The Future of Community Pharmacy Practice in South Africa in the Light of the Proposed New Qualification for Pharmacists: Implications and Challenges

  •  Ntambwe Malangu    


Objectives: Community or retail pharmacies are regarded as one of the most common sources of health services throughout the world. In South Africa, community pharmacies have been providing some primary health care services to clients who could afford to pay. These services included screening, family planning, and emergency care for minor ailments. With the introduction of the new qualification, community pharmacies are poised to become providers of expanded services.  This paper describes the contents, the implications and challenges of the new qualification in light with future directions for community pharmacy practice in South Africa. Its purpose is to inform relevant stakeholders in South Africa and those outside South Africa that may pursue similar offerings.

Methods: Published papers were identified through searches in MEDLINE and Google Scholar using a combination of search terms, namely: ‘community, retail pharmacy, pharmacist/non-medical prescribing, South Africa’. Only articles published in English were considered. In addition, documents from the Ministry of Health of South Africa, the South African Pharmacy Council and curricula materials from schools of pharmacy were also reviewed.

Key Findings: Laureates of the new qualification will essentially have the right to examine, diagnose, prescribe and monitor the treatment of their clients or patients. In doing so, this expanded function of prescribing for primary healthcare will imply several practice and infrastructural adjustments; and with many challenges laying ahead in need to be addressed.

Conclusions: In conclusion, the authorized pharmacist prescriber qualification augurs a new era for community pharmacy practice in South Africa. This has many implications and some challenges that need to be managed. The pharmacy profession, academia, legislators and political decision-makers need to work together to resolve outstanding issues in a constructive manner.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.