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Final year syllabus of B Pharm should be split into two segments to equip pharmacists for specialized careers: Dr Sulakhiya

Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai
Friday, October 30, 2020, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Even as ideas and suggestions are pouring in from various academic experts in respect of pharmacy curriculum reformation following the release of ER-2020, a pharmacology professor from a central university has proposed that PCI must think of splitting the final year syllabus of the integrated Bachelor of Pharmacy (B Pharm) course into two segments to suit career options.
At the final year semesters, the course should be divided into two channels of learning with theoretical and practical papers of industrial pharmacy and community/hospital pharmacy. On completion of the programme, the graduate is free to choose a career on his specific interest either in industry or in pharmacy practice, comments Dr Kunj Bihari Sulakhiya, a pharmacy academician at the Indira Gandhi National Tribal University in Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh.
Briefing about his proposal to the PCI, Dr Sulakhiya told Pharmabiz that instead of retaining a dedicated diploma course, the Pharmacy Council of India must go with the integrated B Pharm with multiple entry and exit options as envisaged in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
The policy of option to exit and entry will help avoid the confusions being created by the diploma holders (D Pharm) that they are the key persons in the pharmacy profession. The perspective of the general public about a pharmacist is that the drug dispenser of a medical shop or hospital pharmacy is the full-fledged pharmacist. The new course structure will help change this impression and thereby the people cannot be confused for long.

Expounding his ideas for creating full-fledged pharmacists through a four-year integrated course, the central university teacher has suggested that PCI must design the four year programme in such a way that a student can exit the course on completion of the first year with a certificate in pharmacy which would make him able to work as ‘pharmacy assistant’ in community pharmacies. But he is not able to register with the pharmacy council. If his plan is to exit after two years of study he should be allowed to get a diploma certificate to enable him register with the state pharmacy council to obtain a sale licence from the drugs control department to run a medical shop.
Further, on completion of three years of the integrated B Pharm, the student should be free to choose his option to receive an advanced diploma certificate (ADC) and quit the fourth year study in order to become a professional in pharmacy practice. With this ADC in hand the student becomes a full-fledged pharmacist to apply for pharmacist posts in government or other sectors. He is also eligible to counsel a patient with regard to proper use of medicines, medication errors and optimization of therapy.
Those who want to complete the full four year term of the program can opt for doing one year specialized course programme (SCP) in the final year and get a degree certificate in pharmacy (B Pharm) either with specialization in industry pharmacy or in community/hospital pharmacy. The specialization in the latter segment is exclusively for practicing profession in pharmacy and its allied areas. These graduates can do master degrees in various specializations.
Dr. Sulakhiya said he has conducted a research study among the pharmacists with diploma and degree backgrounds to prepare this proposal to the PCI. According to him, many of the diploma and degree holders practicing pharmacy profession in tribal and rural areas do not know much about medicines and the subject of pharmaceutical sciences. Such pharmacists need to be given proper training and make them able to counsel the patients. For this, each pharmacy education institution in the country should attach a model pharmacy with all kinds of drugs opened for the public. This will help the students to practice pharmacy profession during their study, he said.
“In most of the community pharmacies, the performance of the pharmacists is very poor. They dispense medicines on the prescription of the doctors, but from their side no contribution is getting to the patient in the name of counseling or advice. They have to be equipped for that. Colleges must start model pharmacies by opening Jan Aushadhi stores in the institution premises to give training to the students,” mentioned Dr Sulakhiya in his proposal to the PCI.


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Augustine P P Oct 30, 2020 2:06 PM
The proposal of Dr Sulakhia is not based on true facts. The Diploma holders are not creating any con fusion among public because they have not seen or experience the service of a real pharmacist in our country.But actually there is a confusion among different category Pharmacists ,where to look for a job for their livelihood. At present there are three kinds of Pharmacists in India. This proposal adds two more kinds one Pharmacy assistant and the other medical shop pharmacist.The main shortcoming and lapse of our Pharmacy education , whether it is Diploma or degree is the absence of clinical experience.A janoushadhi medical store is not a substitute for a clinical set up.
It is not an easy task for the PCI to stop D.pharm immediately. Years of preplanning is necessary for it. The preplaning and pre arrangements that are being made by Indian Nurses Council in this regard is before us. If the council authorities are sincere in its activities it is better to appoint a National
Harishankar R Oct 30, 2020 12:57 PM
However, to uphold the morale of Indian Pharmacy profession in the global phenomenon, being a statutory body to raise the status of Pharmacy profession in India, it is an imperative statutory obligatory responsibility for the PHARMACY COUNCIL OF INDIA (PCI) to immediately takeup proactive initiatives for uniformly making a standard policy to be mandatorily implemented in all the Administrative Ministries /Departments of the government as well as in public/private sectors that, the basic qualification criteria required for a PHARMACIST post is Bachelor's Degree in pharmacy please.
Harishankar R Oct 30, 2020 11:45 AM
However, the pharmacy Council of India(PCI) being a statutory body, ought to immediately takeup proactive initiatives for uniform implementation of a standard policy to make minimum basic qualification criteria as Bachelor's Degree in pharmacy, eligible to be treated as PHARMACIST in all the Administrative Ministries/Departments throughout the Country please.
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