Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Pharmacy Education and Practice in 13 Middle Eastern Countries

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Pharmacy Education and Practice in 13 Middle Eastern Countries

Article excerpt


For hundreds of years, the Arabic world has had a profound influence on the science and art of pharmacy. (1,2) Pharmacy's independence from medicine can be traced to the opening of the private apothecary in Baghdad circa AD 750. (1) While charlatans, spice and perfume sellers, and drug dealers were common in the 8th century, pharmacy was already beginning to emerge as a respected profession. Mercurial ointments, mortars and pestles, flasks and spatulas, as well as evidence-based pharmacotherapeutics have their roots in Arabic pharmacy. Abu Bakr Mohammad IbnZakariya al-Razi (864-930AD) was perhaps one of the first to challenge the medical dogma and quackery of the day, and was a prolific writer of books on medicinal remedies for both professional and lay public audiences.' Overall, these early developments have had a significant impact on the subsequent maturation of pharmacy in Europe, and ultimately, the rest of the world.

Pharmacy education and pharmacy practice in Arabic-speaking traditional Middle Eastern countries continues to evolve. However, while there have been re cent publications in the English language pharmacy literature describing the current status of a few countries in this region, we were unable to identify any published reports that provided an overall and comparative summary of the general conditions of pharmacy education and practice. Accordingly, our goal was to undertake such a review and provide a high level synopsis of relevant conditions in this region.


We selected 13 countries in the Arabic-speaking traditional Middle East region for this review: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Yemen. Of these countries, 7 (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Yemen) formed the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in 1981. These countries are in close proximity to each other and share similar cultural and societal characteristics.

Information was first obtained by reviewing the available published literature. Using PubMed and Google and terms including pharmacy, education, school, college, Middle East, public, private, pharmacy practice, and each country name, relevant publications were located and retrieved. The authors also accessed university and program web sites. Finally, the authors contacted program or country representatives for access to unpublished supporting documentation and to solicit responses to a list of standard questions regarding program details. Attempts were made to validate information by obtaining data from multiple sources. The 6 authors corresponded regularly and met as a group on a weekly basis to collectively review the resulting database to ensure similarity of approach across countries and clarify issues of interpretation. Several of the authors also have direct education and/or practice experience in many of the countries reviewed.

For the purposes of this paper, a pharmacy school was defined as any pharmacy faculty, college, school, or program that offered one or more types of university degrees in pharmacy or the pharmaceutical sciences. While there are diploma programs in some Middle East countries, we restricted this review to pharmacy degree programs only. To be considered for inclusion, a school was required to have students enrolled in at least one of the professional years of their pharmacy degree program. The first professional degree to practice was defined as the degree offered by a pharmacy school that was designed to meet national entry to practice requirements for pharmacists. Pharmacy schools were defined as public when the associated university was primarily publicly funded (ie, a national institution) and was not under private or independent administrative control. Private schools were those not meeting this definition. Experiential training was defined as practical training in the field (eg, community or hospital pharmacies) for the purpose of meeting the degree (vs. …

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