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Ramesh Shankar
Wednesday, December 7, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Way back in 2008, the country’s pharmacy education regulator, the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) introduced the Doctor of Pharmacy, better known as Pharm D, programme in the country with the main objective of imparting the necessary training and skill to undertake pharmacy practice in the field of patient care. The curriculum was designed to produce clinically competent pharmacists who can assume expanded responsibilities in patient care and assure the provision of rational drug therapy. The government introduced this 6-year course as the role of a pharmacist has been undergoing major changes world over in the wake of notable progress made by the pharmaceutical science and education. And India was no exception. It is true that a pharmacist is a vital link in the physician-patient chain and he is expected to play a key role in the dissemination of pharmaceutical knowledge. In India, although pharmaceutical industry has advanced over the last around four decades, the pharmacist continues to be a salesman in a retail pharmacy. The Pharm D was introduced in such a background to change this image by raising the standards of pharmacy education to produce world class pharmacists. At present, hundreds of colleges are offering Pharm D programme and the number of graduates in the country is increasing every year. But, it is a pity that the euphoria created over this course is petering out as these graduates are finding it difficult to get proper jobs after studying for six long years and spending a huge amount as fees. Countries like US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, Ireland and even Ethiopia have recognised well reputed courses like Pharm D and clinical pharmacists are an integral part of the healthcare system in these countries and they work along with physicians and nurses efficiently. But in India, the job prospects for the Pharm D graduates have been far and few between as the government did not create a cadre to them, though they fall under Clinical Pharmacist cadre.

It was under this background, the PCI introduced Pharmacy Practice (Amendment) Regulations, 2021 by amending the PPR 2015 on June 30, 2021 notifying Pharm D as the basic qualification for clinical pharmacist post. Through this amendment, the working relationship of a clinical pharmacist has been defined wherein the qualification criteria, scope and complexity of work as well as duties and responsibilities of the clinical pharmacist has been mentioned. A clinical pharmacist is supposed to provide patient care that optimizes the use of medication and promotes health, wellness and disease prevention. He or she cares for patients in all healthcare settings and often collaborate with physicians and other healthcare professionals. There is strong evidence that this is a safe, convenient and cost-effective solution to address the healthcare needs of the nation. In countries like the US, UK, New Zealand, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Spain, Brazil, Egypt, Portugal, Ireland, etc, pharmacists are allowed to immunize, reissue prescriptions for long-term conditions. In most cases, a doctor makes a diagnosis and initiates treatment and a care plan is shared with the pharmacists. It is an irony that while the government introduced Pharm D to create world class pharmacists, it is not utilising their services. It is sad that even though it is more than a year since the PCI notified the post of clinical pharmacist with Pharm D as basic qualification, the Union Health Ministry is yet to come out with a legal framework enabling the states to create the post of clinical pharmacist in healthcare settings across the country. Recently, there were reports that the Maharashtra government is gearing up to create a post of clinical pharmacist in government hospitals as per the Pharmacy Practice (Amendment) Regulations, 2021. Certainly, it is the much awaited light at the end of the tunnel for the Pharm D graduates. But, the Union Health Ministry must direct other states to follow the path shown by Maharashtra government. Definitely it will be a win-win situation for both the Pharm D graduates as well as the patient community as a whole.


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Rajesh k Dec 20, 2022 10:12 PM
Sir some people passed M.Pharma in Clinical Pharmacy and this course was started before Pharm.D, at that time all academician and stack holders and PCI advertised that "M.Pharm Clinical Pharmacy" Passed candidats are clinical pharmacists. But now PCI have no clinical pharmacist role for them. And all academician and stake holders of Pharmacy education closed their mouths. They all destroyed those candidates future.
PCI should think about those candidates who had passed "M.Pharm in clinical pharmacy" they are also clinical pharmacists.
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