Hi everyone, it has been a while since I last blogged.
It’s just a month to go then I will be completing my internship hours. I know that after passing the FPGEE and TOEFL this is another obstacle since the recession made it difficult for foreign grads to find internship position in the location most accessible to them.
It has been a great experience overall since the practice of pharmacy in Philippines is totally different. Pharmacist here are called “doc,dr” and they do deserve it, they know not just the drug but they can even diagnose which I did not know how after graduating from a pharm school. Maybe I do but not as in depth from what they studied here but it can be learned through books, reading and experience. It is a plus factor being a doctor of medicine of course but I know if I did not pursue graduate school it is not impossible to pass FPGEE but it will just take more effort and patience.
Anyways, I worked with clerk and technician in an independent pharmacy and mostly we handle derma prescription since we are next to dermatologist. It is not as busy as the big chain so I was able to learn everybody’s task, which is good so that if you don’t have the tech or clerks you still know how to manage on your own. It is a whole new experience for me answering a call, dealing with the customers, greeting everyone “Hi , How are you, How may I help you, Thank you and Have a good day”……. we did not have these in Philippines. I do not remember going to pharmacy being greeted like this well hindi lang siguro ako sanay since when I got here I have to get accustomed to that not just in pharmacy but in any establishment here. Being able to compound some RX is nice too since not a lot does that. What I had difficulty with at the beginning is running the computer, there are commands that you have to know so you can transmit to the insurance. Wala din insurance sa Phi to transmit the prescription bills, mostly its cash in Phi. Well in the end I guess in any field thats why there is such a thing called internship is for us to get used to the ways and system so that it will be easier to troubleshoot and work when we become full-pledge professionals.
I know everybody has different experiences, good or bad share it here so that others can learn from it and expect these things to come.

  • Tony Zang

    Hi Abby & All.
    I am a U.S. Born Citizen and I went to a caribean school for my Pharm.D. I graduated in 2009 and the nabp keeps rejecting me app. what makes it worst is the school i went to was bought out and the pharmacy program is now closed. Is there a place in the philippians I can go to? Or can i work there? I have a lawyer fighing my case but i need a Plan B……….I think i am up to Plan Q. Thanks to anyone who can help me. GodBless

    • http://abbyandwin.net abby

      Hi Tony, to be able to practice in PHilippines, you have to pass the Board Exam but for you to qualify you have to be a citizen. I know you can complete units if you need to in Philippines but your biggest obstacle is to qualify for the test since you are not a citizen. And before you can apply here in USA, one requirement will be a license if the country you graduated required this to practice as a pharmacist. If anyone here can correct me if they changed the requirement in Philippines that will be great, but as far as I know this is what the rule is back then.

      • Nikki

        You are not required to pass the local boards in PI if you are not a citizen. You have to prove to NABP that you finished school there and that you are not eligible to take the local boards because of the citizenship issue. It will not be a problem with the NABP. It says it clearly in the bulletin.

  • duncan frayer

    im an american but i am married to a filippina. so i have lots of filippino friends. i have one guy he is like a son to me. he is 20 and wants to be a pharmacy tech. he was going to go to a chool here in san leandro, ca. the cost around $20,000. he was born in the philippines and his father lives there. so to save money he is thinking about living there for awhile and go to school there for pharmacy. i know a few philippinos that had a career there but when they came to the states they won’t except their degree here. my close friend’s brother in law was a dr in the phils. but here he finally made it to be an RN. my question is do you think my friend should go to school here or in the phils.?
    thank you

    • http://abbyandwin.net abby

      In my opinion, if money will be an issue go back to Philippines. My boss says the tuition right now per semester is at $50,000. Which may be the whole amount he needs to finish in Philippines, of course not including the living expense and travel. I know foreigner are required to pay bond depending on which school he goes to. There are extra step for us foreign grads which are the FPGEE test and TOEFL(not sure if he still needs it since he is a citizen). Your friend will also need to take the Board in the Philippines and be licensed since it is a requirement before he can take the test in USA. Since he was born there, I think there is a way to seat in for the local Board since he can apply for dual citizenship. This he needs to verify since everything will go to waste if he cannot be licensed in the foreign land.
      I am an MD too in Phi but practicing as a Pharmacist here in USA.
      Hope this helps.

