OBJECTIVES: To evaluate pharmacists' opinions on the need for Arabic in pharmacy education and practice in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). METHODS: A questionnaire was developed to address the study objectives and hand delivered to a stratified sample of community pharmacists and a convenience sample of pharmacists in other areas of practice in the UAE. Pharmacists' responses were measured on a 5-point Likert-type scale (strongly disagree to strongly agree) towards teaching of the following topics in Arabic: management of chronic diseases and minor ailments, screening for diseases and counselling on smoking cessation, exercise, weight management, diet and nutrition and complementary/alternative medicine. Topics related to communication skills were also assessed. Descriptive statistics on participant responses were calculated and chi-square test of independence examined inter-relationships among pharmacist and pharmacy variables. KEY FINDINGS: A total of 351 pharmacists completed the questionnaire. Almost 50% of pharmacists considered Arabic in health sciences education a cultural and/or practice necessity. In pharmacy undergraduate curricula, preferred topics to be taught in Arabic included counselling on complementary/alternative medicine (67.4%), management of cold/flu (65.5%), counselling on weight management (64.2%), communication in special situations (63.2%), vocabulary (63.2%) and listening and empathic responding (62.6%). For continuing education, topics included management of cold/flu (69.8%) and skin conditions (69.2%), counselling on smoking cessation (68.9%), communicating with physicians and other professionals (54.8%), communication in special situations (54.7%) and vocabulary (50.9%). CONCLUSIONS: For all assessed topics and communication skills, more than half of the pharmacists agreed that they needed to be included in pharmacy education. A blended learning approach that combines integrated content for native language within an English curriculum could be explored. © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Pharmaceutical Society. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: email@example.com.