Saudi university opens virtual pharmacy
A virtual pharmacy aimed at preparing students for the jobs market or to start their own businesses has been opened at a Saudi university.
The training program, that allows budding chemists to work remotely in a real practice, was inaugurated at Umm Al-Qura University by its vice president for educational affairs, Dr. Amer bin Awad Al-Zaidi.
Using the latest technology, the university’s college of pharmacy facility will be the first of its kind in the Makkah region, and has been established with the help of specialists from Al-Dawaa Medical Services Co. Ltd.
Al-Zaidi told Arab News: “We are keen to prepare pharmacy students as much as possible to obtain the necessary training in virtual pharmacy in order to qualify them for the labor market or even start their own businesses.”
He pointed out that it was often difficult for pharmacy students to get practical experience of the profession while studying for five years at university. But, he said, the virtual pharmacy allowed them to practice selling medicines, reading medical and laboratory prescriptions, and dealing with patients.
“We will launch the business accelerator for pharmacists next week. The idea is to help pharmacists open their own pharmacies as soon as they obtain the pharmacist title.
“We would provide all the basic elements through financial support, electronic and payment systems, imported drugs, and so on,” Al-Zaidi added.
He noted that the university was cooperating with several bodies such as Tamer Group, the largest pharmaceutical importer in the Kingdom, banks, and financial institutions.
Dr. Omaima Al-Hajj, dean of the pharmacy college, said the project had been designed to prepare students for the labor market, introduce them to community pharmacies, and show them how to identify, handle, and dispense different forms of medication.
Abdullah Aldhailan, external employment executive at Al-Dawaa Medical Services, said the virtual educational pharmacy simulated the practical reality of a community pharmacy, and would play a key role in contributing to the professional development of students.
Dr. Hammoud Al-Rijal, clinical simulation and skills unit coordinator, gave a presentation on the virtual pharmacy and explained its importance to the college’s future program plans.
Pharmacy supervisors, Dr. Riyad bin Saleh Al-Maliki and Dr. Amal bint Faraj Al-Otaibi, highlighted the benefits of virtual technologies in further education, and students demonstrated requesting medicine, and recording and extracting prescriptions.