      • Bess

        After you passed the US test for pharmacy is it required to enroll pharma University while doing you internship ?. Do you need to go to a review class as well ? Thanks for your time in helping people find good info through your experienced..

  • ela

    Hi abby, Im a doctor and pharmacist in the phils too. (UST both). Currently workin in Walgreens as phar tech while awaiting for the FPGEE this Nov 12 2012. I read from your previous blogs that you had a hard time finding a pharmacy that would accept you for the 1500 hours of internship prior to NAPLEX. Do big chains pharmacies like CVS Walgreens no longer accept interns? I never asked, trying to conceal my “agenda” as I have just started.

    • Jaime Cordoba

      Hi, I already went through all the trouble (FPGEE, TOEFL, NAPLEX…) I am already practicing as a pharmacist but recently lost my job. I am still on an H1B visa since I’m not a resident. This makes it very hard to find a new employer. Companies don’t want to sponsor this kind of employees easily…
      Do you know of any good headhunter or any company hiring foreign pharmacy grads or pharmacists?

    • mae viray

      hi ela! goodluck on your FPGEE this Nov , I’m also a Thomasian.

      • Rox Elier

        Hi Mae Viray
        I read in your post that you are applying for FPGEC, your post is october 2012, i am as well trying to apply for the FPGEC can we communicate? I dont know where to start with the process. Can you guide me ?

    • Patricia

      Hi Ela! Are you a US Citizen? How did you apply for a pharm tech position?

  • nicole

    hi! i was wondering if there is a list of pharmacies you can work as a pharmacist intern after fpgee or any community pharmacy would be okay? thank you!

  • mae viray

    hi there! I’m a license pharmacist in the Philippines way back 1995 and planning to take the FPGEE exam , unfortunately I am confuse where to start . What are the documents needed to be submitted @ ECE and FPGEC ??? Do I need to go to PRC and the university where I graduated ??? Pls help

  • kokonut

    If I may sum it all up-USA has no need for foreign pharmacy interns! A recent US labor study acknowledged the fact that the demand for pharmacists is increasing at a rate of 25% per year since 2005 BUT it also cite the fact that the supply of graduates is at par with the demand and this projection is good until 2030.
    There is a bias in hiring US citizens (for interns and licensed pharmacist) and this is understandable. The companies also are now enjoying cheaper labor (recent graduates) when compared to experienced (older pharmacist) which is why even tenured professionals are losing their jobs.
    The blogger repeatedly admits that she herself is finding difficulty in finding a job despite that she is a US citizen who got her degree in the Philippines. She may not lose hope because she is in the US and she is a citizen but that may not be the case for most foreign pharmacy graduates who are either about to take their FPGEE or is about to graduate from their bachelors program.
    My suggestion is forget about the US dream and look at the commonwealth countries as a more feasible option. Canada, New Zealand, Australia and UK can be better options to explore. If you are a Filipino who is betting his/her future in practicing abroad I implore you to read on job outlooks in your target country before you even take the Masters degree in Pharmacy.

  • elgre

    Hi abby, Im a pharmacist in our country Philippines, Im a naturalize u.s citizen.i take the fPGEE Exam already but I failed did you knows anyone here in the u.s has online school review for FPGEE? or do we need to go school here in the u.s? Im glad I found this forum so that I can ask some inquiries…

    • http://abbyandwin.net abby

      There are some books I recommended and used but online classes I am not quite sure if there is any. Sorry. You do not need to go back to school just take time and study hard for the test.

  • Patricia

    Hi Abby! I just wanna ask if I can take the exams by using my tourist visa only? Pls reply thank you so much!

    • http://abbyandwin.net abby

      Yes I think you can since some of my friends who has tourist visa was able to take the test.

  • Allison

    Hi Abby,

    I was wondering what independent pharmacy did you go to? Do they sponsor H1B visa? I know it takes a lot of money to sponsor an international pharmacy graduate but i’m willing to volunteer and spend for everything as long as i have my internship. Thank you!

    • http://abbyandwin.net abby

      I’m sorry but my employer do not sponsor, I think before any company can sponsor they need to have certain number of employees. Right now since USA has a lot of graduating pharmacist even the big chain company has reduced, if at all, their number of applicants for sponsorship.

