Students Learn About Pharmacy Practice in Portugal

portugalThis spring eight students spent 12 days in Portugal as part of an elective course to identify best practices both there and in the U.S. to improve pharmacy practice and patient care.

The group visited community and hospital pharmacies, and met with the agency that helped develop Portugal’s drug policies, including decriminalizing the use of all drugs in 2001.

“One of the most interesting meetings for me was learning how drug crimes are now dealt with through the ministry of health instead of the justice department,” said second year student Rowan Mahon. “I like the idea of helping people with drug abuse issues, instead of automatically punishing someone and having them put within the criminal justice system. It seemed to be that a country that progressive on drug charges and public health would be very interested in utilizing pharmacists to the best of their abilities.”

Students also learned that pharmacists in Portugal graduate with a master’s degree instead of a doctorate degree. portugal

“While they did have a lot of autonomy – and, in general, their community pharmacy practices were more progressive than those in the United States - I wondered if having a doctorate would help push the profession even further,” said Mahon. She added, “This trip helped me gain an even stronger appreciation of legislation, and the power of having a functioning healthcare and legislative system that puts individuals’ health and wellbeing first, instead of placing judgement.” In addition to Mahon, other students who participated in the elective were Malia Hain, Anna Lundberg, Kevin Reininger, Becky Rosdahl, Maggie Sundstrom, Andreea Temelie and Teagen Warrick. Jason Varin served as course coordinator.