University of Malta officially inaugurates two Pharmacy courses

Ministers encourage students to pursue sciences to meet unfolding opportunities in the industry

Ministers Helena Dalli and Evarist Bartolo at the official inauguration of two University courses offering further specialisation in the Pharmaceutical industry
Ministers Helena Dalli and Evarist Bartolo at the official inauguration of two University courses offering further specialisation in the Pharmaceutical industry

The University of Malta has officially inaugurated two courses in the department of Pharmacy, to meet the needs of the local, growing pharmaceutical industry and the opportunities it is presenting.

The courses, Bachelor of Sciences in Pharmaceutical Technology and the Post-graduate Doctorate in Pharmacy, aim to offer further specialisation to meet the demands of new companies expanding in the sector.

Speaking at the press conference Medicines Authority Chairman Prof. Anthony Serracino Inglott explained that as the authority had grown, so had the need for more specialisation, for more sophisticated drug assessment methods and international collaboration.

“The degrees in question put the public and the patients at the centre of research and of the whole experience,” he added.

Head of the pharmacy department Prof. Lilian Azzopardi explained that the three year BSc course currently had 30 students over the range of the years. She said that the course was innovative in its combination of theoretical research and internship opportunities, offering students a chance to truly understand the opportunities available to them.

“The success of the course will be measured in the job offers accepted by our graduates and their performance in their new roles,” Dalli said, adding that there were around ten job offers for every graduate of the programme at the moment.

She added that the doctorate on the other hand, offered further research and skills, with around 35 students from different countries, at various points of their three year programme. She went on to explain that the courses were in their fifth and second years respectively.

Serracino Inglott said that the authority would continue to support the courses alongside other private companies such as Actavis and Aurobindo, to offer internships to students of the course. He added that the University was also in the process of securing stipends for students in the BSc course to further encourage more students into the course.

Civil liberties minister Helena Dalli said that the Medicines Authority had offered one of the most exciting and rewarding challenges and that the pharmaceutical industry depended largely on the development of human capital.

“The authority has also secured sixteen meetings about medications and drug assessment technologies during Malta’s upcoming presidency of the council of the EU in 2017,” she said, stressing the need to prepare the local workforce for the imminent developments in the sector, including expansions of companies like Aurobindo among others.

‘We need to contaminate education with reality’ – Evarist Bartolo

Education minister Evarist Bartolo on the other hand spoke about the importance of encouraging students to pursue sciences from a young age in order to meet these needs and to show them the potential and varied opportunities in the sector.

“Last year the University of Malta participated in a number of visits to secondary schools to show the bright future a career in the sciences can yield,” he said, adding that as a result there had been an unprecedented number of students choosing sciences for the upcoming scholastic year.

“There are around 550 and 300 students opting for Biology and Chemistry respectively,” he said, adding that very often the only thing necessary was to explain what the opportunities were to students, teachers and parents themselves.

“We need to contaminate education with reality in the interest of skills development” he said, stressing the need for a better understanding of the needs of the local and international industries.

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