Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis

First Advisor

John Hertig


Background: Substandard or falsified medication prevalence in countries like the United States is documented with much more consistency than developing nations. On the contrary, although online pharmacies have been around for several decades, there is very limited data published establishing the prevalence of online pharmacy use by the general population (Fitler). Currently, there is no standardized curriculum regarding substandard or falsified medications and illegal online pharmacies offered to healthcare providers to combat the problems raised by counterfeits. Therefore, it is necessary to assess institutions’ current stance on implementing concepts in the curriculum and to create an educational framework based on subjects deemed mandatory by those institutions and the researchers.

Objective: To (1) identify gaps and (2) assess various curricular elements best suited to educate healthcare professionals; particularly pharmacists, doctors, and nurses; on how to teach their patients about substandard or falsified medications and online pharmacies.

Methods: A mixed methods approach was used for this study. This included surveying colleges of pharmacy with quantitative techniques as well as utilizing a modified Delphi method to qualitatively evaluate experts’ opinion on inclusion of topics of substandard or falsified medications and illegal online pharmacies in healthcare curricula.

Results: The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) does not require pharmacy schools to include the topics of substandard or falsified medications and illegal online pharmacies in their curriculum. Out of the 13 schools that submitted complete responses, 30.8% do not require their students to learn about these topics. Based on expert opinion, the final proposed curriculum includes recommendations for topics that should be covered to give healthcare providers a deep understanding and appreciation of the topics’ importance within the scope of patient care.

Conclusion: Based on previous studies, there is a serious need to close the educational gap. This study served to develop a proposed curriculum that would serve as a complement to the previous work done by International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).