Sciences program focuses on research and drug development, stemming from the now-obsolete BS Industrial Pharmacy course.
The University of Santo Tomas (UST) also offers an additional one-year Major in Clinical Pharmacy track to its seniors to continue their clinical training.
Moreover, Adamson University also has a Major in Clinical Pharmacy program available to graduates and non-graduates of their university.
Centro Escolar University in Makati offered the first Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program in the Philippines, which is a two-year doctorate that includes a year of theoretical courses and another year for a clinical clerkship conducted in various hospitals in Metro Manila.
The UST Faculty of Pharmacy also recently offered the post-graduate degree that was designed in consultation with the College of Pharmacy of the University of Illinois.
Upon graduation, pharmacy graduates are required to undergo 360 hours of major post-graduate pharmacy internship in any of the following fields: hospital, manufacturing/industry, research, or community. This requirement is set on top of the 600 total hours (200 hours each in hospital, manufacturing, and community pharmacy) of minor internships taken by undergraduate students.
2. Licensure Examination
As part of the healthcare team, registered pharmacists in the Philippines are regulated by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to ensure that pharmacists act according to the standards of practice in healthcare to provide the best quality of life to Filipinos. Pharmacy graduates are required by law (Republic Act 10918: Philippine Pharmacy Act) to undergo the Pharmacists Licensure Examination (PhLE) conducted by the PRC to become registered pharmacists and practice pharmacy in the Philippines.
To be able to take the PhLE, one must have a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy or its equivalent and have completed a total of 960 hours of significant and minor pharmacy internship. Other requirements to apply to take the board exams include a PSA birth certificate, certified true copy of the transcript of records, certificates of internship programs, certificate of good moral character, and an NBI clearance.
The PhLE consists of six modules – pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacognosy and biochemistry, the practice of pharmacy, pharmacology and pharmacokinetics, pharmaceutics, and quality assurance/quality control – that test the overall knowledge of a pharmacy graduate in all aspects of pharmacy. Each module is composed of 100 questions. Examinees must score an overall total of 75%, with no score lower than 50% in any of the modules, to pass.
3. Oathtaking and Registration for a Registered Pharmacist in the Philippines
Results of the PhLE are usually released within 3 to 5 business days after the last day of examinations. Successful passers are then asked to register with the PRC and undergo an oathtaking before they receive their PRC identification card and licensure certificate, which employers usually require before hiring a pharmacist.
Career Opportunities: Registered Pharmacist in the Philippines
A graduate of BS Pharmacy and a registered pharmacist in the Philippines may pursue a career path in an array of fields of pharmacy.
Most go to community pharmacies or manage their own pharmacies, practice in the hospital, train student pharmacists in the academe, or pursue higher education.
Furthermore, some even pursue more diverse careers in veterinary pharmacy, research, or medical writing.
There is no doubt that pharmacy is an established profession in the Philippines, allowing one to discover and pursue a variety of careers after years of pharmacy education and training.
Pharmacists are one of the most versatile health professions one can pursue to achieve a brighter future.