Why study pharmacy?Pharmacists play meaningful roles in the healthcare of people. They do this through emphasis on correct and rational use of medicines and related products.
Pharmacists remain in high demand in the public and private sectors. The corporate part is expanding and the demand for pharmacists continues. This applies to South Africa and other countries of the world.
What is the duration of the curriculum?The curriculum extends over four years. After obtaining the Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) degree, an internship of one year (in community, hospital or industry) or two years (academic) ensues. This is followed by a compulsory year of community service in the public hospital sector as a fully-fledged pharmacist.
Career opportunities with a BPharm degreeCommunity Pharmacy – Pharmacists play key roles in communities. They dispense medicines, counsel patients on correct and rational use of medication, healthcare products and cosmetics, provide advice on health matters, perform diagnostic screening procedures and refer to other health care workers when there are indications for that. Often pharmacists assume positions of leadership in communities they serve.
Hospital Pharmacy – Pharmacists in this setting dispense medicines and counsel patients. They may also be involved in small-scale manufacture of specialised medicines such as radio-active pharmaceuticals, total parenteral nutrition preparations and injectables. The management of drug supplies is an important facet in this setting.
Industrial Pharmacy – An industrial pharmacist is involved in the manufacture, quality control, packaging, storage, registration and marketing of all types of medicines whether in liquid, semisolid and solid forms including tablets, suppositories, injections and syrups. They usually assume supervisory or other leadership positions in this arena.
Academic Pharmacy – This is for pharmacists interested in pursuing careers in academia. This involves teaching and training of university students, pursuing research interests of the individual, the institution and the profession, publications of completed research projects in accredited journals and presentations at conferences of such work. All this for the development and progress of the knowledge base and in this way, contributing to the advancement of the pharmacy profession.
Other career options are:
- The detailing of medicines to prescribers and dispensers thereof on behalf of pharmaceutical companies by pharmaceutical representatives
- The assistance in drug clinical trials as clinical research associates
- Consultants to medical aids and other pharmaceutical institutions and businesses
Pharmacists may also be usefully employed in the fields of cosmetics, food and beverage companies in manufacturing and marketing.
- Sound communication and writing skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Critical thinking abilities
- Sound laboratory techniques
This requirement is supported by legislation and regulations promulgated as part of the national Department of Health. Foreign Workforce management is through arrangements by SADC and other bilateral agreements.