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Yakushigaku Zasshi. 1994;29(3):446-62.

[A history of a hundred years of pharmaceutical education in Japan].

[Article in Japanese]

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  • 1Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Science University of Tokyo.


The history of a hundred years of pharmaceutical education in Japan is divided into six periods for the purposes of discussion. 1. Founding period of the pharmaceutical education in the Meiji era (1873-1879) The Department of Manufacturing Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo was established in 1873 (now, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the University of Tokyo). The purpose of this school was for professional training to accommodate growing imported Western drugs. 2. Building period of the pharmaceutical education in the Meiji era. (1880-1911) The Pharmaceutical society of Japan (academic) was established in 1880, and then 13 years later (1893) the Japan Pharmaceutical Association (professional) was established. The order of establishments, first academic and then professional, was opposite of the history in European countries. Twenty-nine schools of pharmacy were built in the Meiji era, however 20 schools of pharmacy have been closed. 3. Developing period the pharmaceutical education in the Taisho era and half of the Showa era (1912-1944) Seventeen pharmaceutical colleges were built in these periods. Pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacognosy, hygenic chemistry, and manufacturing chemistry were mainly taught in these schools of pharmacy, however pharmacology, bacteriology, and biochemistry were not taught in these schools. 4. Reform of pharmaceutical education system after the World War II (1945-1960) In 1949, the Japanese education system was reformed, and then 46 colleges and universities of pharmacy were built. Then, the number of students doubled to 8,000. Graduates from pharmaceutical colleges and universities, pharmaceutical departments were eligible to take the national pharmacists licence examination which was conducted by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. The standard of the pharmaceutical education system was revised in 1656, recommending that the single pharmaceutical departments at the colleges of pharmacy by replaced by three departments, pharmacy, manufacturing pharmacy and biological pharmacy. 5. Improvement and developement of pharmaceutical education (1961-1985) Many universities and colleges were founded, and there are currently 46 universities and colleges. Every year, some 8,000 people who study pharmacy at 14 national, 3 public and 29 private universities enter the profession on graduation. About 60 percent found jobs in the pharmaceutical industry, and the remainder work as pharmacists in hospitals and pharmacies. 6. Recent movements toward reform in pharmaceutical education (1986-present) Two amendments to the Medical Services Law in 1986 and 1992 have specified clearly the role to be played by pharmacists and pharmacies within their local medical service and has sharpened the distinction between medicine and pharmacy. Thus, in 1994, the period required for graduation is proposed by a committee of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, supplementing of the current 4-year undergraduate pharmacy course with a 2-year postgraduate master's degree course or a 6-year new pharmaceutical education system including practical training in a medical institution for a period of at least 6 months.

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