Health and Pharmaceutical Sector in Malaysia

Title: Multiskilled Pharmacists
Date: 11-Nov-2005

(8 November 2005 - The Sun)

The pharmaceutical industry is changing with the times, influenced by economic pressures and rapid technological advancements. As pharmaceutical companies consolidate to offer different drugs and solutions, this has also brought about change in the skills required of pharmacists.

Recent studies have highlighted a growing gap between the graduate output from universities and industry requirements. Owing to the way in which the industry is beginning to operate, a multidisciplinary approach to training is needed, especially in emerging areas such as biotechnology and bioinformatics.

The University of Sunderland offers a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate pharmacology programmes, taught by first-rate educators and which directly address the needs of the industry, healthcare and the environment.

The early stage of the four-year MPharm programme covers the basic sciences, with more emphasis on patients and their reaction to medication as the course progresses. Students learn to manage patients with a wide range of diseases, from treatment to understanding the problems patients may face during treatment.

Students are exposed to a wide range of scientific and sociological disciplines, including the sources and development of medicines, therapeutics, management of patient medication, and legal aspects of supplying medicines.

Following registration with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, pharmacists may practise in many areas of health-care provision such as industrial development, hospital care and community pharmacy.

Today, pharmacists are also actively involved in the management of a patient's pharmaceutical care. Some take on the responsibility of supplementary prescribing, in which they manage a patient's complete medication needs for a year. Pharmacists can be employed as prescribing advisors and run clinics for patients on anticoagulant therapy, or who have diabetes. Pharmacists can also go on to become pharmacy attorneys.

Statistics of the pharmaceutical industry have indicated a looming crisis in recruiting skilled pharmacists as fewer young people are choosing a career in science. Pharmacists, especially, are in short supply and companies are already offering attractive recruitment packages to address the problem.

In helping graduates gain employment immediately upon graduation, Sunderland incorporates an apprenticeship industrial placement programme with acclaimed organisations like Bayer and Pfizer, as part of the course structure of selected degree programmes.

Pharmacy, today, offers rewarding careers. Rather than only working in the pharmaceutical industry, many pharmacologists will instead work in boutique drug discovery and delivery companies, contract research organisations and virtual companies.

The University of Sunderland is the UK's second oldest. It was ranked among the "Top Three New Universities in Providing Top Teaching Quality" by The Times Higher in May, on par with the University of Manchester, University of Lancaster, and Durham University.

For information, call the university's Southeast Asia regional office in Subang Jaya at 03-5635 8002 or the Penang office at 04-228 2802 or email

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