Executive Interview : Q&A with Dr.B.Suresh on Pharm.D. program in India

In a tete a tete with Dr. B. Suresh , President of Pharmacy Council Of India & the esteemed President of The Indian Pharmaceutical Association , the students of the publication team of IPA-SF addressed him to speak up a few words about the latest Pharm.D. Program launched in India.
Dr.B.Suresh Interview
Catch up with what he has to say on the upcoming boon in the field of Pharmacy- Pharm.D.

1. You are one of the main driving force behind the introduction of PharmD course in India. Could you please explain the thought processes behind introducing this course and major challenges that you came across in introducing this course?

As The President of PCI , the idea of commencing the Pharm.D. program is the brainchild of professionals from The Pharmacy Council of India headed by me & stalwarts from the field of pharmacy, who feel that after 50 years of being a part of the health care industry the pharmacists should gain a global experience in the field of Hospital & Community Pharmacy.
This experience will enable the pharmacist to advise, consult & help doctors in dispensing medicines to patients, to play a role that is based on KNOWLEDGE and NOT JUST POSITION of the individual and also provide the pharmacist with a role at par with doctors.
In order to achieve these objectives, the curriculum has been redesigned for students who wish to pursue an experimental career in clinical trials.
Students who wish to migrate globally are often faced with problems regarding eligibility for the course & about recognition of the Indian degree in foreign states.
Hence we have come up with a program of {B.Pharm + Pharm.D(3 years)} which gives a global edge to students

2. What is the basic difference between PharmD and PG (post baccalaureate) course?

PG is specialization in a particular field such as Pharmaceutics, Quality Assurance and Pharmaceutical Chemistry. In Pharm.D there is no specific area of specialization. It is based on a clinical aspect (related to trials and experiments)

3. What would be job prospects for Pharm.D graduates in India? What kind of jobs should they expect?

A Pharm.D graduate could find jobs mostly related to the clinical force of India. With gradual amendments being made in the health care industry, the Pharm.D graduate could play an active role in heading the Hospital Pharmacy Setting (Hospital Setting/ Hospital Pharmacy)
Also with a large number of Pharmaceutical companies opting for clinical trials the industry is heading towards a business worth 1.4 billion by way of clinical trials.
As the Ayurvedic doctors conduct clinical trials so also the Pharm.D program concentrates on giving these graduates an opportunity to conduct clinical trials and clinical studies. Meanwhile, a Pharm D. graduate could work at industries that deal with clinical trials related to product line & product pipeline.

4. As you know, the current pharmacy graduates (B-Pharm/M-pharm) who passed out after 2003 are not eligible to write FPGEE in USA. Are these PharmD graduates eligible to write FPGEE in USA?

It could not be said right now as it is usually on the basis of a case by case evaluation. There are NABP and other agencies which are dealing with aspects of foreign education. However, we do not believe in producing pharmacists for the overseas market but in updating the quality of our pharmacists here. We are trying to create an educational board such that it receives international approval.

5. Right now, role of pharmacists in pharmaceutical care is almost zero in India... Is there any foundation being laid down to make pharmacists a part of the health care systems in India? What efforts are going on towards that?

Earlier since there were not many health care services the pharmacists did not play a significant role. Pharmacists have mostly been involved in the industrial aspect of health care. But now with the introduction of Pharm.D we expect more clinical trials taking place & a forthcoming change that will strengthen the role of the Pharmacist in the Health Care system very soon.