Pharm.D: the right prescription

The six-year course for Intermediate pass students is now treated on par with pharma courses across the world

GOOD TIMES: Six-year Pharm.D course has come as a boon for aspirants.
Hyderabad is often being termed as the Pharma capital of the country reflecting the strong presence of not only pharmaceutical industries but also the talent pool available here.
In the last few years pharmacy courses were being treated on par with engineering courses given the projected potential of the course career-wise. 

But there were some limitations with the four-year pharmacy course offered in India, particularly for those aiming to move abroad where pharmacy is rated much higher than medical and engineering courses. But the introduction of six-year Pharm.D course by the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) has come as a boon for the aspirants. The six-year course for Intermediate pass students is now treated on par with pharma courses across the world. 

“Earlier, a graduate of pharmacy in India was not being considered for any job on the clinical side abroad. Essentially they were unfit to take up jobs as clinical pharmacists, where a pharmacist would educate the patient about the prescribed drugs. But with this course they will be treated on par with any other pharma graduate in the West,” says Jaipal Reddy of the A.P. Pharmacy College Managements Association.
While a physician’s job is just to diagnose and prescribe the medicine, the pharmacist has to advise the patient on correct drugs, correct doses, correct formulations, and correct times to take the medicine. But that practice has not existed in India with pharma education laying total emphasis on the industry side while totally ignoring the clinical side of pharma education. The Pharm.D course will plug that gap.
The programme enables graduates to understand the delivery of comprehensive health care, understand the diagnosis and the rational selection of drugs, understand the pharmacokinetic principles to improve dosage regimens for individual patients, retrieve, interpret and report drug information from pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences apart from knowing what factors affect initiating, maintaining, modifying or discounting drug therapy. 

A student of Pharm. D would have to visit hospitals in second, third and fourth years and during the fifth year, there would be compulsory hospital ward visits and the final sixth year would be that of residency like that of a house surgeon for medicine. 

Job opportunities
The role of a pharmacist has changed drastically over the years with the constant expansion of health care programmes and the increasing need for quality pharmaceutical care. The growth of this sectors has thrown up diverse career options that include Community Pharmacy, Geriatric Pharmacy, Home Health Care, Hospital Pharmacy, Governmental agencies, Managed care, Pharmacoeconomics, Pharmacy education apart from Pharmaceutical industry.