Need to reorganize the teaching of pharmacy
As professionals, with in-depth knowledge of drug compositions and formulations, pharmacists are a vital cog in the wheel of healthcare in any country. In the developed world, the profession of pharmacy is expanding in new directions, with pharmacy professionals becoming involved not only in drug delivery and drug research, but also in education and counseling. patients. The Indian pharmaceutical sector currently accounts for approximately 3.1-3.6% of the global pharmaceutical industry in terms of value, and is experiencing market growth of 12.8% due to increased consumer spending and growth. ‘Health Insurance. As India’s rapidly growing pharmaceutical sector strives to become a global hub for the research and manufacture of original medicines, pharmacy graduates with the right training and knowledge have significant potential to drive the growth of industry.
As the pharmaceutical industry strives to propel itself to the next level of growth, among the main challenges facing the industry today are significant talent shortages and a labor shortage. highly skilled.
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Upgrade the curriculum
The current pharmacy education system in India is plagued with various issues including outdated curriculum that has not been upgraded for years, unskilled courses, lack of integration with other sciences and a lack of focus on increasing the research output of institutions, among others. A transition to the knowledge economy has led to the emergence of new technological fields in the field of life sciences. Whether bioinformatics or nanotechnology, these new emerging areas of knowledge inherently overlap with traditional topics. A student of pharmacy or pharmacology must therefore possess a broader knowledge that extends beyond the traditional understanding of maintaining the quality and marketing of drugs. Pharmacological studies must integrate various disciplines of the associated life sciences to impart to students a deeper understanding of human biology down to the molecular levels of the physiology and pathology of diseases. We also need to incorporate areas of biotechnology, pharmacokinetic studies and drug metabolism into the curriculum.
At the same time, instilling in students a willingness to innovate and research is also important to enable them to become differentiators and innovators. In the Indian context, it is very important to develop a crop of educated researchers and innovators in medicine who would work with the aim of devising innovative solutions to India’s health problems. Developing low cost diagnostic solutions, medical devices as well as drugs is essential for India to make healthcare accessible to all. A number of startups working on the design of such innovative indigenous solutions have already emerged in recent years in India. The qualification of pharmacy students and their initial training can also help us produce talent that would fuel this demand.
Develop close links with industry universities
Another important need is to develop closer and more active links between industry and academic institutions. Regular interaction between the two is crucial to ensure that students are aware of the developments taking place in the field and are able to improve themselves accordingly. A sustainable exchange of ideas allows academics and students to understand first-hand developments taking place in the industry and become aware of its changing needs. This would help develop and update students, which in turn would create a future workforce more ready to assimilate into the industry that they have been engaged with for some time.
The creation of long-term training programs for students to provide them with hands-on learning opportunities, the participation of industry leaders in conferences, and the establishment of forums that help new graduates provide career opportunities. Interesting jobs are important things to focus on.
Provide patient-centered education
With vital knowledge of drug composition, interactions, and toxicology, pharmacists have the ability to guide patients towards the correct use of drugs and reduce negative outcomes or side effects from improper drug use. . This advice is especially important for people who take multiple medications for different conditions. Likewise, simple advice on how and when to take which type of medicine can also lead to better medical management of patients. Pharmacists all over the world play a very important role in ensuring the safe, effective and rational use of medicines. In India, however, we rarely see pharmacists interacting effectively with patients. Their role is limited to the storage and distribution of drugs in clinical settings and to formulation and preparation in industrial settings. We also need to train pharmacists to take charge of their clinical and patient-centered responsibilities.
Counseling patients on diet, lifestyle and disease prevention is another crucial role pharmacists can play, especially in rural areas and primary health centers where the shortage of doctors and medical staff. is a major concern.
Thus, there is an urgent need to reorganize pharmacy education in India and improve its quality through a series of measures such as upgrading the curriculum with current needs and industrial participation. A skilled and trained workforce in high quality research, drug development and possessing multidimensional knowledge is very important to meet the changing needs of the industry.
(The author is the supervisory authority, Drugs Control Department, Delhi)