The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has warned pharmacy students that the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology risks charges of plagiarism and misconduct.

In its October 2023 student newsletter, the PDA highlighted a ‘concerning rise’ in the number of students using AI programmes – such as ChatGPT and QuillBot – to write or enhance assessments.

Having observed the trend through case work and speaking to members teaching at university, the PDA warned that the practice amounts to plagiarism.

The newsletter states: ‘Students must be the author of their own work or face the university’s disciplinary process and a potential fitness to practise investigation.

‘Plagiarism is a breach of trust and your professional integrity. We strongly advise students to ensure their work is their own and not to use AI programmes to enhance their work.’

PDA education and casework officer Dr Cheryl Smyth, who supports PDA student members in cases of misconduct, has expressed concern that the use of AI will see more students accused of misconduct and having to face fitness to practise hearings.

Dr Smith said: ‘It is imperative that students react to any allegations in the correct manner, being honest and open and admitting if they have used AI to enhance their work.

‘If students react in this way, the outcome is always more favourable.’