List of approved overseas pharmacy schools to be more than halved

The number of overseas schools offering pharmacy qualifications that can be registered in Singapore will be more than halved next year.

It will be reduced from 135 to 61, the Health Ministry said yesterday, adding that the cut will take effect on Aug 1 next year. The reason for the move is that Singapore has been growing local healthcare training and building a strong local core to meet increasing demand, the ministry said.

The number of pharmacists here has gone up significantly, rising by 60 per cent from about 2,000 in 2011 to around 3,200 last year. The need to recruit overseas-trained pharmacists will thus stabilise in the coming years, the ministry added.

The overseas school courses to be removed from the list include those offered in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. Among them is a graduate programme from the University of Canberra as well as an undergraduate programme from James Cook University, both in Australia.

A total of 57 doctoral courses from US universities will be taken off the list, including those from Auburn University, University of South Carolina and North Dakota State University.

The change will not affect Singapore citizens, permanent residents and foreign students who have already secured a place or have enrolled and started their studies before Aug 1 next year at the soon-to-be-removed schools.

They will continue to be considered for conditional registration with the Singapore Pharmacy Council "if they fulfil the other prevailing requirements, such as being registered as a pharmacist in the country of study and currently holding a valid licence to practise in that country", the ministry said.


The council, a statutory board, proposed the changes after a review. The list falls under the Pharmacists Registration Regulations.

The review took into account factors such as the world and national rankings of the schools and the work performance of their registered pharmacists.

The move to trim the list follows a similar one for foreign medical schools. In April, the medical school list was cut from 160 to 103, as universities here offered more places for medicine. It was also a bid to maintain the quality of doctors here.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2019, with the headline 'List of approved overseas pharmacy schools to be more than halved'. Subscribe