Prescriptions and prejudices: Pharmacy students’ experiences of racism

Pharmacy students detail their encounters with over-the-counter racism

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“Many of my colleagues are kind, generous, sincere people but I wouldn’t expect them to understand racism the way that it is experienced by people of colour.”

Inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter movement, I recently interviewed eleven other pharmacy students of colour in Ireland and published an article detailing the racism they have faced, and are still facing, in college, placement, workplace and beyond. The article also highlighted some systemic and policy challenges within the pharmacy profession and the bigger healthcare picture in Ireland that need to be overcome to achieve racial equity.

Since the publication, it has received significant tractions from students, practitioners, academics to leaders, especially within the pharmacy community in Ireland. As racism is an issue that is, and should be, of interest to the Laidlaw community, I thought I would share this piece of work with you. It is an achievement of a collective effort, which I hope you will find interesting and thought-provoking. For those of you who are also from a minority background, I sincerely hope that the article will resonate with you. I hope that you will find some comfort in it and that you will be inspired.

Published in Trinity News, an independent newspaper of Trinity College Dublin, you can read the article here:

Let me know what you think! I would love to hear your thoughts. Drop a line too if you would like to have a chat! :)

All good wishes,


Aaron Koay

PhD Scholar in Population Health & Human Factors | Pharmacist, Trinity College Dublin

I am a PhD Scholar in Population Health and Human Factors at Trinity College Dublin. For my PhD, I am exploring household medication practices and safety vulnerabilities in laypeople through the lens of systems thinking. I am also a qualified pharmacist in Ireland. I have a strong interest in (health) equity, global health, population health, health services research and global development practice. For my Laidlaw research project, I investigated the therapeutic potential of a natural-occurring vitamin called ergothioneine, mostly found in mushrooms, on the development of idiopathic and bleomycin-induced lung scarring in lung cells. Beyond that, I have had extensive research experiences across medical humanities, plant metabolomics and pharmacy practice. During my free time, you'll most likely find me practising yoga and meditation in my room! If you're interested to have a chat about anything, don't hesitate to drop me a line! Look forward to hearing from you! :)