The country is facing a shortage of pharmacists as local industry experiences rapid growth, Medicines Authority Chairman Anthony Serracino Inglott said on Monday.

Prof Serracino Inglott told reporters that the industry was currently short by some 200 pharmacists and was only producing around 20 annually.

“Ideally we would have more pharmacists to keep up with the growing demand,” he said.

Prof Serracino Inglott said that as the industry’s landscape continued to evolve – introducing new job opportunities, the country would have to find ways to encourage more people to consider donning a white lab coat.

“Many might mistakenly believe that pharmacists are just those people behind a counter handing out pills. The truth is however, that the industry has changed drastically and while the traditional role of a pharmacist in a dispensary remains, we are also seeing a lot of new job opportunities,” he said.

The veteran pharmacist, who previously headed the University of Malta’s Pharmacy Department, was speaking following a symposium on the department’s latest research.

Consumer Protection Parliamentary Secretary Deo Debattista also addressed reporters, saying that the symposium had highlighted the evolving nature of the industry.

On suggestion came from medical specialists who called for pharmacists to work directly in hospital wards.

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