The South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC) has resolved to introduce continuing professional development (CPD) for pharmacists and other persons registered with the Council who have completed the relevant qualification required for purposes of registration. Pharmacist interns are required to submit a minimum of eight CPD entries as part of their pre-registration evaluation. Pharmacist's assistants who are still undergoing training are currently excluded from the requirements relating to CPD. A web based system has been developed and registered persons must use the system to record their CPD activities following the CPD cycle.

It is a professional obligation for pharmacists and pharmacy support personnel to remain informed about the profession in scientific, social, political and legal terms and to maintain a level of competence sufficient to provide pharmaceutical services, including pharmaceutical care, effectively and efficiently. CPD must address emerging health needs and be relevant to the health priorities of the country.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) can be defined as ongoing learning, or means by which persons maintains, broadens and improves their professional competence throughout t their working life. SAPC’s intention is mainly to ensure that persons registered remain committed to being professionals, keeping up to date and continuously seeking to improve their knowledge and optimising themselves on their career opportunities, both current and for future endeavours/undertakings. CPD enables registered persons to develop in their area of practice and demonstrate competence.

Pharmacists and pharmacist's assistants are health care professionals whose professional responsibilities include seeking to ensure that people derive maximum therapeutic benefit from their treatment with medicines. This obligation requires them to keep abreast of developments in pharmacy practice and the pharmaceutical sciences, professional standards requirements, the laws governing pharmacy and medicines and advances in knowledge and technology relating to the use of medicines. This can only be achieved by an individual's personal commitment to continuing professional development.

Patients have a right to be confident that all professionals providing health care remain competent throughout their professional working lives. The mandate for the Council as the regulatory authority is to protect the public. Council must ensure that registered persons undertake CPD to maintain their competence. CPD will assist Council to identify pharmacy personnel who have been unable to maintain their competence to practise. Implementation of CPD will improve the knowledge and skills of registered persons, and improve the quality.

All persons registered with the Council who have completed the relevant qualification and who perform any one or more of the functions which fall within the scope of practice of the category in which they are registered. All registered persons who perform any one or more of the functions relating to the scope of practice of a pharmacist or pharmacist's assistant as laid down in the Regulations relating to the practice of pharmacy published in terms of the Pharmacy Act 53 of 1974 must comply with the requirements relating to CPD as determined by the SAPC.

Continuing professional development will be regulated in terms of the Pharmacy Act, 1974. A set of regulations entitled Regulations relating to continuing professional development for persons registered in terms of the Pharmacy Act will be published. Consequential amendments may need to be made to other sets of regulations or rules e.g. the Rules relating to acts or omissions in respect of which the Council may take disciplinary steps and the Regulations relating to the registration of persons and the maintenance of registers to accommodate the CPD process. Mandatory recording of CPD activities by registered persons will be enforceable after final approval of this regulatory framework by government.