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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!!
I've got a few questions about being a pharmacist in Italy.

We lived in Italy for 4 yrs prior to me studying for my doctorate in pharmacy. After I receive my degree we plan to come back! I am close to fluent in italian, and I understand that I'll obviously need to finish perfecting that before we move!

I'm wondering if anyone has personal experience with being a pharmacist in Italy, or perhaps a contact they could put me in touch with.

I'm wondering if the U.S. doctor of pharmacy degree (PharmD), is equivalent to what Italy requires. I understand Italy has it's own licensing procedure, but I'm wondering about the degree requirements. All the information I've found is from over 8 years ago. This includes licensing requirements, securing a job, and salary information.

Lastly, I've got a question regarding work visas: I know some European countries will give work visas for jobs that have a shortage of workers-- pharmacy falls into this category for some EU nations. Does anyone know if this is the case for Italy, or will I need to obtain permission to stay by another means.

Thanks in advance!!!

Emily
 

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I don't know the answers to your other questions, but I do know the answer to this one.

Lastly, I've got a question regarding work visas: I know some European countries will give work visas for jobs that have a shortage of workers-- pharmacy falls into this category for some EU nations. Does anyone know if this is the case for Italy, or will I need to obtain permission to stay by another means.
Italy grants no special visa favors here, I'm afraid. A small number of research institutes (primarily at universities) have special visa privileges to recruit and hire exceptional foreign researchers, including pharmaceutical researchers, but pharmacists, no.
 

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I know some European countries will give work visas for jobs that have a shortage of workers-- pharmacy falls into this category for some EU nations. Does anyone know if this is the case for Italy, or will I need to obtain permission to stay by another means.
Italy is one of the European countries who accepts foreign specialists under the "EU Blue Card" system, meaning that - if you find an employer in Italy willing to hire you - you can obtain an entry visa regardless of whether the immigration quota for the year has been filled or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Arturo,

I have read about the EU blue card and Ive found lots of info expressing how its geared toward highly educated professionals, and even more specifically U.S graduates. Im wondering though, if you can open a business under this type of visa. I know the majority of pharmacies are privately owned, and ideally id like to settle into a smaller town where a local pharmacy is necessary. However to my understanding you must renew the EU blue card every 2 years, so perhaps business ownership will not be possible with this.

Also, im looking to make the move back to italy permenant-- im wondering about the legalities of when you can purchase real estate.
 

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At the very least, I'm pretty certain you will need to provide transcripts and course equivalency information. See Consolato Generale d'Italia a New York, Dichiarazioni_di_valore

I can tell you that similar requests regarding medical doctors, nurses, and dentists have come up in the past and the net result has always been that at least some education would need to be repeated in Italy followed by retesting/certification. I don't know how this might apply, if at all, to pharmacists.

I will also throw out this comment: the pharmacy industry in Italy is far different from that in the US with typical drug costs being far, far, lower - not only consumer costs due to national healthcare, but wholesale costs due to the entirely different way pharmaceutical companies must operate in Europe. My gut tells me that pharmacists in Italy therefore have much lower earning potential as compared to their American counterparts.

Of course, I may be wrong...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
accbgb,

Thanks so much for that link! I will certainly follow that up to see about course equivalency. Thank you.

You're absolutely right: The pharmacy industry in Italy is drastically different than in America. I really like that fact. Salary isn't the most important factor to me, but I'm still wondering the quality of life I'll be able to lead being a family of 4. Any salary statistics I've found are from "yahoo answers," (not reputable, obviously), and from 2005 at that.

Thanks again!
 

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Small local pharmacies are either owned by the town or already owned by somebody. The odds you could get a license to open a pharmacy in an area with a need are fairly low. You'd most likely end up working for somebody who already owns a pharmacy. I doubt we're talking enough to really support a family of four. The money is made by the owner.

You could consider a par pharmacy. That means no prescription drugs. You would still face the visa issues
 

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Discussion Starter #10
NickZ thanks for the response- I've not heard of a par pharmacy. I've been able to find a little information online, but I'll have to try looking into it further.

Do you by chance know anything about the role that pharmacists play in hospitals? Currently I work in a hospital pharmacy, and I'm real curious to know if it's as highly regarded in Italy. Perhaps that'd be an option that would provide financial security.
 

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I assume it's no different then elsewhere. But it's not unusual for patients to fill prescriptions outside the hospital. Family will go get things. I guess that means for routine meds the in house pharmacy doesn't handle much.
 

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I've not heard of a par pharmacy. I've been able to find a little information online, but I'll have to try looking into it further.
The correct name in Italian is "Parafarmacia", and it's a new type of establishment brought forward by a law in 2006 enacted by the government of the time with the intent of breaking the quasi-monopoly held in Italy by the lobby of pharmacy owners (represented by Federfarma) on the sale of drugs and medications to the general public.

A "Parafarmacia" can only sell "over the counter" drugs and medications for which no prescription is required. This notwithstanding, they are required by law to have a licensed pharmacist in their staff (meaning someone who not only has a degree in pharmacy but has also passed the "Esame di Stato" to practice in Italy, and had joined the "Ordine dei Farmacisti").

Currently there are more than 5,000 "Parafarmacie" in Italy, most of them located in busy areas such as railway stations, airports and shopping malls.
 

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Hi emilyjm

I'm actually getting my Pharm D degree this May from the USA. Salary is not an issue for me too. I was wondering if you have any updates regarding your situation? or whatever tips/info you can give me. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
JDMarian-

Congrats on your upcoming graduation!

I'm still in the process of obtaining citizenship. I've been working with an italian lawyer since November. From start to finish it's normal for the process to take about 12 months. As of now, everything is on track.. it's just a waiting game.

Are you an italian citizen or are you hoping for a work visa?

For the PharmD degree, you must obtain from the Ministry of Health recognition of the degree. I called the italian consulate closest to me and they gave me this link: Riconoscimento titoli You can view the actual documents and forms you'll need to file. Basically, you need to provide transcripts from high school and on. They may request the syllabus if there is a course in question. Everything must be translated and the translation must be certified by the consulate or an italian court translator. The process will take several months. It's my understanding that after that, you'll be permitted to take the board exam. Obviously italian fluency is necessary for the exam. If you hunt around on that link you can see the topics for it and when it's offered. It mirrors our topics. Honestly, I'd give a call to the consulate and they'll put you in touch with someone who will guide you through the process.

One of my italian friends just put me in contact with a recent pharmacy graduate in Italy, so as soon as I talk more with him I'll be happy to share the info with you!

Now I've got a question for you-- not sure if you'll have student loans, but paying those back on an italian salary concerns me. I know programs exist that are salary based, but I have no idea about the details of those. Do you have any idea?
 

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I know there are programs in place where as long as you pay the minimum for 10 years it is forgiven. Not 100% sure though.

I am hoping for a work visa. Also any work close to the pharmacy field is ok for me, I don't have to be licensed. Hoping you keep in touch and maybe you can refer me as well!
 
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