Of 12 pharmacy schools in Thailand, 11 (92%) agreed to participate in the study, including 9 public and 2 private schools (Table ). Two schools (U4 and U10) were undergoing curricula revision during the data collection for this study. Of the 11 participating schools, 9 schools had bachelor of science in pharmacy (BS Pharm) degree programs. The 2 exceptions were U10 and U11, which offered only the doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree. PharmD programs were offered in 5 public schools, including U3, U5, U7, U10 and U11. However, the PharmD programs in the first 3 schools listed had not fully implemented their PharmD curricula until after the data were collected for the present study. These 3 schools (U3, U5, and U7) began implementation of their PharmD programs in 2002, 2004, and 2004, respectively. Therefore, the data for the BS programs from these 3 schools were included, but their PharmD programs were not included in the current study. The 2 PharmD programs offered by U10 and U11 were included in the present study.
Demographic Data of Thai Pharmacy Schools
After reviewing the curricula documents, the prepharmacy courses (biochemistry, physiology, anatomy, microbiology, parasitology, and immunology), the professional elective, professional practice, and noncompetency-related courses were excluded from this analysis because they either did not directly apply to the Thai pharmacy competencies or they were not taught to all students. The professional practice courses in the BS programs consisted of 500 hours of experiential practice at sites where pharmacists worked. Because different competency domains were covered by this range of practice sites, they were not able to be categorized into a single course and were excluded from the analysis. The total competency-related courses and other course credits are shown in Table .
The professional practice average course credits at U10 and U11 PharmD programs were 4.5 times higher than that of the BS programs. In this analysis, 1 credit hour of a professional practice course was equivalent to 90 hours of practice. In the professional practice course category, the professional practice credits at U4 included 2 credits of professional practice courses for elective classes and 3 credits of the required course professional practice, since at least 2 credits of the professional practice in all tracks were mandated for all students. The mean number of competency-related credits was 84.4 (SD = 7.4) and 108 (SD = 15.6) in BS and PharmD programs, respectively.
Of the 11 pharmacy schools participating in this study, the response rates of the individual course coordinators who returned their completed questionnaires ranged from 48% to 100% (median 91%). The range of course coordinators per school was 22 to 59. The completed questionnaires were reviewed and the length of time dedicated to each subcompetency in a course was converted into credit hours. The formula of 1 credit hour being equivalent to 15 hours of lecture or 45 hours of laboratory was used for the conversion. A review of the competency domain results revealed that each competency domain was met by a different percentage across the 11 pharmacy schools. In addition, the information gathered from the course coordinators and course syllabi provided evidence that all competencies were addressed in current Thai pharmacy curricula, with the exception of competency 7.9, Keep drug information service records. This single competency did not appear to be addressed at 4 of the schools (U1, U3, U5, and U9). In contrast, competency 1.2, General knowledge in chemicals, particles, and their application in pharmaceutical manufacturing process and quality assurance, was the competency most frequently addressed by all 11 pharmacy schools.
The content percentage of credit hours (proportion of credit hours for each competency domain) is graphically presented in Figure . The figure shows the distribution of content percentage for the 8 competency domains. The largest percentage was found in Domain 1 (Manufacturing and quality assurance) for all schools and the smallest percentage was found in Domain 8 (Pharmacy-related laws).
Content percentage of credit hours contributed to each competency domain.
The percentage of time (%) spent teaching each competency domain in terms of credit hours is shown in Table . Approximately one third of the required content in the BS programs and one fourth of the core content in the PharmD programs were addressed in competency Domain 1 (Manufacturing and quality assurance). The 4 domains in which the average credit hours spent was less than 10% were: Domain 5 (Rational drug use planning), Domain 6 (Prevention and solving of drug-related problems), Domain 7 (Provision of health information), and Domain 8 (Pharmacy-related laws). However, a mean of 6% ± 1.63% of total credit hours were spent in the Domain “others,” which were areas not addressed in the domains covered by the pharmacy licensure examination and pharmacy competencies. The content in the Domain “others,” such as pharmacy administration, behavioral science, and sociology were grouped within social and administrative pharmacy-oriented material.
