Canadian pharmacists can take the NAPLEX in New Hampshire without going through the foreign pharmacy graduate examination certification process.
Canadian pharmacy school graduates seeking to practice in New Hampshire will soon be able to go directly to the national licensure exam without a lengthy detour through the foreign pharmacy graduate certification process.
Facing a growing shortage of pharmacists in the isolated northern reaches of the state, the New Hampshire pharmacy board will begin writing rules to formalize legislation allowing graduates of accredited Canadian pharmacy schools to take the North American Pharmacy Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) without going through the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination Committee certification process. The board hopes to have the rule implemented by late January, said executive secretary Paul Boisseau.
Graduates of accredited Canadian schools of pharmacy consistently do well on the NAPLEX, Boisseau said. The latest data show that 100% of those candidates passed the exam last time it was administered. "The board is fairly comfortable that the Canadian graduates' practice competency is equivalent to that of U.S. graduates," he said. "The board felt it should allow those graduates to go directly to NAPLEX. Given the pharmacist shortage, especially up country, it's getting more and more difficult."
New Hampshire's move has put the issue of Canadian graduates on the table, said Carmen Catizone, executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, which oversees the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Examination process. Foreign pharmacists seeking U.S. licensure must pass the Test of Spoken English and the Test of English as a Foreign Language among other requirements.
"When you look at certain outcomes measures, graduates of accredited Canadian programs do well on those measures," Catizone told Drug Topics. "It's up to the colleges of pharmacy, the accreditation agency, and the boards of pharmacy to make some decisions, and I'm not sure which way it'll all go."
Boisseau doesn't expect a flood of Canadian pharmacists clamoring to become licensed in New Hampshire. In the past couple of months, he's fielded six phone calls from Canadian pharmacists inquiring about licensure. However, he figured that just one was serious about making a move across the border.
A potential problem for New Hampshire is reciprocity with other state pharmacy boards, Boisseau said. It's not clear if other jurisdictions will recognize the U.S. licenses of Canadian pharmacists who haven't gone through the usual routine for foreign graduates. "We don't want to jeopardize reciprocity," he added. "Several questions need to be resolved, but we think it's time to start a process that needs to be recognized."
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