Saudi Arabia to deport foreign pharmacists

The Saudi Ministry of Labour and Social Development has signed an agreement with the Ministry of Health stipulating the government’s intentions to abolish some of the required hiring qualifications for pharmacists, in an attempt to localise the health sector, a ministry official source revealed.

The UK-based Al-Hayat agency quoted the Adviser to the Saudi labour minister, Mazen Elrouqi, saying that the agreement focuses on localising employment opportunities in the health sector, including pharmacies.

According to the ministry’s law, a pharmacist should hold a bachelor degree in pharmacy in order to obtain a work permit. He noted that the two ministries have agreed to cancel the degree requirement.

Elrouqi said the government plans to create a system where barcodes are used to get prescriptions; this would electronically link all hospitals and pharmacies in Saudi Arabia, and decrease the demand for qualified pharmacists.

As most pharmacists are Egyptian, they will be the ones who will be affected the most by the decision.