Objective: To investigate whether particular courses in modern pharmacy curriculum equips enrolled students with knowledge/skills to differentiate between different claims of weight loss products. Methods: Claims from weight loss products in UAE market were identified and classified to three categories: indicating safety, indicating effectiveness or indicating convenience. They were assessed in a structured survey for the level of persuasion to undergraduate BSc Pharmacy students (n=199) in the College of Pharmacy (CP) in comparison to other undergraduate students (n= 44) from the College of Education (CE) in a University located at Al Ain city, UAE to adopt or recommend the product to their friends. The effect of the particular courses, namely Drug Information and Literature Evaluation (DI) and/or Research Skills (RS), on the level of persuasion was investigated. Results: A trend showing more CP students favoring the different statements was noted particularly if the drug was approved by the FDA (95% confidence interval (CI) 49.9%-63.7%) and being a prescription drug (95% CI 57.6%-71.0%). Moreover, CP students were more distinctive in favoring the different statements, however students’ enrollment in DI and/or RS courses did not demonstrate tangible effect. Conclusion: DI and RS that teach pharmacy students to be conservative in accepting claims failed to yield the expected results. DI course should tackle practical issues such as the one in this study. The integrated didactic courses with experiential components that focus on wellness may also offer an alternative or additional solution. Future similar studies should focus on students exiting the pharmacy program to eliminate some confounding factors.
Key words: Critical Thinking, Drug Information and Literature Evaluation, FDA Approval, Integrated Courses, Obesity, Research Skills.