HISTORY OF THE PHARMACY PROGRAM
The Pharmacy Program of the University of the Immaculate Conception (UIC) in Davao City grew out of the desire and commitment to provide the people of Davao and its neighboring provinces in Mindanao a well-rounded foundation of knowledge not only in the arts but also in the various fields of science.
The UIC traces its beginning to the early 20th century when the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM), an indigenous congregation for religious women founded a century after the introduction of Catholicism in the Philippines, established the St. Peter’s Parochial School at San Pedro Street in Davao City in 1905. The Sisters made such a valuable contribution to the educational needs of the city that the government likewise recognized its intermediate courses.
St. Peter School became the Immaculate Conception Academy in 1935 to signify the opening of its curriculum to secondary courses. Further growth necessitated its change to Immaculate Conception Institute in 1936. The institute turned out its first high school graduates in 1938.
World War II caused a break in the school’s operations but after the country’s liberation from the Japanese forces in 1946, the Religious of the Virgin Mary resumed their educational apostolate and, two years later, opened college courses under the school’s new name, the Immaculate Conception College (ICC). The Pharmacy course was one of this new college’s offerings.
In time, the Pharmacy school attracted many students not only from the city but the whole Mindanao since ICC was the only school in the region offering a pharmacy course. From the time the course was opened in 1948, there have been more than two thousand pharmacy graduates.
The Pharmacy Program’s growth was a symbiotic result of the college’s expansion. In the 1970’s the college transferred to the city’s Father Selga Street and in 1992, the college became the University of the Immaculate Conception.
The UIC’s graduates have given evidence of their excellent and high quality education and training with their performance in the government’s board examination for pharmacists. Its graduates have garnered places in the top ten of this examination and have recorded very high percentage of over-all assign. UIC’s pharmacists count among those in demand as professionals in hospitals and leading pharmaceutical retail business by putting up and managing their own drugstores. Some have joined the ranks of the academe as administrators, instructors, trainers, researchers and some are even in government service. More so, it has also claimed global competitiveness as some of its graduates have also claimed their niche in foreign countries.
To enhance further its pursuit of academic excellence especially towards the advancement of science and technology, the program initiated the establishment of the Science and Resource Center (SRC) in 1994. It was envisioned to provide the science faculty and students with extensive, in-house, hands–on training on currently used analytic and drug manufacturing equipment and a venue for research. Now, it does not only serve the faculty and students of UIC but also provides research and laboratory testing services to the community as it has gained government recognition and accreditation.
In its concern for the alumni need for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) as required by the Philippine Regulation Commission (PRC), the Program organized the accreditation of the university as a Multi-disciplinary CPE Provider and was granted recognition by the PRC on December 7, 1997. However, due to a moratorium released by the PRC, the CPE provision was temporarily stopped.
In responding to the challenges of the new millennium, it was in 2000 when the Pharmacy Program opened more doors of opportunities to its graduates.
First, in its pursuit to provide continuing education to all pharmacy graduates in Mindanao, the UIC Pharmacy Program began offering the Master of Science in Pharmacy. In 2005, there were already four graduates of MS Pharmacy. Most of the graduate students who enrolled in MS Pharmacy belonged to government organizations (e.g. BFAD, DOH), non-government organizations and academic institutions.
Secondly, in its interest to be globally competitive and to pursue employment abroad as well, the UIC B.S. Pharmacy graduates in 2003 started communicating with the United States National Association of Board of Pharmacy (NABP), inquiring of the possibility of its graduates becoming licensed pharmacists in the U.S.
The NABP responded by requiring foreign pharmacy graduates to pass the Foreign Pharmacy Graduates Equivalency Examination (FPGEE), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and Test of Spoken English (TSE) in order for them to receive a Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Council (FPGEC) Certification. With this certificate, a B. S. Pharmacy foreign graduate is able to undergo pharmacy internship in the US and after accomplishing the required internship, may be able to take the US Pharmacy licensure Examination.
To date, many of the UIC B.S. Pharmacy graduates have successfully passed these examinations and are currently employed in various pharmaceutical organizations in the US.
Another door of opportunity opened when the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) granted the Autonomous Status to the University of the Immaculate Conception in 2003. It gave the Pharmacy program the chance to actualize its dream to offer a new course, B.S. Clinical Pharmacy. This course consists of 60 units of didactic lectures in specialized areas of the human physiology, pathology and therapeutics. The offering of this new course was a response to the announcement made by NABP that starting 2003 any foreign pharmacy graduate who would like to take the FPGEE needs to have at least a five (5) year baccalaureate degree. Thus, this course gave the new 2003 graduates a chance to still qualify for the FPGEE and realize their interest in pursuing employment abroad. The graduates of the B.S. Clinical Pharmacy program now occupy major positions in some of the chain pharmacies in the US.
Along with the new course offering of B. S. Clinical Pharmacy, Davao Doctors Hospital, the number one ISO certified and highly prestigious hospital organization in Davao City saw a need to advocate Clinical Pharmacy practice. Thus, it was a timely undertaking of the Pharmacy Program which led to the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) designating the Davao Doctors Hospital as a training institution for the Clinical Pharmacy Internship. With this, Davao Doctors’ Hospital becomes the first hospital in Davao City to establish clinical pharmacy practice. Last SY 2008 – 2009, San Pedro Hospital enthusiastically invited the UIC B.S. Clinical Pharmacy Program as they started advocacy of clinical pharmacy practice. Last January 2012 Davao Medical School Foundation Hospital advocated Clinical Pharmacy practice. As such, a MOA has been established making DMSFH another hospital affiliate for Clinical Pharmacy Internship. Likewise Chong Hua Hospital in Cebu City has also accepted our Pharmacy Interns. UIC awaits to forge The Medical City affiliation this 2013.
Also, the UIC Pharmacy Program has continuously been working and undertaking ways and means to become a Center of Excellence in Mindanao for Pharmacy Education. Thus, in March, 1998, the Program had the first by the Preliminary Survey of the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) team. Then, in December 2001 it had a formal visit by the PAASCU Team. It was revisited by the PAASCU Team last August 2005 and was granted PAASCU accreditation without interim visit for five years. PAACSU and the Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines (FAAP) granted Level II Re-accredited status to the UIC Pharmacy Program in December 2010. This certification is valid until May 2016. It awaits the PAASCU revisit again by 2016. This will give the Program a chance to showcase the accomplishments per PAASCU recommendations. All these endeavors are answers to the goal of attaining academic excellence in Pharmacy education.