  • Patricia

    Hi Abby! I just wanna ask if is it okay if I pursue taking up FPGEE plus the internship, NAPLEX, and others, and work as a pharmacist in the US even though I’m a fresh grad from the Philippines without any work experience? I already have a US visa and have relatives there and I’m really planning on working there after I pass the board exam here in PH. Please reply I badly need an advise :( thank you so much and God bless you! You’re so nice for doing this, really helps a lot of people :)

    • http://abbyandwin.net abby

      I did not have work experience as a pharmacist since I used to be a radiologist in PHI. It is not a requirement, I can’t say it is a plus since the way of processing prescription here is different given the fact that they have a computer system different in each pharmacy to bill insurance. good luck

      • Carolina Pillas

        hi, i am a foreign graduate too from the PHilippines and I am currently preparing for the NAPLEX which I am scheduled to sit for in January. Anyone with tips or strategies on how I could pull this one off? I heard that the exam is quite difficult.

  • http://www.yahoo.com Sharllene

    Hi! I’m an incoming fourth year student here in the Philippines. I’m planning to work there in US. May I ask what are the requirements for me to be a licensed pharmacist there? And which is better, to take up PharmD course here (Additional 2 years) or take additional college units abroad? Than you so much.

    • http://abbyandwin.net abby

      For more information about the pharmacy test, check out the website at nabp.net

  • Bebe

    Hello Abby! I almost have the same situation as what Patricia has (fresh grad in UST with no work experience yet). Unfortunately, I was not able to apply in CEU for PharmDfor this SY because I am currently in the US to renew my GC. The entrance exam was held last April 5.

    I am also taking other options like going to USC or UIC. It will only take you for at least a year to complete everything and sit for FPGEE. However, I am wondering how do these schools prepare your transcript since according to the NABP site, “Coursework and internships completed after graduation will not be considered as part of the five-year pharmacy curriculum requirement.” Will they alter your transcript to make it look like you studied there during your bachelor’s degree? Do you know anyone who completed their Clinical Pharmacy in USC/UIC but graduated BS Pharmacy in other school?

    Another option is that to pursue PharmD here in the US (may it be the traditional or the non-traditional one). I know I will go back to square one, and it will cost me A LOT of TIME and MONEY. I doubt that they will credit my pharma courses too, but let us just see. I will go to some schools in our area to inquire on what they can do about it.

    Now the real question is, which option should I take? Which one is worth it?

    I hope you will find time in reading this post and thank you very much!

    • cee

      Hi! I took BS Pharm in UST, Batch 2005. I went to UIC in Davao to qualify for FPGEE. I was able to sit for the exam last April 2013. So yes, they do prepare your transcript. They do not alter it fraudulently. As far as I can remember they just put your UIC transcript on top of your original college transcript. I am not sure how it works but it appears as if you took your fifth year on that school (UIC). I have friends I went to school with in UIC who are US Citizens and are now working as pharmacists here in the US. So, UIC is legit. They just have a bit of an expensive tuition for that kind of program. Hope this helps!

      • Bebe

        This is one of the answers I was looking for. Thank you so much! So you just finished the program this year? Do you need to take the board exams first in the Philippines before taking FPGEE? Because if your friends are US Citizens, they won’t be able to take the local board exams, right? And also, where are you based? Are you an intern already? Sorry if I had too many questions. Thank you so much again! You helped me a lot!

        But for the meantime, I am looking for a pharmacy tech job in my area. I’m really hoping this will give me a very big chance once I come back as an intern.

        • cee

          I just read this. I’m not sure if you’re required to be licensed in your country. But my friends who were US citizens had to go back to the Phil to take the board exams and then they took the FPGEE. So I assume, it is required (?). I’m sure it is written in the Application Bulletin listed in the NABP website. Just go through it or you can call/ email NABP. They will respond.

          I am in New York, just took and passed TOEFL iBT so I am waiting for my FPGEC certificate (I think this will take 3months or more :c ). I am also having trouble understanding if I need to apply for an Intern license if I choose to have my internship in New Jersey. (Suggestions regarding Intern license application, anyone?) I suppose I can’t do anything much until I get hold of my certificate.

          If you are an American Citizen, you will not much have as much trouble as I do. I have friends from California, Vegas and New Jersey working in Walgreens and Kaiser Permanente. It took them less than a year to get the position.

