The North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) Pass Rate Conundrum

Hope H. Brandon, Frank Romanelli

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

1 Scopus citations


As first-time pass rates on the North American Pharmacy Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) continue to decrease, pharmacy educators are left questioning the dynamics causing the decline and how to respond. Institutional and student factors both influence first-time NAPLEX pass rates. Pharmacy schools established before 2000, those housed within an academic medical center, and public rather than private schools have been associated with tendencies toward higher first-time NAPLEX pass rates. However, these factors alone do not sufficiently explain the issues surrounding first-time pass rates. Changes to the NAPLEX blueprint may also have influenced first-time pass rates. The number of existing pharmacy schools combined with decreasing numbers of applicants and influences from the COVID-19 pandemic should also be considered as potential causes of decreased first-time pass rates. In this commentary, factors associated with first-time NAPLEX pass rates are discussed along with some possible responses for the Academy to consider.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100701
JournalAmerican Journal of Pharmaceutical Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy


  • Acceptance rate
  • North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX)
  • Pass rate
  • Pharmacy education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Pharmacy
  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics


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