The first Pakistani pharmacist in northern Germany

Ali Asad Sulehria hails from Lahore, the second largest city in Pakistan. After graduating from IUBH, he relocated to Sandkrug in Lower Saxony to begin his career as a pharmacist. Despite the differences between Germany and his native country, he has come to feel at home here and want to open his own pharmacy in the future.

 

For me, IUBH is a true international melting-pot

Having already received a Pharm-D in Pakistan (equivalent to a bachelor’s degree), my next goal was to combine theory with practice in order to develop a career in Pharmaceutical Marketing. Due to the practice-oriented ethos of the university, I opted to pursue the M.A. in International Marketing and Management at IUBH. My decision was also influenced by the fact that Germany is home to some of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world, for example Merck and Bayer, where I subsequently completed internships.

For me, IUBH is a true international melting-pot, bringing together students and professors from all over the world. I found the varied nature of the classroom exchanges and interactions with other students to be very useful in expanding my personal horizons. Studying at IUBH was the right decision, not only because it helped me develop my theoretical knowledge, but also due to the opportunity to earn solid practical experience via the internships.

The most stressful period of my life

Per German state regulations, non-EU pharmacists must take an additional test in order to practise in Germany. Similar to the third state exam, this one consists of two parts: the proficiency exam and the equivalency exam. Once I’d passed the language exam in August 2017, I received a provisional pharmacy licence that allowed me to start practising under the supervision of a registered German pharmacist. While studying for the equivalency exam, I completed two more internships in different pharmacies. Of all the challenges I’ve overcome in my life, this was the toughest. This was as a result to many factors, but most especially the language (the exam was in German) and the necessity of learning German pharmacy law. Both mentally and emotionally, it was certainly the most stressful period of my life so far. Yet somehow, I managed to pass the exam on the initial attempt and became the first Pakistani pharmacist in northern Germany (and the second in Germany as a whole). Therefore, I want to thank my mother and relatives for praying me to pass the exam and then in addition to this I would like to thank my mentor Pascal Polosek for helping me regarding the preparation of the exam.

My dream is to open my own pharmacy

The job in Sandkrug I found very quickly, because the demand for pharmacists in Germany is very large. I chose this city because I found it very quiet and peaceful. Sandkrug is the exact opposite of my hometown of Lahore, with more than 11 million inhabitants, but I feel very comfortable here. I do not have a long commute, everyone knows me and the patients are not in a hurry, so I have enough time to talk to them about the right medication and the interactions of the different medications. I have also recently completed a training as a medication analyst. That means I can pass on recommendations to the doctor when I notice drug interactions in a prescription. This is a very interesting job.

I am planning to do a specialization as a specialist pharmacist, because in the future I would like to open my own pharmacy and would then additionally open an on-line pharmacy. But right now I just want to work as a pharmacist for a few more years and learn more about this business. Incidentally, in my spare time, I still have a blog on Instagram called Pharmacist_Asad_ Sulehria. In this way, I try to advise my followers and educate about the various medications. So I try to combine my offline job with the online world.

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