          • Bebe

            Unfortunately, I

          • Bebe

            Unfortunate, I’m not a US citizen. It will take me years to get that. Well, you could be a tech or volunteer at a pharmacy while waiting for your certificate. If I take the clinical pharmacy and finish it, will it be worth it to take it in April despite of having a month or so to prepare? Congratulations on passing the FPGEE btw.

      • yen

        hi cee! I am batch 2005 as well, but graduated in ceu. Im just wondering if you get a hold to land an internship? If you don’t mind sharing your experience that would be great.. thank you.

  • Doc R

    Hi Abby, my wife passed the Fpgee and the Toefl ibt and had her FPGEC already. With the thread that I’m reading it seems that it’s very difficult to land an intern job. My wife does not need sponsorship. Is it possible to have internship in your company. Does your employer still accept foreign pharmacy graduates? Which state are you in?

    • http://abbyandwin.net abby

      Hi! I am in CA, the company I used to worked for does not really take intern. It just so happen my in-law gets medications from them and asked them a favor so I worked without compensation. But, I guess they were pleased with my work so they eventually hired me and worked there for a couple of years, I am on disability right now due to pregnancy but has also plans of having my own pharmacy if everything works out well. Thanks and good luck to your wife.

  • May

    Hi Abby,

    Just wanted to ask your opinion I graduated in P.I back in 2006 . So I wanted to continue my education to be PharmD here in the US it was a 4 year course and we know that the new rule is that you need to have 5 years in order to sit for FP. So the question is should I go to school here in Pomona who takes foreign grad but have to spend hundred thousand dollars. Or should I go back to. P.I for a year in order to qualify for the exam? Thanks . I’m CPhT before I took my BS and currently employed as a tech.

    • http://abbyandwin.net abby

      If you have the time to read on the comments this has been asked several times already. I even highlighted this topic since I am not so familiar with it, but fortunately people who is on the same predicament is able to shed some light to those need it. Thanks.

  • lorylaine

    Gooedevening po :) Kumukuha po ako ng BS in pharmacy sa Fatima, magsesecond year pa lang po ako. may mga tips po ba kayong maibigay about pharma? :) mejo kinakabahan lang po ako pero gusto kopo ung course ko and balak ko din po sana magwork abroad. kaso mukhang mahirap po atang makapasa.. kelangan pa din po atang magaral pag nagwork po sa ibang bansa. thankyou po kng makakareply po kayo :)) take care always! god bless you and your family po! ;D

  • angela d.


    kakabasa ko lang ng buong blog. its quite helpful pero may question lang ako. i’m planning to go back to PI to study pharmacy in ceu.. ( i live here in CA and a US Citizen too.) so just wondering is it still worth it to fly back and study for the whole 6years and come back take all the exams and get trained to work? i’ve been working as a pharmacy tech for almost 3 yrs now. and i reallly want to become a pharmacist the thing is its too expensive to study here specially to get in first!! saka maraming che che bureche before ka mkatuntong sa USC or anywhere .. kaya i’m planning sana to go to PI and study .. worth it pa ba?

  • mahmoodi

    Dear abby,

    Thank you for information. I have a question: I have B2 visa for FPGEE eaxam. I passed it. Also, I passed Toefl exam. But, now i don’t know what should I do? I can not apply for internship positions because of my visa. How can I find a sponser? would you please help me or introduce some sponsers websites?


  • Ken

    Hi Abby,
    Very nice blog.
    I have a question: As from the blog, I recall that you had your MD from Philippines. So, you did your 4 year pharmacy degree in addition to MD or they considered some of the courses from the MD curriculum? I have my non-US MD, but I am considering to become a pharmacist in US rather than going through USMLE.
    Thank you.

