(File pix) Shahrizal Sulaiman (front row, third from right) and his final-year clinical attachment cohorts.

PHARMACISTS help to run healthcare facilities, serve the community and are also the nation’s regulatory gatekeepers.

Traditionally, pharmacists are indispensable for anyone who needs to quickly consult a medical expert regarding healthcare.

While there is currently no shortage of pharmacists in Malaysia, with some 13,500 registered, the country will need at least 18,000 by 2020.

Both in Malaysia and worldwide, a career as a pharmacist is not only one that is stable but also pays well. In developed countries, being a pharmacist is one of the best-paid professions, often ranking within the top five.

We speak to some pharmacists to get their take on why they chose this career, the qualifications process they have to undergo, the long-term prospects and any downside that can be expected.

To Elyana Abdul Rahim, whose ambition since secondary school was to be in the “medical line”, studying Pharmacy fitted her needs and goals.

“My late father gave me the moral support to pursue this course as he saw the role of pharmacists as an important one for working with patients,” she said, who is now an industrial pharmacist employed in SteriPack Asia Sdn Bhd.

“I believe that patients do best when pharmacists are part of their healthcare teams because pharmacists are the ‘medication specialists’.”

Yap Peng Yew is working in Hospital Wanita & Kanak-kanak Sabah in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah as an Intravenous Admixture Pharmacist.

He has long been curious about how diseases affect the human body, and his desire is to help humanity in combating diseases.

Shahrizal Sulaiman is Consultant Pharmacist at Tera Niaga (M) Plt, a pharmaceutical and food consulting firm.

He chose to become a pharmacist because of its flexible career pathways, as well as its long-term job security.

“The starting salary for fresh pharmacy graduates is also among the best across all industry sectors,” he said.

Annaliza Chandrasegar also found that being a pharmacist offered her numerous career pathways.

“I started working in a Government hospital and then expanded my experience to that of a community clinic setting,” she said.

“Subsequently, I was curious to learn the job scope of a regulatory pharmacist and so transferred to my current workplace, Bahagian Regulatori Farmasi Negara.”

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