In the BPS White Paper 2013 – Five-Year Vision for Pharmacy Specialties, the critical importance of international pharmacy practice to BPS is identified. This commitment by BPS to facilitate advances in international pharmacy practice is supported by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), who in 2011, jointly adopted revised guidelines for good pharmaceutical practice. The guidelines define good pharmacy practice as “the practice of pharmacy that responds to the needs of people who use the pharmacists’ services to provide optimal, evidence-based care. To support this practice, it is essential that there be an established national framework of quality standards and guidelines.”
As of December 2014, there were 1,686 BPS board certified pharmacists in 40 countries outside the United States. This represents a 50% increase in the past year and is now 8% of the total BPS board certified pharmacists worldwide (20,229). The country with the largest number of BPS certified pharmacists was Egypt (n=431), followed by Canada (n=252), Singapore (n=200), Saudi Arabia (n=185) and Spain (n=153). Pharmacotherapy is the most common BPS certification internationally with approximately 1,155 certificants (69% of the total), followed by oncology (n=296, 18%) and nutrition (n=106, 6%). Internationally, Egypt has the greatest number of BPS certified pharmacists in pharmacotherapy (n=399) and Spain has the greatest number of board certified oncology (n=99) and nutrition support (n=35) pharmacists.
The need for pharmacists to provide direct patient care is global and BPS is creating a taskforce in the Spring of 2015 to examine how BPS board certification can assist pharmacists outside the United States in meeting the needs of their patients.
Eligibility requirements for specialty certification by BPS includes a) graduation from a pharmacy program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) or a program outside the U.S. that qualifies the individual to practice pharmacy in the jurisdiction; b) current, active license to practice pharmacy in the U.S. or another jurisdiction; c) completion of three to four years of practice experience, post-pharmacist licensure, with at least 50% of time spent in the specialty practice area OR completion of an American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) accredited PGY1 or PGY2 residency (depending on the specialty area) program and d) achieving a passing score on the specialty certification examination. Please refer to the Spring 2015 Candidate’s Guide for the most current information at https://www.bpsweb.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/spring2015_CandidatesGuide.pdf.
BPS looks forward to working with pharmacists globally who wish to demonstrate their patient care knowledge and skills through board certification.
John A. Pieper, Pharm.D., FCCP, FAPhA
Chair, Board of Pharmacy Specialties
President, St. Louis College of Pharmacy