University of Technology
KINGSTON, Jamaica (UTECH) — The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech), School of Pharmacy in the College of Health Sciences on February 26, 2015 officially launched its new Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Technology (BSc. Pharm. Tech.) course of study at a ceremony held at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) auditorium in Kingston.
The four-year BSc. Pharm. Tech. programme is the first for any training institution in the English speaking Caribbean. It provides students with broad-based training skills that are required to work in the pharmaceutical industry with particular emphasis on drug manufacturing, pharmaceutical production and development.
Ambassador the Hon. Burchell Whiteman, OJ, Acting President, UTech in his welcome noted that “over the last 50 years, UTech has built up an enviable reputation for excellence in pharmacy education,” adding that “the expansion of offerings with new training in Pharmaceutical Technology is in keeping with UTech’s mandate to continuously expand our academic offerings to meet current local, regional and global labour market needs for development.”
Highlighting the historic significance of the new course of study, Dean of the College of Health Sciences, Dr. Ellen Campbell-Grizzle said that she predicts that the pharmaceutical science graduates will “become important high level knowledge workers in what is to become a period of great restoration in the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and cosmoceutical manufacturing industry in Jamaica.” She added that the programme is particularly relevant, in light of current demand for knowledge-based competency in the exploration of indigenous plants such as cannabis for research and application for medicinal, pharmaceutical and industrial uses. The Dean thanked Programme Director, Dr. Marcia Williams and her team in the School for the hard work in leading the development of the new course of study and JAMPRO for partnering with the institution on the initiative.
Head, School of Pharmacy, Dr. Sean Moncrieffe in his remarks pointed out that data shows that the global pharmaceutical industry was forecasted to reach US$1.1 trillion in 2014. Latin America and the Caribbean represents 7% of the global business. He called on the Jamaican pharmaceutical industry to pursue a greater portion of this multi trillion dollar pie, emphasising that UTech is setting that foundation in the cosmoceutical, neutraceutical and pharmaceutical production industries.
Programme Director, Dr. Marcia Williams who provided an overview of the course of study, noted that in years 3 or 4, students will spend five weeks in the field and the last Semester of the fourth year will be required to do an externship in a manufacturing plant. She added that an important feature of the programme is a four-level Spanish course enabling students to communicate more effectively internationally, particularly with neighbours in Latin American where the pharmaceutical industry is growing.
Keynote Speaker Miss Diane Edwards, President of JAMPRO Trade and Investment Jamaica lauded UTech on the timely launch of the programme, emphasising that the pharmaceutical industry is a crucially important social and economic asset for human development in Jamaica. It is estimated that there are over 3,000 medicinal plants indigenous to Jamaica, with over 800 of these plants being uniquely Jamaican. Lamenting that very few of these have been studied for their medicinal properties, the JAMPRO President said that through the implementation of this degree programme, “UTech is supporting the expansion of Jamaica’s pharmaceutical manufacturing sector and the proposed Logistics Hub,” adding that “the global pharmaceutical and nutraceuticals markets is estimated to grow beyond US$207 billion by 2016.” She encouraged the first cohort of nineteen students present at the launch, to contribute to national development through research and entrepreneurship by taking advantage of the tremendous potential value for investment and income generating possibilities.