Pharmacy Education in India: Past, Present and Future

Pharmacy education in India has undergone significant change in last couple of decades. In India, the profession of pharmacy is still in its developing stages and is yet to bloom to its fullest extent. Here the pharmacist performs job of a drug seller and does not practice the profession independently and depends on a doctor who is the decision maker. To cater to these needs presently, B. Pharm. and M. Pharm. is available and D. Pharm. being the minimum requirement. But all these higher courses are regular courses and the practicing pharmacist may not getanopportunityto attend the college. With advancement in every field, the profession of pharmacy has also witnessed tremendous changes. The community expects more professional services from pharmacists and not as just drug sellers. India being one of the developing

Best College for B.Pharm in Delhi NCR

countries is yet to meet the needs of people as basic education, health, hygieneetc. Most of our people live in rural areas and do not have basic facilities such as primary health centers, clinics or even approach roads. This rural population including the urban population needs multifarious activities from pharmacists.

A Flashback: Germination of Pharmacy Education

The history of pharmacy education in India is as old as when the country was being gravitated towards British Emperorship. A wind of revolution had been started to innovate something different in the education system of Indian Medical Services. Up to the middle of the nineteenth century, the pharmaceutical education and training remained in a state of neglect. The scenario of pharmacy practice was pathetic. The dispensing of prescriptions continued to be carried out by compounders, who had a low level of preliminary training and education. The seed of the pharmacy education in India was sown first by Medical College, Madras in 1860. Steps were taken to start pharmacy classes to impart pharmaceutical skills for the students qualifying for medical degrees or diploma or hospital assistanceship. The steps proved to be useful for the students intending to qualify as chemist and druggists. Broadly it was copying the practice as it prevailed at the time in Britain. The classes continued with increase of the duration of study to 2 years and entry qualification being made matriculation in due course. In the middle of the nineteenth century these professionals got scientifically educated and trained. The pharmacy education in India was going to pass through a mutation when the founder of Banaras Hindu University Mahayana Pt. Madan Mohan Malviyamet Prof. M.L. Schroffand Mahamana offered him to join B.H.U. By the nontiring efforts of Prof. Schroff in July 1937 Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Pharmacognosy were introduced as the subjects for B.Sc. degree. Since then there has been no looking back. Pharmacy came to be recognized as a well-established course with fruitful outcomes.

Current Scenario

Pharmaceutical education plays a very prominent role in attaining sustainable and equitable development of a country There is no doubt that currently there is enormous gapexisting between education and practice of pharmacy. The overall basis of pharmacy education is still extrabiologicalsynthesis, physicochemical studies, analysis, and manufacturing aspects of drug. Pharmacy as a nascent science developed like this in the last century. During 1940s and 50s, hospitals and industries were established in large numbers in India. Consequently, pharmacists and pharmaceutical chemists were required in huge numbers. Hence pharmacy education was developed in such away to satisfy the requirement of industry and hospital. Short-term compounders and or D. Pharm. course to satisfy the needs of hospital and medical shops and B. Pharm. course for the industry were started. In the West, pharmacy education is patient-oriented and is responsible for Healthcare Management, while in India pharmacy education is industry-oriented. Nearly 55 per cent of the jobs are available in the industry sector while 30 per cent in education. There are only three per cent jobs in healthcare.

Control of Pharmacy Education by the PCI

The PCI controls and regulates the standards for a better pharmacy education in India. The main aims of PCI are:

  • To prescribe minimum standard of education required for qualifying as a pharmacist i.e. framing of Education Regulations prescribing the conditions to be fulfilled by the institutions seeking approval of the PCI for imparting education in pharmacy.

  • To ensure uniform implementation of the educational standards throughout the country.

  • To approve the courses of study and examination for pharmacists i.e. approval of the academic training institutions providing pharmacy courses. The curriculum of pharmacy education has been designed to produce the following professional categories of pharmacists.

  • Community and hospital pharmacists who will work as an important link between doctor and patient and will counsel the patient on various facets of drugs like usage, side effects, indication, contra-indications, compatibilities, in-compatibilities, storage, dosage etc.

  • Specialist in research and development i.e. research of new drug molecules, biotechnical research etc.

  • Occupational specialist (industrial pharmacist engaged in pharmaceutical technology) i.e. manufacture of various dosage forms, analysis and quality control, clinical trials, post-marketing surveillance, patent application and drug registration, sales and marketing.

  • Academicians i.e. Teachers of Pharmacy education.

  • Manager and Administrators of Pharmaceutical Services working for various regulatory authorities and pharmaceutical systems.

  • Chemists and Druggists engaged in selling of medicines.

Future: An Overview

In the future, drug treatment will be increasingly and confidently tailored to the individual through the help of specific diagnostics. Many new drugs will be given parent rally and targeted for specific diseases. The pharmacists will need to adapt to this changing pattern in order to be seen by the patient as part of health care team. However in spite of many lacunae in pharmacy education system, the fact cannot be overlooked that tremendous development in the field of new drug discovery and research activities, has taken place. Research centers attached with pharmaceutical institutions have played a major role in this regard. Notable among them are BRNCRC, Mandsaur; TIFAC CORE in JSS College of Pharmacy,Ooty; TIFAC CORE and ACCUNOVA in Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences,Manipal and many more. These steps taken at present to upgrade the pharmacy education must be maintained for proper development and utilization of the course.


Overall, the education system is based not only on infrastructure but also on the teachers, immorality and mismanagement has taken over education. Pharmacy teachers, have to regulate themselves, update their knowledge, deliver excellence and inspire students by adapting values, time management is the other factor that they must bring in their own personality. Education, which they have to deliver, must be of highest standard so that the upcoming pharmacists should not be a liability, but should be able to deliver excellence at national and international levels. “Success can not be harvested until and unless its seed is sown”