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Pharmacy – The Right Prescription

“With the increasing number of life saving drugs and techniques, the demand for skilled pharmacy professionals is sky rocketing”

From times immemorial pharmacy has been a subject of medicines, herbals, drugs and therapeutic substances administered for the relief or cure of disease or disorders in human beings or animals. The person who possesses an in-depth knowledge of this subject is none other than a pharmacist, making him an important member n the healthcare team.

Since several decades Intermediate Mathematics students who secured best rank in EAMCET examination choose Engineering courses with Computer Sciences specialization, while those with Biological Sciences background prefer medicine or Dental courses. Now B.pharm course has emerged as one of the most favourite choice for Intermediate students with Mathematics as well as Biological sciences background. In fact B.Pharm is the only course that admits students from both the streams.

Gone are the days when “Pharmacist” used to be dismissed as a “Compounder”. The Pharmacists today is a “Drug Expert”. With the increasing number of life saving drugs and new methods and techniques of manufacture and analysis of drugs, the demand for skilled pharmacy professionals is sky rocketing.

Pharmacy profession is an evergreen profession. At one time a degree in pharmacy was considered as passport for Job and visa to foreign countries. But today it has even grown beyond that. Traditional pursuits such as community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy and consultant practices continue to offer many professional rewards for pharmacists, but increasingly pharmacists are seeking careers in the pharma industry.

Pharma Industry

The pharma Industry in India has achieved spectacular growth since independence. The output has increased several hundred folds. From a production of mere Rs. 10 crore in 1950, it has crossed the Rs.50,000 crore mark in 2006-07. the annual growth of pharma industry in India is about 15%.

India is slowly emerging on its own strength to become a global player in healthcare. Further Andhra Pradesh is the leader in Bulk drug production and drug formulation. Pharma giants like Dr.Reddy’s Hetero Drugs, NATCO Pharma, Aurobindo Pharma, Matrix, Granules India, Divis, Santha Biotech, Bharath Biotech, Biological E, Virchow Labs, Suven Pharma, Gland Pharma, Srk Krishna Drugs, GVK Biosciences, VVS Chemicals, Medirich Labs etc., are situated at Hyderabad. Therefore the job opportunities for pharmacy graduates are more in Andhra Pradesh than anywhere else.

n pharma Industry, a B.Pharm graduate can take up a position in the areas of Manufacture, Quality Control, Assurance, Regulatory Affairs, Formulation, R & D, In-process control, Warehouse etc. Many of the pharmacy professionals, who join as chemists in pharma industry can rise to the positions of Vice-President, Director etc., in due course of time. A pharmacist with managerial skills may also take up suitable positions in the areas of management.

During next 5 years at least 50 major drugs worth of about $60 billion will see the expiry of parent protection in U.S.A.top Indian Pharma companies are now looking towards regulated markets for making their generics and to catch lion’s share in the said markets. The main constraint is the non-availability of trained pharmacy professionals. Thus next decade is considered as golden era for pharmacy profession.

Drug Control Department

Central and state Government appoint Drug Inspectors for implementation of Drugs and Cosmetics Act and other related Acts and Rules. Manufacture, sale, distribution and import of drugs and cosmetics and regulated in accordance with the Drug and Cosmetics Act. Implementation, enforcement of this Act & Rules require a host of Drug Inspectors, Drug Controllers and other regulatory officials. A pharmacy graduate alone is eligible to become Drug Inspector.

In view of Dr.Mashelkar’s report on the menace of spurious drugs, the drugs control machinery at the Centre as well as at the state levels are likely to be expanded very soon and several thousands of Drug Inspectors posts are in the offering.

To test the drugs and cosmetics picked up for analysis for the Drug Inspectors and drug control officials, at least one Drug Testing Laboratory is attached to every state Drugs Control Department. A pharmacy graduate is the most preferred person to take up the job as junior analyst in the said laboratories.

Hospital or Clinical Pharmacy :

A pharmacist in a hospital provides non-conventional pharmaceutical care that includes drug information, patient counseling , patient medication, adverse drug reaction monitoring, medication chart monitoring etc.,Hence a clinical pharmacist is an integral part of the healthcare team in a hospital.

Several foreign clinical research organizations have already started their operations in India and many more are in pipeline. According to reliable estimates about 50000 clinical pharmacists are required in next few years.

