India needs to reform and update its pharmacy curriculum once in every 5 years, said PS Bhagavan, former deputy director, Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Department.
Currently the pharmacy curriculum is a teacher-friendly one than being profession-friendly. This is because it is prepared by the teacher at the pharmacy colleges to be able to conduct a hassle free class for the students. The reality is that in many pharmacy colleges, the share of teachers having field experience is negligible as most of them are straight from college with no actual experience of teaching or any industry exposure, he added.
As a result, the competency of a qualifying pharmacist depends on the quality of education imparted. The fact of the matter is that the standard of pharmacy education in the country is waning each day, he said.
Moreover, on the research and manufacturing front too, earlier there were simple drug formulations prepared extemporaneously in a pharmacy. These formulations were far more affordable and had posed no issues that are currently encountered with the advanced drugs in the market in terms of side-effects and patient compliance among others. The new drugs are either plant based, synthetic and biologicals. This calls for the need for competent pharmacists capable of understanding, analysing, formulating and testing these formulations, Bhagavan told Pharmabiz.
It is also unfortunate that there are several pharmacy colleges which face a poor reputation engaged in sale of diploma and degree certificates. There is a need to constant vigil on such institutions. Even in the drug regulatory departments across the country, pharmacy graduates are appointed to work at the enforcement wings and testing laboratories. There are often doubts on the quality of workforce engaged to analyze and test drugs which are complex in nature. Hence the Pharmacy Council of India needs to reform and update the curriculum once in 5 years.
Field experts should be involved to prescribe subjects and topics for the curriculum. PCI should have industry professionals too as its members. Further drastic combing operation should be taken up to eliminate colleges that are non compliant, said Bhagavan.