The pharmaceutical biotechnology content of pharmacy programs within Europe: A survey

Walsh, G. and Muller, R. (2007) The pharmaceutical biotechnology content of pharmacy programs within Europe: A survey. Pharmacy Education, 7 (1). pp. 27-33. ISSN 15602214 (ISSN)


Genetic engineering and allied technologies have underpinned the development of a range of pharmaceutical products of modern biotechnology, collectively termed biopharmaceuticals. Twenty-five percent of all new drugs now approved are biopharmaceuticals and some 140 such products have gained marketing approval. Given the increasing prominence of this class of therapeutic product, it is of interest to survey the pharmaceutical biotechnology content of pharmacy curricula. Commissioned by the European association of pharm biotechnology (EAPB) this 13-question survey focused upon the lecture complement of biochemistry, microbiology and molecular biology, as well as the content of core pharmaceutical biotechnology taught within European undergraduate degree programs. Forty replies were obtained from different pharmacy departments across 15 European countries. The mean numbers of lecture hours delivered in biochemistry, microbiology and molecular biology were 61.8 ± 32.2, 52.4 ± 27.7 and 34 ± 16.4, respectively. For each subject, the number of lectures differed significantly between different institutions, reflected in the large standard deviation observed. Thirty-three of the 40 survey respondents (82.5%) include core or elective courses in pharmaceutical biotechnology. The mean number of lecture hours delivered was 29.9 ± 18.6 h and the courses are mainly taught in third or fourth year. Very significant variation in pharmaceutical biotechnology course content was also observed. Given the now central importance of biotechnology within the pharmaceutical sector, it is perhaps timely to consider these issues in greater detail.

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