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Ramesh Shankar
Wednesday, May 24, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The All India Pharmacy Students Rights Forum (PSRF), headquartered in Aurangabad in Maharashtra, has recently announced that the Forum will soon approach the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) with a demand to include a subject of the pharmaceutical sciences in the syllabus of the civil services examination as an optional subject. The student leaders, most of whom are final year students of B Pharm and Pharm D, are so determined this time that have announced that they will not rest until their demand is met because the same demand was raised before the UPSC on several occasions by their predecessors, but all in vain. It is a fact that the pharmacists in the country have been raising this demand to the UPSC for a long time now. The students are also annoyed by the role being played by the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) on this issue as they allege that there is apathy on the part of the PCI to take up the issues of the students with the concerned authorities. They are of the view that otherwise it would have been realised years back. Currently, UPSC has permitted B Pharm holders to attend the preliminary civil services examinations considering the qualification as a degree. But it does not do any good for the pharmacy graduates to win the examination through their own subjects. They have to choose other subjects of humanities or sciences as optional for the main examination. Whereas, pharmacology is an optional subject for the main examination, accordingly several doctors are joining the civil services.   

It is true that the medical graduates have an edge over pharmacy graduates in the civil services exams as they learn about pharmacology in their degree course and during the specialization in the post graduation. Priority should not be given for pharmacology as several medical graduates do their PG in pharmacology and opt it for the main exam for the civil services. As far as pharmacy graduates are concerned, it is too difficult for them to compete with the medical students with post graduation in pharmacology in the exam. To avoid such a situation, the UPSC should provide a level-playing field to all as they should consider including pharmaceutics or pharmaceutical chemistry as optional subjects. Several B Pharm graduates who did the preliminary exam in the previous years and passed the tests, but could not clear the main exams because of opting science or humanities as optional subjects. Of course, pharmaceutical science is a professional subject like medicine, engineering and architecture. Apart from other basic subjects, agriculture, veterinary, engineering and medicine are included in the curriculum of civil services examination, but pharmaceutical science is not included. A graduate in pharmacy, either B Pharm or Pharm D may not have thorough knowledge in pharmacology as that of a medical doctor. The government should understand the fact that pharmaceutical science, unlike other subjects, is a subject directly related to the health and welfare of the public, and pharmacists have become an integral and inseparable component of the Indian healthcare system. So, the opportunities to serve the community with administrative power should not be denied to the pharmacy professionals. Otherwise, it will tantamount to a kind of discrimination towards this noble profession and subject. So the syllabus committee of the UPSC must consider subjects other than pharmacology to be added into the syllabus of the exam to support pharmacy graduates to enter into civil services.


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