Systems for Quality Assurance in Pharmacy Education and Training in the European Union
1.1. EU Directive on Sectoral Professions
- Course subjects (Annex V.6, 5.61)
- Plant and animal biology
- General and inorganic chemistry
- Organic chemistry
- Analytical chemistry
- Pharmaceutical chemistry, including analysis of medicinal products
- and applied biochemistry (medical)
- General and physiology; medical terminology
- Pharmacology and pharmacotherapy
- Pharmaceutical technology
- Legislation and, where appropriate, professional ethics.
- Knowledge and skills (Article 44.3 of the directive)
- Adequate knowledge of medicines and the substances used in the manufacture of medicines;
- Adequate knowledge of pharmaceutical technology and the physical, chemical, biological and microbiological testing of medicinal products;
- Adequate knowledge of the metabolism and the effects of medicinal products and of the action of toxic substances, and of the use of medicinal products;
- Adequate knowledge to evaluate scientific data concerning medicines in order to be able to supply appropriate information on the basis of this knowledge;
- Adequate knowledge of the legal and other requirements associated with the pursuit of pharmacy.
1.2. The European Higher Education Area
1.3. The Diversity of Jobs for Graduates with a Degree in Pharmacy
1.4. The Evolution in Healthcare
- Monitoring of medicinal treatments
- Provision of information and advice on health-related issues in cooperation with medical practitioners
- Reporting of adverse reactions of pharmaceutical products
- Personalized support for patients who administer their own medication
- Contribution to institutional public health campaigns
1.5. The Evolution in the Pharmaceutical Industry
3. Results and Discussion
3.1. Existing Quality Assurance Systems in Pharmacy Education and Training in 10 Countries of the European Union I agree
|Country||Quality assurance system|
|Belgium||Basis: The auditors check that the university has the resources, structure and management required to ensure that students can acquire adequate competences (generic and pharmaceutical).|
Organization: Flanders has a cross-border agency that deals with Flanders and The Netherlands . In Wallonia the regional “Agence pour l'Evaluation de la Qualité de l'Enseignement Supérieur”  handles quality assurance and accreditation, albeit the criteria are the same. There is an audit every seven years (shortly to be changed to five years).
|Spain||Basis: Evaluation is essentially based on material and human resources together with other elements such as output, results, and an element of appraisal of competences using the European Qualifications Framework. The main reference level descriptors are: skills, competences and knowledge .|
Organization: Verification and accreditation are done by the national agency (“The National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation of Spain” ); in some autonomous regions this task is delegated to a regional agency. To achieve the accreditation and to renew it (every 6 years), evaluation reports have to be presented according to the specific quality assurance system.
|Greece||Basis: The major criteria for assessing quality fall into four categories: curriculum, teaching, research and other services.|
Organization: The “Hellenic Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (HQAA)”  is responsible.
|Estonia||Basis: Evaluation is based mainly on resources. All activities described are evaluated in terms of finances available and the competences of teaching staff.|
Organization: The study program in pharmacy is designed, developed and evaluated by the university of Tartu program council. The latter consists of the representatives of professional organizations, staff members from other departments and students. The program manager—currently the head of the pharmacy department—is appointed by the university senate. The program manager and council perform an internal evaluation every 3 years. The tools for self-evaluation are developed by the “Estonian Higher Education Quality Agency”  and adapted by the university. In addition student organizations undertake an annual official evaluation of the quality of teaching and the competences of the teaching staff.
|Finland||Basis: The system is based on management and competences. Competences are not “pharmacy-specific”.|
Organization: The evaluation system is based on national criteria and executed following the advice and under the supervision of the “Finnish Higher Education Evaluation System (FINHEEC)” . The same principles are applied to all disciplines. Universities develop their own individual systems which are based on FINHEEC standards. Quality assurance systems are audited every 6 years by external examiners nominated by FINHEEC.
|Slovenia||Basis: This is essentially on resources. The M. Pharm. program is designed on program structure and partially on needed competences.|
Organization: The system is national: accreditations of the university and of the program are done by the “Slovenian Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education” . The system is the same for all programs. Student evaluation is mandatory. Accreditation occurs every 7 years and is based on (a) fulfillment of initial criteria; (b) annual reports for courses; (c) achievement of students’ competences; and (d) students’ surveys of programs, teacher-student interaction, and courses.
|Poland||Basis: The quality criteria are: (1) mission, planning and evaluation; (2) organization and administration; (3) curriculum; (4) student and academic policies; (5) staff resources; and (6) facilities and resources—buildings, scientific equipment, financial resources. Generic competencies for all medical specializations are established as well as specific competences for pharmacy.|
Organization: The accreditation system is national ; the same criteria are used for all universities. Each university has to prepare an accreditation report, which is assessed by an expert panel with independent scientists and experienced academic teachers.
|Romania||Basis: The evaluation system is based on resources, structures, finances and management. It is not based on competences. The main areas are: institutional capacity, and educational effectiveness. Within the latter, quality assurance strategies and procedures are evaluated.|
Organization: Verification and accreditation are done by the “National Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education” .
|France||Basis. The system is based essentially on resources and management.|
Organization: Quality assurance and accreditation are carried out every five years by the independent “French Evaluation Agency for Research and Higher Education—AERES” . The AERES board is made up of 25 French, European or international members appointed by decree. The curriculum is set by the French Ministry of Education and the organization of courses and examinations is validated by the university council taking into account the proposals of the faculty council. Internal quality assurance systems are run by certain universities.
