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Pharmacy colleges in country are looking forward to step up the intake of students for Pharm D course with good response from Indian healthcare providers. The colleges are keen to upgrade infrastructure to increase bandwidth to offer Pharm D. The growth of clinical trials sector further brightened the job opportunities for not just pharmacy graduates and masters but for Pharm D too.

Currently in India there are 150 colleges offer Pharm D. The first batch had 270 students passing out and all of them are employed. These were from the 7 colleges that were permitted to offer the course based on their infrastructure from the academic year 2008-2014. In the second batch, PCI permitted to admit 30 candidates in 150 colleges and therefore 6,000 students are expected to graduate from this six-year course.

Pharm D will now attract scores of students primarily because the course design allows both doctors and patients to be benefitted with the services of these qualified professionals. These candidates are being employed in corporate hospitals as clinical pharmacists. But it is important to ensure that their services can be utilised in government hospitals, PHCs and dispensaries. The paucity of doctors to render services in villages and remote places can be overcome by making provision for the appointment of Pharm D candidates in government healthcare settings too, pointed out Prof S. Mohan, director, PES College of Pharmacy.

According to Dr. M.D. Karvekar, director, Krupanidhi College of Pharmacy and executive committee member, Pharmacy Council of India, there are job opportunities for Pharm D students.

The key role of a Pharm D professional is to guide and provide the right drug at the right time in the right dose. They will ensure creation of clinical pharmacy services in hospitals. It will include poison information service, patient counseling, adverse drug reaction monitoring and reporting mechanism, besides focus on drug-disease integration management, dosage adjustment, pharmacovigilance, pharmacoeconomics, community patient education and primary issues of drug related problems, among others, said Prof Mohan.

Pharm D course is viewed as the future of pharmacy education, noted Dr. T.V. Narayana, chairman-Education Division, Indian Pharmaceutical Association and secretary, Indian Pharmaceutical Congress Association.

The broad-based knowledge intensive syllabus along with compulsory practical exposure at hospitals is changing the landscape of drug prescription by doctors. It is a Pharm D candidate who would guide and provide the right drug at right time in the right dose, said Dr. Narayana.

Dr. Shobha Rani R Hiremath, principal, Al-Ameen College of Pharmacy said that with the introduction of Pharm D, there is a closer connect with leading hospitals in the country. The big advantage for these candidates is the clinical knowledge that they gather. There are a host of clinical subjects like for instance the pharma therapeutics, clinical research, pharmacoeconomics and pharmacoepidemiology.

In the case of Al-Ameen College of Pharmacy, over a decade ago, it entered into a memorandum of understanding with two missionary hospitals in Bengaluru: St. Marathas and St. Philomena’s. “Here our students of M Pharm (Pharmacy Practice) and PhD candidates work closely with the healthcare providers. This pact with the two hospitals has further given us an opportunity where our Pharm D students from the 4th, 5th and 6th year of the course period are mandated to be here for projects and internship. There is no doubt that Pharm D moulds candidates to be far more equipped to work in a hospital setting,” stated Dr. Hiremath
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