PCI should incorporate subjects like vaccines & vaccinations in syllabus of pharmacy courses: Dr Gopal Veni

Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, ChennaiWednesday, January 25, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

In the wake of the deliberations by the stalwarts of pharmacy profession at the 72nd IPC in Nagpur on the scope of training pharmacists to administer vaccines in the absence of doctors and nurses, Dr. Gopal Veni, former chairman of the Education Regulation Committee (ERC) of the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), has commented that the PCI should seriously consider their proposals for incorporating subjects like vaccines, vaccinations and immunization in the syllabus of pharmacy courses.

While commenting on the ideas and suggestions of the professional experts, the academic expert and former ERC chairman said it is high time to incorporate subjects like vaccines, vaccinations and immunization into the curriculum of pharmacy education which is a globally fast growing and developing area. He said the Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA) has got approval from the government of India to train the pharmacists as vaccinators.

Sharing his ideas with Pharmabiz on his return from Nagpur, Dr. Veni, principal of the lone government college of pharmacy in Pondicherry, said equipping the working pharmacists with skills to administer vaccines should be considered as part of pharmacy education in the modern world, and it is becoming one of the changing needs of practice and profession. The decision of the IPA was announced by Dr. TV Narayana, president of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association at the valedictory function of the IPC. Quoting the IPA president, Dr. Veni said IPA is planning to train the pharmacists in administering vaccines on the direction of WHO and FIP. He said this is a welcome move as far as the Indian pharmacy profession is concerned and the PCI should take further steps to boost the project.

“This will definitely improve the quality of the pharmacy profession and the status of the pharmacists as frontline healthcare providers inside and outside the hospital premises. Further, it will diversify the pharmacists’ services more than that of dispensing and connect them closer with the patients. Ultimately, a patient in a hospital or PHC or a sub-centre will not face any kind of problems in availing medicines and injections even in the absence of a doctor. Developed countries like the US and UK have already trained their pharmacists to diagnose patients for minor ailments, treat for common diseases and administer vaccines”, said Dr. Veni.

He said giving power to pharmacists to administer vaccines is an additional privilege, but not intruding into the service areas of other healthcare providers. There may be confusion among the nursing community about training the pharmacists to vaccinate or give injections to a patient, but it is part of strengthening the healthcare services. In the near future, the syllabus of the pharmacy course will have theory and practical classes on vaccines and their administration.

According to the professor, the PCI should come out with some proposals with regard to this as the priority is needed to train the Pharm D graduates first. Since the Pharm D course has one year training in hospitals, they can have the training at the hospital itself. The syllabus of the programme has to be modified in such a way. Even today, Pharm D people are given preference in clinical areas by certain hospital managements.
Likewise, the IPA should implement the training program in a phase to phase manner so as to enable all the graduates in pharmacy (B Pharm) get chances in training after the Pharm Ds. The diploma holders should go for the training along with some additional training and classes about vaccines and administration. They should be given training according to their experiences in their services. Dr. Veni said he will send a detailed suggestion to the IPA president about this new development in the pharmacy profession.