|UK||Basis: There are 10 standards, some concerned with the process and two with the curriculum and the outcomes. Standard 10 is a series of grouped educational outcomes. They are expressed as outcomes rather than competences.|
Organization: In the UK the “Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education” [17,18] sets standards for universities. Pharmacy is regulated by the “General Pharmaceutical Council” [19,20], an organization set up by statute and with statutory powers but which is independent of government. The Council sets standards for pharmacy and pharmacy technician education and has powers both for pre-registration education and post-registration (the latter currently only used for independent pharmacy prescribers). The council organizes an accreditation of schools of pharmacy. The council sets the 10 standards for the education of pharmacists that cover the university course and the associated one year pre-registration program.
|National quality assurance system.||PHAR-QA system.|
|Based mainly on resources and management||Based on competences|
|Adapted to national economics and politics in matters such as healthcare and pharmaceutical industry||Adapted to European economics and politics in matters such as healthcare and pharmaceutical industry|
|Reviews and applies to a higher educational institution to which a pharmacy department belongs.||Reviews and applies to a pharmacy department|
|Periodic: 3–7 year period depending on country||On demand|
|Applies essentially to public institutions||Applies to all institutions both public and private|
3.2. Towards a Pan-European System for Quality Assurance in Pharmacy Education and Training Based on Competences I agree
Conflicts of Interest
- Towards Shared Descriptors for Bachelors and Masters. Available online: http://www.ehea.info/article-details.aspx?ArticleId=110 (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- Vergnaud, B. Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council Amending Directive 2005/36/EC on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications and Regulation on Administrative Cooperation through the Internal Market Information System. Available online: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2009_2014/documents/imco/dv/vergnaud_profqual_finalreport_/vergnaud_profqual_finalreport_en.pdf (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- Directive 2005/36/ec of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications. Available online: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2005:255:0022:0142:en:PDF (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- The European Higher Education Area. Available online: http://www.ehea.info/ (accessed on 2 Decembe 2013).
- Education, Audio-visual and Culture Executive Agency. Available online: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/index_en.php (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- The Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands and Flanders. Available online: http://www.nvao.net/ (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- Agence pour l’Evaluation de la Qualité de l’Enseignement Supérieur. Available online: http://www.aeqes.be/ (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- European Qualifications Framework. Available online: http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/eqf_en.htm (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- The National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation of Spain. Available online: http://www.aneca.es/eng (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- Hellenic Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (HQAA). Available online: http://www.hqaa.gr/ (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- Estonian Higher Education Quality Agency. Available online: http://www.ekka.archimedes.ee/ (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- Finnish Higher Education Evaluation System. Available online: http://www.finheec.fi/ (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- Slovenian Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Available online: http://www.nakvis.si/indexang.html (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- Polish Accreditation Committee. Available online: http://www.pka.edu.pl/www_en/ (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education. Available online: http://www.aracis.ro (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- French Evaluation Agency for Research and Higher Education (AERES). Available online: http://www.aeres-evaluation.fr/ (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Available online: http://www.qaa.ac.uk/ (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- Scotland has an independent quality agency. Available online: http://www.qaa.ac.uk/Scotland/ (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- The General Pharmaceutical Council Operates the Pharmacy Quality Assurance System and This Is a GB Regulator—England, Scotland and Wales. Available online: http:www.pharmacyregulation.org (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- Northern Ireland has a separate pharmacy regulator—the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland. This also operates a pharmacy degree Quality Assurance System using the same methodology as the General Pharmaceutical Council. Available online: http://www.psni.org.uk/ (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- Competency Development and Evaluation Group (CoDEG). Available online: http://www.codeg.org/ (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- Pharmacy Education and Training in Europe: PHARMINE. 142078-LLP-1-2008-BE-ERASMUS-ECDSP. Available online: http://www.pharmine.org/ (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- PHAR-QA “Quality Assurance in European Pharmacy Education and Training”. 527194-LLP-1-2012-1-BE-ERASMUS-EMCR. Available online: http://www.pharmine.org/PHAR-QA/ (accessed on 2 December 2013).
- The “Medical Education in Europe—MEDINE” Group Developed Competences for Medical Doctors in a Fashion Similar to That of PHAR-QA. Available online: http://medine2.com/ (accessed on 2 December 2013).
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Atkinson, J.; Rombaut, B.; Pozo, A.S.; Rekkas, D.; Veski, P.; Hirvonen, J.; Bozic, B.; Skowron, A.; Mircioiu, C.; Marcincal, A.; et al. Systems for Quality Assurance in Pharmacy Education and Training in the European Union. Pharmacy 2014, 2, 17-26. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy2010017
Atkinson J, Rombaut B, Pozo AS, Rekkas D, Veski P, Hirvonen J, Bozic B, Skowron A, Mircioiu C, Marcincal A, et al. Systems for Quality Assurance in Pharmacy Education and Training in the European Union. Pharmacy. 2014; 2(1):17-26. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy2010017Chicago/Turabian Style
Atkinson, Jeffrey, Bart Rombaut, Antonio Sánchez Pozo, Dimitrios Rekkas, Peep Veski, Jouni Hirvonen, Borut Bozic, Agnieska Skowron, Constantin Mircioiu, Annie Marcincal, and et al. 2014. "Systems for Quality Assurance in Pharmacy Education and Training in the European Union" Pharmacy 2, no. 1: 17-26. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy2010017