Pharmacy profession is being controlled by regulating bodies like All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) which is a statutory body of Government of India under the Pharmacy Act 1948.
PCI has a number of aims and objectives such as, to regulate pharmacy education in the country, to present minimum standard of education required for qualifying as pharmacist, to ensure uniform implementation of education regulation throughout the country and many more.
AICTE has its own aims and objectives and has specific norms in terms of infrastructure, faculty and so many things for technical institutions running courses like pharmacy, engineering etc. Pharmacy profession has become a sandwich between these two bodies in terms of norms such as intake of students, qualification of faculty, infrastructure etc.
Pharmacy is still under the Ministry of chemicals and fertilizers and needs to be under the Ministry of Health. There is no separate Directorate of pharmacy yet. PCI is a ray of hope in the hearts of every pharmacy teacher at least and needs to be respected by every pharmacy professional. With due regards to these regulating bodies, I think pharmacy profession has not touched heights like Medical profession.
Education regulations were framed for Diploma course (D Pharm) in 1991 and till date the syllabus/curriculum has not been revised even once. Not only this, a uniform syllabus has not been made effective for Bachelor course in pharmacy (B Pharm) since independence. At present pharmacy education is still at number two position with less career opportunities.
Little attention has been given towards the betterment and future of pharmacy profession in India. There was a stage 1n 1997-2000 when diploma course in pharmacy was to be scrapped and permission to start pharmacy course was given to institutions running B Pharmacy course only. Then in 2003 onwards again permission was granted to institutions to start diploma course in pharmacy.
Not only this , institutions running both the courses for decades were asked to show separate infrastructure and separate staff including principals, library for both the courses. Then in later years 2007 onwards, another directive came that B Pharm and D Pharm courses could be run in the same premises. Why this confusion?
One more thing happened that PCI decided to take over M Phram course also. Now PCI inspects institutions running M Pharm course as well. This very decision should have been taken many years before. Again, Pharm D course was started i.e. Doctor of pharmacy. The syllabus of this very course so designed cannot meet the International standards.
An individual with this qualification is yet to get proper placement with a lucarative career. One more recommendation by PCI is to scrap diploma course after sometime. PCI needs to sharpen its teeth to ensure better service conditions for pharmacy teachers so that they could get AICTE pay scales with emoluments.
Now PCI is taking up the issue of Pradhan Mantri Jan aushadi Yojna (PMJAY). No doubt, this scheme has its own advantages. The need of the hour is to sharpen its teeth on academics, status of pharmacy education, job prospects of pharmacy graduates in Industry, academics and community. This is possible when applied and job oriented curriculum is designed by PCI and pharmacy thinkers.
Prof C S Bhan
Pharmacy profession and its issues