EACPT has funded the first study of Essential Competencies in Prescribing among European medical students. The study was led by the Working Group on Education of the EACPT and involved 895 Final-Year Medical Students attending 26 medical schools in 17 European countries.
European medical students should have acquired adequate prescribing competencies before graduation, but prior to this study it was not known whether this is the case. In this international multicenter study, the researchers evaluated the essential knowledge, skills, and attitudes in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics (CPT) of ﬁnal-year medical students across Europe. In a cross-sectional design, 26 medical schools from 17 European countries were asked to administer a standardized assessment and questionnaire to 50 ﬁnal-year students.
Although there were differences between schools, results showed an overall lack of essential prescribing competencies among ﬁnal-year students in Europe. Students had a poor knowledge of drug interactions and contraindications, and chose inappropriate therapies for common diseases or made prescribing errors.
These important findings results suggest that undergraduate teaching in CPT is inadequate in many European schools, leading to incompetent prescribers and potentially unsafe patient care. A European core curriculum with clear learning outcomes and assessments should be urgently developed.
The manuscript describing the study has now been published in the journal Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics and is freely accessible.
The EACPT was founded 24 years ago and now includes as members all national organisations for clinical pharmacology in Europe, as well as organisations from further afield internationally. The EACPT aims to provide educational and scientific support for the more than 4000 individual professionals interested in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics throughout the European region, with its congresses attended by a global audience. The EACPT also advises policy makers on how the specialty can contribute to human health and wealth.