The pharmacist profession
The main task of pharmacists is to provide patients and customers with prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs, thereby offering expert counselling. Furthermore, pharmacists are engaged in the development, production, testing and evaluation of drugs in the pharmacy, in research and in administration. In accordance with the statutory mandate in Germany, pharmacists are responsible for the safe, efficient and comprehensive provision of the population with medicines. As health professionals they work together with physicians and other health professionals for the benefit of the patients.
In the public pharmacies, the main focus is on providing pharmaceutical advice on prescription medicines and self-medication in order to ensure optimal drug therapy. Pharmaceutical care as well as counselling and offerings for prevention are becoming increasingly important.
Education and training
The education and training for the pharmacy profession is divided into three sections, each ending with a state examination:
- Basic studies (as a rule, four semesters of study at university)
- Main studies (as a rule, four semesters of study at university)
- Practical training (12 months).
More information about the content and process of the pharmacy degree program and the practical year as well as information for pharmacy students and interns can be found on the Link below:
Fields of activity
Today, as in the past, most pharmacists work as employees in public pharmacies. They can also head a branch pharmacy.
The activities mainly include advising customers and dispensing drugs. Other important aspects are quality assurance or drug safety. Not least, misunderstandings between the patient and pharmacy, patient and physician and physician and pharmacy must often be clarified. Also, the contact to health insurance companies must be mentioned here.
Other professional fields for licensed pharmacists are hospital pharmacies, pharmacies in the armed forces, institutions of public administration, health insurance companies and industry.
Especially in the pharmaceutical industry there are interesting vocational fields: e.g. research and development of new drugs, drug manufacturing, drug testing and/or approval of new drugs.
After completing a degree in pharmacy, the chances of finding employment are very good – despite various austerity measures of the Federal Government with regard to pharmacies. Many pharmacists work in public pharmacies; opportunities for part-time work are also available. Over the medium term, many licensed pharmacists seek to open their own pharmacies or to head a branch pharmacy.
All pharmacists – whether employed or self-employed – are mandatory members of their respective Chamber of Pharmacists. Such chambers (in the form of public corporations) represent the professional and political interests of pharmacists. They also provide information to pharmacists from other countries in Europe about the requirements for working as a pharmacist in Germany.
Recognition of foreign qualifications
Since April 1, 2012 anyone who has gained vocational qualifications in a foreign country and would like to work in Germany is legally entitled to have these qualifications evaluated with regard to their equivalence to German qualifications. Anyone who intends to become gainfully employed in Germany may submit an application, irrespective of the person’s nationality and residence status. From December 2012 on, the evaluation procedure shall as a rule not take longer than three months. In the case of a positive evaluation, the responsible authority issues a certificate of equivalence. Should there be differences between foreign and comparable German vocational qualifications, the responsible authority portrays these differences. For regulated professions such as the pharmacist profession, adaptation measures, if needed, are indicated to achieve equivalence. Click on the link below for more information:
Other working conditions regulated by labour law such as working hours, vacation days, termination, on-call emergency service, determination of salary, remuneration of overtime or Sunday working hours, etc. are laid down in the national Framework Agreement (and/or the Framework Agreement for North Rhine).
The ADEXA community for employed pharmacists
Members of ADEXA who are pharmacists automatically belong to our professional community (i. e. the “Fachgruppe ApothekerInnen”) that is committed both internally and externally to the specialist concerns of the profession.
These are the goals we seek to achieve:
- Continue to promote the positive image of pharmacies in the population.
- Strengthen pharmacists in their role as health professionals and contribute to their further development.
- Adapt university and practical training for pharmacists to current and future requirements.
- Provide high-quality education and training/advanced training offerings
- Present attractive careers in the pharmacy – particularly in view of the young generation of pharmacists.
- More strongly consider the economic concerns and interests of the employees when making professional policy decisions.
- Represent union positions through participation in the Chambers of Pharmacists and other professional associations.
- Support the interests of salaried pharmacists and our patients and customers in health policy.
- Improve the collaboration between pharmacists and physicians as well as other healthcare professionals.
Salary levels of pharmacists employed in public pharmacies are laid down in the collective bargaining agreement, which ADEXA – the pharmacists’ union (for the employees) negotiated with the German Pharmacy Employers Association (ADA) or the wage commission of heads of pharmacies (TGL) of the North Rhine region. The prerequisite for the payment of the salary rate according to the collective agreement is that both the employees are members in ADEXA and the employers are members of the respective wage commission. This is the case for more than 90 per cent of the heads of pharmacies!
The salary also depends on the number of years worked and the number of working hours per week. Click the link below for more information: