Last Updated on July 10, 2021 by The Health Master
Pharmacy colleges view the new Education Regulation (ER) 2020 for D Pharm as a step in the right direction for moulding professional development of pharmacists. Positioned to be on par with global standards, the new guidance, according pharmacy college chiefs, will usher in adaptable teaching methodologies.
ER 2020, that governs the D Pharma course, replaces the three-decade-old ER- 1991 and is relevant to the current and future needs of society, said Prof B Ramesh, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy and Principal, Sri Adichunchanagiri College of Pharmacy, Adichunchanagiri University.
Now D Pharma syllabus is designed to give an emphasis to practice-oriented curriculum and meets the expectations of the healthcare sector, he said.
There is a reduction in theory from 850 to 825 hours and practicals are increased from 750 to 800 hours. Besides, an addition of 275 hours of tutorial activities incorporated into the regulation, encourages experiential learning through practical courses, small group teaching and self- directed study.
In order to address the challenges of transition to a new curriculum, the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), will conduct for the faculty a series of meetings, seminars, workshops and webinars on handling new D Pharm syllabus to effectively implement ER 2020.
New subjects like pharmacotherapeutics will help students hone their skills in pharmacy care services. This, along with social pharmacy, which is both theory and practical, will provide insights into primary and preventive healthcare concepts.
Another key element is that again for the first time, are methods to spot the competencies of Indian D Pharm holders based on 10 different attributes, including knowledge, skill and attitude. These competencies are mapped in the curriculum, which is most appropriate, Prof Ramesh told.
This regulation has taken four years of effort where a 16- member committee of experts from education, healthcare, community pharmacy, clinical pharmacy, administration and regulatory affairs have ensured that the contents are neither repetitive nor redundant for D Pharm course, he said.
Prof Hanumanthachar Joshi, Principal, Sarada Vilas College of Pharmacy, Mysuru and president, ACPI stated that while the move to bring out ER 2020 for D Pharma is laudable, it found wanting in terms of exposure to first aid in medical emergencies like CPR, acute pulmonary edema, asthma, epilepticus, hyperpyrexia, gastro-intestinal bleeding, diabetic coma, electric shock, drowning, snake bites and common poisoning.
With regard to internship and residency, Prof Joshi said, although provisions allowed working at private pharmacies, it could have mandated the training to be under the registered pharmacists guidance since they are seldom found in the outlets, he added.
It would have been better if the practical training is for 4 months in a hospital pharmacy with 300 hours at the OPD pharmacy with exposure to accounting procedures. The 300 hours for in-patient services include administration of all oral drugs, recording patient history, monitoring adverse drug reactions and patient counselling.
In order to interface with the medical professionals, Pharma D candidates need acquire skills to perform minor procedure under supervision like IV cannulation, suturing, insertion of nasogastric tube, use of peak flow meter, taking an ECG etc. This will allow them to be part of national health programmes and organ donation, said Prof Joshi.
The ongoing pandemic has brought to the fore the need for better emergency preparedness amid shortage of nursing and medical professionals, who are overworked and the participation of pharmacists prevented the situation from turning into a crisis. ER-2020’s increased practical hours and pharmacotherapeutics, will add professionalism to D Pharm, said Prof. Joshi.