History of the profession of Pharmacy in India in relation to pharmacy education, industry, and organization
Pharmacy education in India, both at the B Pharm and M Pharm levels, is taught as an industry- and product-oriented profession with a focus on the basic sciences. During the past decade, pharmacy education has expanded significantly in terms of a number of institutions offering pharmacy programs at various levels. However, pharmacy education in India continues to be one of the last options for students aspiring to a university degree. The pharmacists with a BPharm or MPharm generally seek avenues other than pharmacy practice. These pharmacists prefer placements in production, regulatory affairs, management and/or quality assurance, and marketing with the pharmaceutical industry. Only small numbers of these graduates and postgraduates opt to work in the community and institutional pharmacies. In India, diploma holders (D Pharm holders) are practicing pharmacists in the global sense as they engage in community or institution pharmacy practice.
A specialized M Pharm in pharmacy practice program launched in the 1990s failed to create employment opportunities in practice areas for these postgraduates. The main change that is currently affecting pharmacy practice is the introduction of the PharmD program in India. One thousand four hundred ten students have enrolled in 47 colleges (mostly private sector) localized in a small geographical part (South India) of India. Going by the experience of socioeconomic status of our country, this steep increase in the required study period from the 2-year DPharm to the 6-year Pharm D for producing practicing pharmacists raises issues of PharmD-trained pharmacists who seem to be “unavailable” to serve for India.
In order to demonstrate the requirements for pharmacists in India, it is necessary to undertake a pharmacy workforce study, review pharmacy education programs, and compare them with the roles that have been accepted internationally. Then, to design and develop pharmacy degree programs perhaps one program exclusively for industry and another for practice.
Indian Pharmaceutical Industry
In 1930, in Calcutta, the first pharmaceutical company called Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceutical Works, which still is today as one of 5 government-owned drug manufacturers has started The history of the Indian pharmaceutical market in the 1970s was almost non-existent.
Initially, all the drugs were imported from Europe. Later some drugs of this system began to be manufactured in this country.
1901: Establishment of the Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works, Calcutta by Acharya P.C. Ray.
1903: A small factory at Parel (Bombay) by Prof. T.K. Gujjar.
1907: Alembic Chemical Works at Baroda by Prof. T.K. Gujjar.
Drugs were mostly exported in crude form and imported in finished form. During World War-I
(1914 – 1920) the imports of drugs were cut-off. Imports of drugs were resumed after the War. In absence of any restrictions on the quality of drugs imported, manufacturers abroad took advantage of the situation.
The consequences were as follows:
(i) foreign manufacturers dumped inferior quality medicines and adulterated drugs.
(ii) Markets were full of all sorts of useless and deleterious drugs were sold by unqualified men
Today, India has gained immense importance and carved a niche for itself in the pharmaceutical domain. In fact, it has emerged as a big mart for the pharmaceutical industry. Formulations, bulk drugs, generics, Novel Drug Delivery Systems, New Chemical Entities, Biotechnology, etc. Indian companies are dominating in the marketplace which was traditionally manned by MNC.
Basak SC, Sathyanarayana D. Pharmacy education in India. Am J Pharm Educ. 2010;74(4):68. doi:10.5688/aj740468
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