  • Kevin

    i have a question regarding submission of licensure/registration to FPGEC to qualify for their exam.
    hypothetical scenario:

    year of grad from foreign pharm school (4yrs): 2013 (as filipino citizen)
    year license obrained: 2013 (will expire on 2015)
    naturalization to us citizen: 2017
    year of grad from clin phar in uic/usc: 2019 (as us citizen)

    accdg to fpgec bulletin, PRC should place my proof of lic/reg in a sealed brown envelope. how could that happen if my license is expired and if i cant renew my license (since im us citizen by that time)

  • Snow

    Hello po is there anyone na pharmacist working in canada? Canada po kc ako thanks just wna ask for some advse or experiences in getting the pharmacy license here

  • ram

    hi cee! :) i’m just wondering if you could help me (please :D). i have questions regarding FPGEE, Naplex, internship, etc. i’m also based here in NY, and a thomasian graduate :) i just started this ‘journey’ of becoming a US pharmacist. hehe. and i really need someone to guide me. i don’t know anyone who has been in the same situation, (cause new york has diff. reqts, etc) hope you could help me! thanks! :) email add is [email protected]

  • Lala

    Hi Abby & to all US Pharmacist hopefuls,just like me… I just read your comments & concerns, and thankful for Abby who started this blog. This is very helpful for every Pinoys who are very much interested to become a pharmacist here in the US.
    I’m from Texas and passed my FPGEE as well,but still have to work on my ToefliBT.
    Every state has different requirements,so I suggest to go and check their Pharmacy website for more infos.
    I just want to see if anybody is trying to apply here in Texas or already practicing here as a pharmacist,who I can communicate with. I have friends in California and Nevada who are already practicing pharmacists,but I wanted to connect with somebody particularly here in Texas,anyone?
    Best of luck to all of us! Just keep the faith and strive hard,surely it will pay off!

    • anne

      Hi Lala,
      I just recently passed the board exam and searching to find my way to work in Texas, USA since I have some relatives there but I’m not even a US citizen so I guess this is a really big challenge for me. Next year I might visit Texas if God willing to attend a Religious Conference and I’m planning to take CPhT exam so I could work there and maybe find an employer if I would continue my studies or take the needed exams in the future. Will I be allowed to take CPhT eventhough I’m a foreigner (will be staying for 3-6mos)? What kind of Visa do I need? And are there other jobs which I could possibly apply to such as those at the Manufacturing field or Drug industry (medical sales representative, chemical analyst, something related?)

      To others in this blog, Will this be possible too if the case will be in Canada?

      Thanks! God Bless to us Canada and US pharmacist hopefuls :)

    • Charina

      Hi lala. I see that you are from Texas. Whereabouts? Have you sat down for the Naplex yet? I am still studying for the Naplex.

    • Angel

      I’m finishing my hours on August 14 n soon be practicing as Pharmacist at the biggest chain. How can I help?

      • Hopes

        Hi. Firstly congratulations for finishing the hours. Are you a foreign grad? A US citizen? Did you finish your hours as a tech or intern?

      • Ikay

        Hi Angel! That’s nice to know. Can you advice me on where can i possibly get an internship? I am a Fiipino and have FPGEC. Your reply would be much appreciated :)

  • Mia

    Hi Abby,
    I’m a US citizen and planning to go back to philippines to study pharmacy! And someone told me that the US is no longer accepting pharmacy graduate to other country, is that true? I don’t know what to do now, I don’t want to waste my time and money if its true! Please help!

    • Hopes

      Oh we’re almost in the same boat. And I myself want to hear from Abby too.

      Hospitals and pharmacies usually prefer recruiting US grads. It doesn’t mean foreign grads can’t take exams and like that but they’ll have to work so hard getting internship and a job. What usually helps them the best is “connections” although we can’t rely on that all the time. And each state is a little different too. Again let’s hear from Abby.

      • http://abbyandwin.net abby

        Sorry guys I have been busy with my baby, 6 months old now. It is tough for foreign grads these days and the starting salary seems to be going down instead of increasing due to the number of local pharmacist graduating yearly. I know some who are now working where I worked at(independent) because it is hard to find job in any other field. But you are right, foreign grads can still take the test, it is a challenge to find work right now. Connections do work at times but these days your competitor might have connections as well so this will be a battle of experience and who has a stronger connection.
        I am thinking of a different and challenging path, will let you know how it goes. ;)

        • Hopes

          It’s fine Abby. I appreciate that you answered back.
          Now that is scary. I’m in third year of pharmacy program. Shall I transfer to any pharm program in the U.S then? It’s already too late to apply for fall 2014 so I might have to start from fall 2015 there. But is it worth the risk? From where I am studying I’ll be graduating in 2016. And if I continue there I’ll be done in year 2018 or 2019…and add to that the loan. -__-

  • Penelope

    Hi Abby! I would like to thank you for making this forum. May I know what books to use for the FPGEE review? I am in CA too. Please advice me. Thank you.

