Pharmacy is a versatile, dynamic, growing, and increasingly diverse profession, one which creates an excitement because there are so many opportunities for service. It is an age old profession which has transformed into a hub for “Global Healthcare” and evolved as a multidisciplinary and multifaceted field in recent times. With the phenomenal rate of advances in the pharmaceutical industry, the health sector has thrown open a sea of opportunities for pharmacy professionals..
Pharmacists work in a wide variety of health care setting: in the pharmaceutical industry (carrying out a wide range of activities- from R & D to manufacturing to quality control, packaging, quality assurance, etc.), in practice settings (hospital & community i.e retail pharmacy), in academics, regulatory affairs, clinical research.
Pharmacists are health care professionals whose professional responsibilities include seeking to ensure that people derive maximum therapeutic benefit from their treatments with medicines.
Pharmacists represent the 3rd largest healthcare professional group in the world, and in India today there are around 8 Lakh pharmacists, working in various positions, applying their unique knowledge and skills, contributing to the health of the nation.
Pharmacists perform these various function either by themselves, or take help of various personal/technical (skilled, unskilled), sales persons, and other support staff. Pharmacists are responsible for training & supervision of these personnel at different levels.
Global pharmaceutical companies are establishing long term relationships with Indian pharmaceutical companies and the contract manufacturing affiliates in India, in addition to establishing manufacturing, R & D and marketing bases. Low cost R& D services, bulk drug availability, finished formulation manufacture and clinical trials with FDA approved facilities for the complete range of services for drug development, accompanied by skilled professional human resources are the major attractions for these companies.
Ayurveda, India’s traditional system of medicine is also fast re-developing in the country & worldwide. There is a constantly increasing demand for ayurvedic & herbal medicines/products. India has the knowledge base, the skills, and a topography that ensures a vast resource of medicinal plants. Thus, it is the focus of manufacture and export of ayurvedic and herbal medicines across the world. In India, there are several hundreds of ayurvedic manufacturers, from small scale to very large companies, totaling more than a billion dollars of sales per year. Pharmacists are in large demand in this skills and knowledge in different areas of manufacture, testing, quality assurance, documentation and marketing.
In the pharmaceutical industry, Pharmacists perform tasks in various departments/sections:
AREA OF PHARMA INDUSTRY- Hands on/ supervisory role of Pharmacists
|RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT||Drug discovery, reverse engineering, formulation and process development, up scaling, from pilot to manufacture, troubleshooting, stability, packaging development.|
|PRODUCTION/ MANUFACTURING||Production /manufacture of bulk drugs & intermediates, finished medicines, vaccines & other biological products, veterinary medicines, ayurvedic medicines, diagnostic products & medical devices.|
|PACKAGIHG||Various stages of packaging of pharmaceuticals.|
|QUALITY CONTROL||Product testing throughout the life cycle of the drug and finished product (from raw materials, packing material to finished goods/ stability, etc.)|
|SALES AND MARKETING||Strategic planning, team management and marketing of pharmaceuticals.
Working as a medical representative.
|REGULATORY AFFAIRS||Preparing, reviewing, communicating, submitting registration documents on pharmaceuticals to regulatory agencies to get R & d, testing, production & marketing approvals, Issus related to patents.|
Pharmacy education in India has undergone significant changes in the last couple of decades.
India has the unique distinction that the 1st Pharmacy College in Asia was started in Goa – India, in the 1842, by the Portuguese. In 1932, Prof. Mahadev Lal Schroff (called as the Father of Pharmacy Education in India) started a Pharmacy college/department at the Banaras Hindu University. Since then, picture has changed drastically, and in the last couple of decades, we have seen a tremendous rise in the number of Pharmacy colleges spread across the country, considering the huge demand for the same.
The Pharmacy council of India has given out an advisory to all students aspiring to pursue any course in Pharmacy for the purpose of registration as a pharmacist under the Pharmacy Act, 1948, that they should first ensure that the particular institution which they intend to join has been recognized/ approved by the pharmacy council of India for the conduct of the course of study (approved u/s 12 of Pharmacy Act, 1948).
Pharmacy education includes a blend of theory and practical classes and examinations, beside including or hospital/ community training of varying periods depending on the course selected.
Formal pharmacy education began even prior to Independence. Soon after Independence, the Pharmacy Act, 1948 was enacted to regulate the profession of pharmacy.
The pharmaceutical industry in India is one of the largest and most advanced among the developing countries. Besides providing employment to millions, it ensures that essential drugs are available at affordable price to the population of India.
Till many decades ago the basic function of the pharmacy was of compounding (i.e. preparing extemporaneous preparations) and dispensing (giving of medicines across the counter).
Pharmaceutical care is responsible provision of the drug therapy for the purpose of achieving definite outcomes that improve or maintain patients’ quality of life.
There around 5 Lakh pharmacies (chemists & Druggists, Medical Stores) in India in almost every nook and corner of the country. There friendly neighborhood pharmacies are doing human service to the nation by providing quick services and medicines to the public through the day and even at odd hours.
Hospital pharmacy is defined as practice of pharmacy inside a hospital a hospital close to the patient in an environment where doctors, nurses and other health care professionals interact with the pharmacists on matters related to medicines, surgical and other patient care items required.
With the introduction of a Masters course in “Pharmacy Practice” more than a decade ago clinical services in the hospitals, especially in southern India have geared up.
Pharmacists as teachers have various roles to play in the teaching institutions/ pharmacy colleges: teaching students and also carry out continuing up gradation and research work liaison with industry and pharmacy practice settings for overall development and promotion of pharmacy.
Pharmacists work in the Drug Control Department in various sections. The CDSCO (Central Drugs Standard Drug Control Organization) (www.cdsco.nic.in) is the central body in India for drug control, and each state of the country has its own Drug Control Department having local jurisdiction.
Clinical Research Organization (CROs) in India is well into the playing field of clinical research worldwide. Clinical research offers ample job opportunities and estimated to be worth close to Rs.100 plus cores today.