Pharmacy Practice and Education in Austria
- practice (community, hospital and industrial);
- education and training.
3. Evaluation and Assessment
3.1. Organisation of the Activities of Pharmacists, Professional Bodies
3.2. Pharmacy Faculties, Students, and Courses
3.3. Subject Areas
3.4. Impact of the Bologna Principles
3.5. Impact of European Union (EU) Directive 2013/55/EC
4. Discussion and Conclusions
Conflicts of Interest
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|Life expectancy at birth (years)||82|
|Healthy life expectancy at birth (years)||72|
|Total health expenditure as % of GDP||10.8|
|Community pharmacists||5822||31 December 2016|
|Community pharmacies||1352||31 December 2016|
6320 persons/pharmacy. 4.3 pharmacists per pharmacy
|Competences and roles of community pharmacists|
|Is ownership of a community pharmacy limited to pharmacists?||Yes||Only a pharmacist can own and manage a pharmacy. Partnerships are possible but the pharmacist must own at least 51%. Vertical integration is possible but restricted. No pharmacist is granted more than one license to manage a pharmacy. Multiple ownership of pharmacies, in the form of chains, is not allowed. A pharmacist may open a maximum of one branch pharmacy which operates under the supervision of the main pharmacy.|
|Rules governing the geographical distribution of pharmacies?||Yes||The establishment of a community pharmacy is regulated. Rules comprise geographic and demographic criteria. Establishment is also bound to a management permit, which means that the pharmacist must have at least five years of experience working in a pharmacy.|
|Are drugs and healthcare products available by other channels?||Partially||Around 890 doctors are allowed to dispense directly to their patients.|
Drugstores are allowed to sell a very restricted range of OTC medicines, e.g., herbal teas, remedies and cosmetics listed in the so-called “Abgrenzungsverordnung” (demarcation regulation).
The mail order or online selling of non-prescription medicines–but not prescription-only medicines—is allowed within Austria.
|Are persons other than pharmacists involved in community practice?||Yes|
|Their titles and number(s)||5657 (2016)||Pharmaceutical-commercial assistants|
0.97 assistants/pharmacist. 4.18 assistants/pharmacy.
|Organisation providing and validating the E&T||Community pharmacy and vocational college|
|Duration of studies (years)||3 years after compulsory school|
2 years for a high-school graduate
|Subject areas||Basic modules in chemistry and in physics, healthcare, hygienic, management, economics, bookkeeping, etc.|
|Competences and roles||Pharma-commercial assistants do not have the right to dispense medicines.|
The main responsibilities of pharma-commercial assistants are: administration of products and assistance with preparation of pharmacy-produced medicines.
|Number of hospital pharmacists||412||There are 412 hospital pharmacists working in 45 hospital pharmacies in Austria. Only 15% of all hospitals operate their own hospital pharmacy .|
|Competences and roles of hospital pharmacists||The competences and roles of hospital pharmacists are defined by the Law on how to operate a pharmacy, which is an ordinance of the Austrian Medicines Act :|
|Registration of pharmacists||Yes||The Austrian Chamber of Pharmacists is responsible for the professional representation of all pharmacists, self-employed and salaried, who work in community and hospital pharmacies. Membership is compulsory.|
The Austrian Chamber of Pharmacists is designated by law to support and promote the professional, economic and social interests of pharmacists, to protect their professional honour, and to ensure that members comply with their professional duties (disciplinary jurisdiction).
