Impact of medicinal chemistry integration in Pharm.D. programmes on first-time NAPLEX pass rates


  • Karrie Murphy University of Charleston, Charleston, West Virginia, United States
  • Ron Carico Marhsall Health, Huntington, West Virginia, United States
  • Ashim Malhotra California Northstate, University College of Pharmacy, Elk Grove, California, United States
  • M.O. Faruk Khan University of Charleston, Charleston, West Virginia, United States



Curriculum, Integration, Medicinal chemistry education, NAPLEX pass rate


Objectives: To address the impact of instructing medicinal chemistry in an integrated versus stand-alone fashion on three-year average of first-time NAPLEX (North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination) pass rates of all United States of America Pharmacy programmes.

Methods: A review of each programme’s publicly available curriculum on their official webpage revealed medicinal chemistry as integrated (horizontal or vertical), or standalone course forms. Fisher’s exact and the ANOVA tests were performed to assess the primary outcome and covariates.

Results: Out of a total of 136 eligible programmes, 80 programmes (61.5%) stated that medicinal chemistry content was integrated with other foundational sciences content (‘horizontal integration’), while 38 (29.2%) stated that medicinal chemistry was a standalone course. Medicinal chemistry is integrated with pharmacotherapy courses ('vertically integrated’) in remaining 12 programmes (9.2%).  

Conclusion: A conclusion could not be made regarding the impact of medicinal chemistry instruction on NAPLEX outcome due to other underlying factors; however, this study provided a framework for future research. 


Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (2015). Accreditation standards and guidelines for the professional programme in pharmacy leading to the doctor of pharmacy degree (online). Available at:

Alrasheedy, A.A. (2020). Multidisciplinary integrated pharmacotherapy curriculum in a Doctor of Pharmacy program: educators’ perceptions, views, and perspectives. Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development, 7, 1–10.

Alsharif, N.Z., Shara, M.A., & Roche, V.F. (2001). The structurally based therapeutic evaluation (SBTE) concept: an opportunity for curriculum integration and interdisciplinary teaching. American Journal of Pharmacy Education, 65, 314–323

Alsharif, N.Z., Theesen, K.A., & Roche, V.F. (1997). Structurally based therapeutic evaluation: a therapeutic and practical approach to teaching medicinal chemistry. American Journal of Pharmacy Education, 61(1), 55–60

Beleh, M., Engels, M., & Garcia, G. (2015). Integrating a new medicinal chemistry and pharmacology Course Sequence into the PharmD Curriculum. American Journal of Pharmacy Education, 79(1), 13. Available at:

Bzowyckyj, A., Bradley, B., Cawley, P., Nuziale, B., & White, S. (2021). Adapting a national framework to inform curricular redesign focused on enhancing student clinical competency. Pharmacy, 9(2), 89.

Cooperstein, S.E., & Kocevar-Weidinger, E. (2010). Beyond active learning: a constructivist approach to learning. Reference Services Review, 32(2), 141–148

Fernandes, J.P.S. (2018). The importance of medicinal chemistry knowledge in the clinical pharmacist’s education. American Journal of Pharmacy Education, 82(2), 6083.

Khan, M.O.F., Deimling, M.J., & Philip, A. (2011). Medicinal chemistry and the pharmacy curriculum. American Journal of Pharmacy Education, 75(8), 161

Kulasegaram, K., Manzone, J.C., Ku, C., Skye, A., Wadey, V., & Woods, N.N. (2015). Cause and effect: Testing a mechanism and method for the cognitive integration of basic science. Academic Medicine, 90(11 Suppl), S63-69

Malhotra, A., Reddy, I.K., Fulford, M., Khasawneh, F.T., Tiwari, A.K., & Feng, X. (2021). Strategies for the integration of foundational and clinical sciences in doctor of pharmacy programs. Journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, 1–8.

Medina, M.S., Plaza, C.M., Stowe, C.D., Robinson, E.T., DeLander, G., Beck, D.E., Melchert, R.B., Supernaw, R.B., Roche, V.F., Gleason, B.L., Strong, M. N., Bain, A., Meyer, G.E., Dong, B.J., Rochon, J., & Johnston, P. (2013). Center for the Advancement of Pharmacy Education 2013 educational outcomes. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 77(8), 162.

National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. (n.d.) PCOA Content Areas (online). Available at:

Poirier, T.I., Fan, J., & Nieto, M.J. (2016). Survey of pharmacy schools' approaches and attitudes toward curricular integration. American Journal of Pharmacy Education, 80(6), 96.

Reed, S., Shell, R., Kassis, K., Tartaglia, K., Wallihan, R., Smith, K., Hurtubise, L., Martin, B., Ledford, C., Bradbury, S., Bernstein, H.H., & Mahan, J.D. (2014). Applying adult learning practices in medical education. Current problems in pediatric and adolescent health care, 44(6), 170–181.




How to Cite

Murphy, K., Carico, R., Malhotra, A., & Khan, M. F. (2022). Impact of medicinal chemistry integration in Pharm.D. programmes on first-time NAPLEX pass rates. Pharmacy Education, 22(1), p. 788–794.



Research Article