Community pharmacy

In India we very often refer community pharmacy as Retails Pharmacy. In U.S.A. and other European countries more than 70% pharmacy graduates work in community pharmacies or drug stores. The pharmacist in a drug store is involved in planning, procuring and dispensing of drugs in addition to patients counseling. It is interesting to note that a considerable percentage of Drug stores in the U.S.A are now owned by Indian Pharmacy graduates especially by pharmacists from Andhra Pradesh. In India also many reputed Indian companies and few multinationals have started chain of retail pharmacies.

Research and Development

Pharma Research and Development is another exciting area. Many Indian pharma companies like Dr.Reddy’s NATCO Pharma, Hetero Drugs, Aurabindo Pharma, Ranbaxy, Cipla, Cadilla, Divis, Santha Biotech, Lupin, Matrix, Wockhardt, Suven, Nectar,Glenmark, Virchow, Bharat Biotech, Gland Pharma, Sun Pharma etc., having excellent R & D facilities. Several thousands of qualified pharmacists are required to fulfil the needs of Indian pharma R & D. Further several multinational are planning to start their own R&D Centres in India.

Teaching in Educational Institutes:

Career in the field of pharmaceutical education is one of the most important facets of pharmacy, which combine teaching with research and sometimes with administrative activities. Pharmacy graduate are eligible to teach in Diploma in pharmacy colleges whereas M.Pharm qualification is very much essential to teach B.Pharm students.

Entrepreneurship:

Establishment of a new pharma Industry is another challenging area. Pharma Industry is one of the faster growing Industries in India. Young, enthusiastic and experienced pharmacists can make a mark with their entrepreneurial skills and establish their own pharma Industries. Most of the present-day reputed gigantic pharma industries in India were once started with very modest beginning by dynamic young Indian Pharmacists.

Pharmaceutical Marketing

A young pharmacist with pleasing personality, good communication skills and impressive behavior may take up a career in drug marketing. Many Indian Pharma companies prefer pharmacy graduates while in certain countries it is mandatory that all the Pharma sales personnel must be pharmacy graduates. Experienced pharmacists, who are well versed with regulatory requirements of foreign countries can also enter into export departments.

Opportunities abroad:

A pharmacy graduate has ample opportunities in USA and other developed countries. To pursue further education in USA, UK, Australia, Canada etc., B.Pharm is the course of choice. To study in USA one has to appear for GRE(Graduate Record Examination) and TOEFL (Test of English as Foreign Language). Several foreign universities offer studentships and financial assistance to many foreign students, who pursue post-graduation. Those who intend to enter into community pharmacy have to pass Pharmacy equivalence examinations like NAPLEX and FPGEE.

Drug Testing Laboratories:

A pharmacy graduate may opt for working in a Drug Testing Laboratory or he himself can start his own Approved Drug Testing Laboratory. In Andhra Pradesh there are several reputed approved Drug Testing Laboratories like SIPRA Labs, Vimta Labs, Chemi Labs, Rite Aid Labs, PRK Pharma analyst, ASHCO analytical Services, Star Chem Labs, Tina Labs, Sri Chem Labs etc.,

Other opportunities:

There are several opportunities for a pharmacy graduate in pharma Journalism too. A pharmacist can also serve as Technical Advisor or consultant for project funding agencies like WHO, World Bank, Nationalized banks, Financial Institutions etc.,

Thus pharmacy course assures a very bright future with better prospectus. Hence a four-year B.Pharm course is more demanding and more rewarding.

Details of Pharmacy Colleges:

Pharmacy Education is regulated and controlled by pharmacy Council of India (PCI) and All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). There are 690 pharmacy colleges in India with an annual intake of 37,800 students. In Andhra Pradesh there are 112 pharmacy colleges with an annual in take of 6215 students.

Fee Structure:

A student selected by EAMCET counseling has to pay a fee of Rs.26000/- per year whereas fee payable by students under management quota is Rs.79000/- per year.

Good faculty and committed management are the basic minimum requirements in addition to the good infrastructure for imparting quality education. Therefore students are advised to verify the credentials of the Institute before they decide to join in the same. Students are also advised to verity whether the college is recognized by PCI or not. Further students should also verify the minority status of the college before they take up admission. In AP there are 18 Christian minority pharmacy colleges with 1080 seats and 9 Muslim minority colleges with 442 seats and one sikh minority college with 60 intake.

It is heartening to note that pharmacy education is keeping pace with increase in the demand for pharmacy professionals. Anther exciting development of late is setting up of institutes by popular pharma Industries like NATCO pharma for imparting professionally advanced pharmaceutical education to bridge the gap between industry and academy and to ensure that our pharmacists rise to the level of future global leaders. Hence a career in pharmacy unfolds and opens multiple avenues to the dreamland of employment.



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