International Experiences in Pharmacy: Italy

Fourth-year PharmD Student Franco Marzella Completed the Rotation at a 700-Year-Old Italian University this Summer.
“Anytime you see a different pharmacy system, it is valuable as you can mesh the cultures and perspectives to come up with new solutions."

While many pharmacy students’ rotations are completed in the United States, a few take their learning overseas.

For Franco Marzella, a PharmD program year four student (PY4; pictured above in a blue polo) at the College of Pharmacy, he had a once-in-a-lifetime experience spending twelve weeks in central Italy on a ten-week rotation this summer.

In partnership with Duquesne University, a Pittsburgh, PA school with close ties to Italy, Marzella studied at the University of Perugia. Founded in 1308, this time-honored institution is highly regarded as a prestigious international college of pharmacy. Its teaching hospital houses 800 beds, encouraging strong collaboration between health professionals. Medical students completing their “specializzazione,” or residency, work closely with pharmacy students to bolster knowledge of advanced clinical pharmacy practices.

Marzella’s goal in pursuing this rotation was to increase diversity in his professional perspective. “Italian pharmacy is completely different from our pharmacy practice in terms of reimbursement and clinical viewpoint,” Marzella said. “Perugia offers many innovative practice techniques that are important to learn, observe, and hopefully incorporate into practice in the United States.”

In Italy, pharmacy is based on a public health care system. This allows community pharmacists to fully engage with patients, eliminating the need to work with insurance companies. Marzella hopes to use this patient-centered approach in his future career in hospital pharmacy or managed care. “Anytime you see a different pharmacy system, it is valuable as you can mesh the cultures and perspectives to come up with new solutions."

This intercontinental rotation is structured for two-way exchange – UA College of Pharmacy students can travel to Perugia and Italian students can travel to the college in Arizona. Students interested in this rotation should contact COP’s international coordinator, Dr. Katz. Special thanks to Dr. Maura Marinozzi, Erasmus Coordinator at the University of Perugia, who helped make this rotation possible.