Approved list of overseas pharmacy schools halved from 135 to 61 schools

SINGAPORE – The number of approved overseas schools offering pharmacy qualifications that can be registered in Singapore will be halved from 135 schools to 61, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (July 18).

This will take effect from Aug 1, 2020.

The move will mean that students hoping to practise pharmacy here after studying overseas will have fewer schools to pick from.

The change will not affect Singapore citizens, permanent residents and foreign students who have already secured a place as a candidate, or who have enrolled and are studying before Aug 1, 2020, in an overseas school offering a qualification no longer on the list of approved schools.

“(The students) will continue to be considered for conditional registration with 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,” MOH said.

The changes to the approved list of schools were proposed by the council after a periodic review. The list falls under the Pharmacists Registration Regulations.

MOH said the list is periodically reviewed to “meet Singaporeans’ changing healthcare needs and continually enhance professional standards”.

The Singapore Pharmacy Council’s review of the list of registrable pharmacy qualifications considered factors including the international and national rankings of the overseas schools and the work performance of registered pharmacists from these schools.

MOH said it has been growing local healthcare training pipelines and building a strong local core to meet growing healthcare needs.

The number of pharmacists in Singapore has grown significantly by about 60 per cent from around 2,000 in 2011 to about 3,200 in 2018.

“As such, the need to recruit overseas-trained pharmacists will moderate and stabilise in the coming years,” MOH said.

The move to trim the list of approved overseas schools comes after a similar one for foreign medical schools.

In April, the approved list of overseas medical schools whose graduates can practise medicine here was cut from 160 to 103, with local universities expanding places for medicine. It was also a bid to maintain the quality of doctors here.

For more information on the revised list of 61 approved overseas schools with pharmacy qualifications that can be registered here, visit the Singapore Pharmacy Council’s website at

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