Sun | Sep 24, 2017

'Tardiness' of Pharmacy Council Leave Graduates Jobless

Published:Tuesday | January 19, 2016 | 1:00 AM

Several of the more than 50 pharmacy graduates who recently received licences to begin practicing as pharmacists are displeased with what they say is the tardiness of the Pharmacy Council of Jamaica (PCJ), which caused them to forgo jobs during the four-month period in which they were made to wait before being licensed.

The graduates contend that in previous years, it took a maximum two months to issues licences and that they were made to wait four months, spanning from September 2015 to January 2016, during which time they were unable to practise.

Turned down job offers

One graduate who asked to remain anonymous told The Gleaner that he received several job offers which he had to turn down because he had not yet received his licence from the council.

"I got many job offers. I got three full-time job offers, not to mention a plethora of freelancing positions, which I could have taken advantage of, but I could not accept any of these, solely because I was not licensed as a pharmacist," the graduate said.

The graduates wrote to the PCJ on at least three occasions to make enquiries about the delay of their licences, but received no response. A meeting with the Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica to lobby on behalf of the students also proved futile, they said.

"It was really difficult for me, for those four months, and at one point I was very depressed and thinking about switching from pharmacy. And I know that there are classmates that have had even more difficult challenges than I did, because these persons have bills to pay, children to take care of, they are the sole breadwinners for their families and student loan knocking at their backs. We are grown folks, we have our lives to live, we have bills to pay and it's just really disturbing the tardiness and unprofessionalism of the Pharmacy Council," another graduate told The Gleaner.

Persons seeking to be licensed as pharmacists in Jamaica must go through a yearlong internship, submit a portfolio and sit a final, written assessment set by the council after completing a programme of study.

The registration process for interns seeking to be licensed as pharmacists has been the subject of a legal battle which was concluded in June of last year.

Dr Radcliffe Goulbourne, registrar of the Pharmacy Council, explained to The Gleaner that the court action resulted in a change in the licensure process of pharmacy interns. This, he said, has lengthened the processing time for the issuance of licences.

andre.poyser@gleanerjm.com