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PDA criticises RPS for warning over mock exam file-sharing

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association has blasted the Royal Pharmaceutical Society after it warned thousands of students against sharing mock exam papers.

The RPS told C+D earlier this month (July 5) that it had sent an email to “over 2,100” pre-registration students warning them that permission is required to “use any RPS material”, after some students shared its mock registration exam papers on file-sharing site Dropbox.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) was investigating the matter "upon the request of other training providers", the RPS said in its email.

Last week (July 14), the PDA posted its letter to the RPS on its own website, in which it said it was "extremely concerned" about the "strongly worded" email the RPS had sent to students.

The PDA acknowledged situations could arise in which RPS staff "involved in the preparation of mock exam materials may become upset if students circulate them".

However, it stressed that the tone and nature of the RPS’s warning to students was “wrong”, and implying that the matter could be subject to an investigation by the regulator was “neither warranted nor appropriate”, the PDA said.

GPhC reaction "unsurprising"

Since the RPS contacted students, the GPhC had clarified that it will not be investigating the matter further, which the PDA said was "unsurprising".

But some students are “frustrated” that the RPS appeared to “simply threaten them with regulatory activity to cause alarm, knowing there were no real grounds upon which this would proceed”, it said.

The PDA said it had reassured its student members that they would be given the union’s “full support” in the “unlikely event” that any regulatory activity should arise.

RPS response

The RPS told C+D yesterday (July 18) that it had written to the PDA in response to the letter.

In its own letter, seen by C+D, the RPS accepted that the wording used in its email to students “could have been improved”. It apologised for any concern caused by the content of the email, and stressed that this was “not our intention”.

The RPS’s aim was to encourage pre-registration students to “check with training providers first before sharing materials, rather than assuming this was condoned”, it added.

The RPS “has not and will not” be contacting the regulator over the issue, it stressed.

Do you agree with the PDA?

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Old RPSGB habits die hard: when the membership 'steps out of line' - threaten them.  

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

I fully recognise the need to have boundaries, some form of regulation etc but the RPS is, as stated above, completely overstepping what is sensible. how do they expect to gain members when they treat people like this?(not that I would join anyway...)

They should, by now, have a list of acievements for the profession that they could trumpet to attract membership - where is it? what have they done that helps me right this minute? what piece of paperwork have they got rid of/ prevented, how is decriminalisation going? - see I'm a comedian really....

When they start making a difference to the daily lives of PHARMACISTS (not the RPS) they may start to attract more members until then no chance.

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

RPS showing (again) how completely out of touch they are with the modern world... Perhaps they'll be succesful in putting an end to file sharing, where the big movie companies, software giants, etc. have failed miserably. Now excuse me while I put my feet up and watch the Homeland box set I downloaded illegally...

H Gokul, Community pharmacist

The people who have got to the top have usurped power, become bully boys and are creating a climate of fear. There is no respect for the profession. 40 years  of community service and I see a reversion by ''the authorities'' to try and control by usurping power


Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

Respect is a mutual arrangement. By sharing (possibly) copyright material, or at the very least, material for which they had no permission to share, these students were showing a lack of respect for the RPS. I understand and appreciate that, with the various applications available, it is easy to distribute information easily and cheaply but that does not make it right.  

Honest Tikes, Sales

RPS-----sam old arrogant attitude it displayed for years before it became a voluntary refuge for the vanity brigade and their need for post nominals.They didn't respect the membership then and it appears they don't respect the future membership.Give them a wide berth


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