|Creation of community pharmacies and control of territorial distribution||Yes||The Regulation on the Operation of Pharmacies (Apothekenbetriebsordnung ABO ) states that pharmacies are to be checked by the local authority before they start operating and after that at least every five years. This control involves premises and equipment, as well as the products manufactured and stored in the pharmacy.|
|Ethical and other aspects of professional conduct||Yes||The Chamber of Pharmacists ensures the proper professional exercise and compliance with the ethical rules. Misconduct and breach of ethical rules may lead to disciplinary sanctions.|
|Involvement in HEI courses for pharmacists||Partial||The Chamber and its Regional Offices organise, finance and supervise the practical training of pharmacists. The Chamber of Pharmacists obliges pharmacists to undergo regular continuous professional development.|
|HEIs in Austria||3|
|Attached to a science faculty||Yes|
|Bachelor and master degrees?||Yes||Bachelor-Master system is implemented, with maintenance of the 4.5-year tunnel system until 2021.|
|Number of teaching staff (nationals)||58||Graz: 18|
|International teaching staff||Honorary professorships were awarded to non-Austrian citizens—one honorary professor is a Swiss citizen. Visiting professors from several states have had time-limited teaching obligations.|
|Entry requirements following secondary school|
|Specific pharmacy-related, national entrance examination||No||There are no national entrance examinations. However, there is a so called study entrance and orientation phase (first term), which students have to pass in order to continue their studies. Students have to pass three exams (16 ECTS) on the following:|
|Is there a national numerus clausus?||No|
|At which level?||Pharmacy students after examination of equivalency of their studies.|
Doctoral students from pharmacy and pharmacy related disciplines after examination of equivalency of their degree.
|Fees per year|
|Non EU students||380 €|
|Do HEIs provide specialized courses?||Partial||There are is one diploma graduate program and several doctorate graduate programs with specific profiles.|
Graz: Master Programme in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Engineering (https://pharmazie.uni-graz.at/en/study-teach/cpe-master-program/).
Vienna: A training course for qualified persons.
Innsbruck: master courses in natural sciences, agriculture, environment, etc. (https://www.mastersportal.eu/universities/4892/faculty-of-chemistry-and-pharmacy.html#StudyListing).
|In which years?||5th year on||Courses are postgraduate.|
|Have there been any major changes since 1999?||Yes||There is regular adaptation of the study programme organised at a national level, prepared mainly by the Curriculare Arbeitsgruppen in co-operation with the Austrian Pharmaceutical Society and with involvement of the Chamber of Pharmacists.|
|Are any major changes envisaged before 2019?||Yes||There will be regular adaptation of the study programme organised at a national level prepared mainly by the Curriculare Arbeitsgruppen in co-operation with the Austrian Pharmaceutical Society and with involvement of the Chamber of Pharmacists.|
The adaptation of pharmacy curricula according to the Bologna criteria was an issue of discussion in Austria and since 2015 the bachelor-master system was adapted by all (three) Austrian universities. The 4.5-year tunnel degree will remain in effect until 2021.
|Subject Area||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4||Year 4||Total|
|GENERIC||0||0||6||0||8 + 25 *||39|
|“Comparable degrees with diploma supplement”||Yes||The Austrian universities consider the “magister” as equivalent education to a Master Degree according to Bologna.|
|“Two main cycles (B and M) with entry and exit at B level”||No|
|“European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) system of credits”||Yes||Lectures are ECTS weighted.|
|“Addressing obstacles to mobility”||No obstacles.|
Traditional involvement in Erasmus programmes.
|“Evidence of formal qualifications as a pharmacist shall attest to training of at least five years’ duration…”||This is implemented.|
|“…four years of full-time theoretical and practical training at a university or at a higher institute of a level recognised as equivalent, or under the supervision of a university;”||This is implemented.|
|“…six-month traineeship in a pharmacy which is open to the public or in a hospital, under the supervision of that hospital’s pharmaceutical department.”||This is a 1-year period.|
The post-university training programme should rather be more structured than be shortened.
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Langer, T.; Spreitzer, H.; Ditfurth, T.; Stemer, G.; Atkinson, J. Pharmacy Practice and Education in Austria. Pharmacy 2018, 6, 55. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy6030055
Langer T, Spreitzer H, Ditfurth T, Stemer G, Atkinson J. Pharmacy Practice and Education in Austria. Pharmacy. 2018; 6(3):55. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy6030055Chicago/Turabian Style
Langer, Thierry, Helmut Spreitzer, Teresa Ditfurth, Gunar Stemer, and Jeffrey Atkinson. 2018. "Pharmacy Practice and Education in Austria" Pharmacy 6, no. 3: 55. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy6030055