  • Che

    Hi Abby (and fellow Pinoy Rxists)
    Wondering if you can advise as the nature of the Naplex compared to the FPGEE. I am currently studying for the NAPLEX and I find it a lot to cover. Is it more difficult than the fpgee? And what materials would you recommend?
    Thank you kindly :-)

    • http://www.mercury-rx.com Richie Duenas

      My name is Richie and I am the owner of Mercury Pharmacy in Vallejo, California. We have a strong Filipino community here in Vallejo. Our pharmacy is small and I am open to accepting interns and pharmacist who need to gain experience and practice hours. It is not a paying position, however, you will find that NONE of the big pharmacies here in California hire foreigners without US licenses. Visit our website and submit an email to me. mercury-rx.com All my employees speak Tagalog and I am always happy to train pharmacists in the US. There is alot you will never learn in a classroom.

      • Hannah D.

        Hi! I just want to ask if you sponsor H1B visas for pharmacy interns. I am a recent FPGEE and TOEFL iBT passer and currently scouting for internship opportunities. Thanks!

      • Rhey

        Hi, Mr. Richie. I am Rhey. I’m a Filipino pharmacy graduate from UST. Il be taking my FPGEE tHis october. First of all i would like to say it is commendable of you that you are helping your kababayans. Secondly, I am wondering if you are accepting interns that are not US citizen. Unfortunately, I’m here on my tourist visa. Are you also sponsoring? Thank you.

  • Faith

    Hi! My husband is reviewing for NAPLEX, what is the best online review course out there? Is there anyone out there fr South Florida?

  • http://Facebook Ronalee Villanueva

    Hi! Is it true that some hospitals there in US, don’t accept Filipino Pharmacist? Please reply. Thanks :)

  • Sharon

    Hello po Abby. I am currently a pharmacy student dito sa Philippines at gusto ko lng po sana tanungin kung dapat licensed ka dn dito sa pinas para po makapag board exam sa US?

  • http://mercury-rx.com Richie Duenas

    I would advise any Filipino pharmacist awaiting licensing (in California) to working in inpatient pharmacy as a licensed pharmacy technician.

    -Richie Duenas, Pharm.D

  • Kristine

    Hi! I’m waiting for my internship license here in Florida. I have the FPGEC certificate. I don’t know now what to do, where to apply for internship. Mukhang mahirap :(

    • Sam

      Hey ive just read about your situation and i may have the same problem as you..i have fpgec and i found a sponsor for my visa to do the h1b visa but i dont know if i can do the h1b visa for a pharmacy intern?do u have any information about that? because i lack a social security number i cant do the intern hours and most of the h1b visa require pharmacy license so how will i get a license without doing the intern hours?if you can help that will be great

      • Kristine

        I’m not sure about it but I think, you can get a Social Security Card that is valid for work in the United States if you have h1b visa, and then after you get you social security card that’s when you can apply for internship license that can be valid to count your hours for internship… If may I ask, in which state are you applying?

        • Sam

          no you dont understand. you cant get a social security number with out a h1b visa. but the question is can you do the h1b visa for a pharmacy intern not for a pharmacist. because you cant get the pharmacy license without completing the intern hours. i am applying in the state of florida.

  • RL

    Hi Ate Abby and Kuya Sherwin nanuod ho ba kayo nung Game ng UP vs. AdU?

  • Ikay

    Hi abby! I would like to know what is the best way to get a pharmacy internship. I am also a Filipino and have a FPGEC certificate.

  • sheelah

    Proud Filipino po ako! At I am currently applying for FPGEE. I am almost finished with all of my requirements. I have a problem though, I hope you could help guide me. I have authenticated the photocopies of my license and certificate to practice pharmacy. According to the bulletin, it should be in a sealed envelope. Pwede na ba ang sealed DHL envelope? I noticed kasi that our fellow bloggers have an FPGEE certificate. And someone might know the answer. Thanks for such a helpful blog you have created. Fostered communication to aspiring Foreign pharmacy graduates

    • Kristine

      Hi! It needs to be in a sealed envelope with stamp and signature from PRC and another one from your school (transcript and yung cert of grad). :)