Credit Hours and the Percentage of Time Spent on Each Competency Domain
The stratification of credit hour percentage devoted to each domain is shown in Figure . The findings illustrate the curricula content pattern between the 4 subject categories based on the applicable number of credit hours reported by each school of pharmacy. The results indicate that domain 1 (manufacturing and quality assurance) was the largest domain for all pharmacy schools. The percentage of credit hours in this domain was the highest compared to the other domains. Its median value was approximately 25 to 30 credit hours within each school. Domain 2 (community drug needs assessment, drug selection and procurement) was the second largest percentage of credit hours across the curricula. The median for domain 2 was approximately 20% of credit hours. Domain 3 (extemporaneous preparation) and domain 4 (basic health assessment) were categorized into one group because of their low proportions and the combined median credit hours was about 10%. Lastly, the lowest percentages of credit hours were in domain 5 (rational drug use planning), domain 6 (prevention and solving of drug-related problems), domain 7 (provision of health information) and domain 8 (pharmacy-related laws), with each of these domain receiving less than 6% of the median value across all pharmacy schools. However, Figure demonstrates there were outliers found in 4 of these domains.
Stratification of the percentage of credit hours of competency domains.
The percentage of credit hours spent in each competency area is presented in Figure . The predominant content area for the BS program was product-oriented material. The average percentage of credit hours spent on product-oriented content was nearly 50%. The SAP-oriented content consisted of less than 20% of curricula in all BS programs except U4. In contrast, the predominant content area in the PharmD programs was patient-oriented content. One third and one fourth of the core curriculum content of PharmD programs were addressed in product-oriented and SAP-oriented material, respectively.
Percentage of competency area in all schools.
The stratification of credit hour percentages in the competency-oriented material for all schools is demonstrated in Figure . The content areas were ranked from the highest percentage to the lowest percentage as product-oriented, patient-oriented, and SAP-oriented content, respectively. There were no outliers found in any of these competency-oriented materials. However, the greatest variation of content among schools was in the product-oriented material.
Stratification of the percentage of credit hours of competency-oriented area.
The competency-oriented material was compared between the BS and PharmD programs (Figure ). The PharmD programs had more content (44%) in patient-oriented material than in product-oriented material (33%). Conversely, the BS programs had more product-oriented content (49%) than patient-oriented content (35%). There was a significant difference between the BS and PharmD programs in the 3 competency-oriented areas (p = 0.005, 0.004, and 0.018 in patient-, product-, and SAP-oriented areas, respectively). Patient-, product-, and SAP-oriented content ratios were 2.1:2.9:1.0 and 2.6:2.0:1.4 in BS and PharmD programs, respectively.
Competency-oriented content between the bachelor and PharmD programs.
The ratios of patient-, product-, and SAP-oriented content at each school are shown in Table . The highest ratio in product-oriented content was found in U9, U3 and U8, respectively. U11, which is a PharmD program, had the lowest ratio in product-oriented and the highest ratio in patient-oriented material compared to other schools. However, the ratio of patient-oriented and product-oriented content was comparable in U4.
Ratios of Patient-, Product-, and SAP-Oriented Content Each School
Although the course coordinators used several methods of teaching, the questionnaire did not ask the percentage of credit hours for which each teaching method was used. Therefore, the percentage of credit hours for which each teaching method was used was based on the course structure of either a lecture or laboratory. The mean proportion of credit hours taught by lectures was 79.4% ± 3.7%. The balance (20.6 ± 3.7%) of credit hours was taught by laboratory experiences. The most frequent teaching method used in all Thai pharmacy schools was lectures presented in classrooms. Other methods used were experiments, case studies, discussion groups, class assignments, demonstrations, and pharmacy practice experiences. In product-oriented laboratory classes, students could conduct experiments with actual products. Examples included formulating syrup preparations, making coated tablets, and analyzing drug label content. In patient-oriented and SAP-oriented laboratory classes, the teaching methods used included case studies, discussions, and self-learning (completion of in class or homework assignments).
Students rarely interacted with real patients in these required didactic courses. Only 3 schools reported that their students met actual patients when visiting hospitals and drug stores as part of course experiences. However, less than 1 credit hour was devoted to actual patient interactions. Thai pharmacy students were able to gain experience with actual patients in elective courses or professional practice courses.