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A provocative point that came out as a damaging statement

Like Brian Furman (The Pharmaceutical Journal 2014;293:276), I was distraught that a senior person in our profession could make such an outdated and factually incorrect statement at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society conference (2014:293:234).

Bill Scott, Scotland’s chief pharmaceutical officer, well knows that for any pharmacist to advise a patient on the use of a medicine, they should understand the patient’s condition and the medicine to be taken for it. I believe this is science and is central to our profession. To even think that a knowledge of pharmacokinetics, drug metabolism, safety profiles and even impurities and the recognition and consequences of counterfeit medicines do not require substantial scientific knowledge, including chemistry, is depressing to say the least.

It is also a fact that, since its inception, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has sought to encourage schools of pharmacy to show students the place of science throughout the whole of their course, not as isolated strands but as key elements of understanding the content of the profession they aspire to. I am an assessor at the GPhC and see the benefits of the new approach on every accreditation visit.

Scott should look more closely at the huge changes already actioned in schools of pharmacy before he uses his positional authority to play down both the content and the delivery of modern pharmacy education. He and I have sat on panels at the British Pharmaceutical Conference in the past and I know he is well aware of the underpinning place for the sciences, so I imagine that he was making a provocative point (which he is known to do) for a particular purpose. It is a real pity that it has come out as a particularly damaging statement.

Bill Dawson


Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 20066633

Readers' comments (1)

  • Science is important for pharmacists but it must be the right kind ie. medical science, taking in prescribing and diagnostics so that pharmacists can really take over treatment of patients and help relieve drastic GP shortage.

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