Pharmacy Practice Regulation planned, clinical pharmacy mandatory in hospitals.

 In a major development to give a fillip to medical services in the country, the Union government is working to enforce the Pharmacy Practice Regulation. The directive will mandate all hospitals to set up departments of clinical pharmacy manned by Pharm D graduates.

The government under the direction of Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) is in the process of finalizing the same. Details on the time-frame for implementation are not available. But experts opine that this move would have a positive impact for pharmacy education in India

Moreover, US and UK governments now recognize only Pharm D as a minimum entry qualification for jobs. The hospitals in the Middle East prefer Pharm D over B Pharm degree holders. In India too, once the Regulation is enforced, the government will insist on Pharm D as the basic degree for candidates to work at the departments of clinical pharmacy in hospitals.

So long the government has not provided adequate attention for the development of clinical pharmacy services in hospitals. Departments of Clinical Pharmacy are in vogue abroad. However, only a handful of hospitals have started the Clinical Pharmacy department. These include KMC, Manipal, JSS, Mysore, KLE, Belgaum and Ramakrishna Hospital, Coimbatore.

The six-year Pharma D course, started in 2008-09, will now will now open up employment opportunities, Dr N Udupa, principal, Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences and sub-committee member, Pharm D, PCI.

Currently, India has over 10, 000 hospitals. There are 1,000 pharmacy colleges with 60 seats each; creating 50,000 B Pharm graduates annually. Of these 5,000 are selected by the industry, 2,000 go abroad and the remaining seek teaching jobs or are under employed. The huge supply-demand gap has resulted in fall of takers to pharmacy courses by half with 25,000 vacant seats. The speedy enforcement of the Pharmacy Practice Regulation could change the face of employment for candidates as Pharm D will be the minimum qualification to seek postings at the departments of clinical pharmacy in hospitals, said Dr Udupa.

Colleges offering Pharm D require a dedicated hospital or a tie-up with a reputed medical centre having a full-fledged department of clinical pharmacy. Only science candidates after pre-university can opt for course. There is also a lateral entry programme for B Pharm degree holders who can join up for the same during the fourth year. The fee between Rs 1.2 lakh and Rs 1. 5 lakh annually for the five year course and the sixth year will be a residency programme.

The key theory and practical focus includes. Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, Drug Information, Adverse Drug Reaction, Patient Counselling and Poison Information supported by case study presentation, ward round participation under the supervision of clinical pharmacy teachers and doctors.

Other than hospitals, pharma industry and clinical research organizations are also keen to employ Pharm D candidates to work qualified coordinators for human studies and BA/BE projects.

PCI has created considerable awareness organizing special sessions at IPC and IPA events.