The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined health as the state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease. According to this, healthcare professionals play a major role in striving for pharmacy education.
Although the pharmacy profession is recognized for its importance as health care providers in many developed countries, in most developing counties it is still underutilized. On account of this, in recent years, pharmacy colleges are mushrooming across the country.
Unfortunately, despite the best efforts put forward by the country, still, Pharmacy education remains at the low level comparatively.
Outlining The Foundation
The foundation of pharmacy education in India initiated with the implementation of the Indian Pharmacy Act-1948 by Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), to establish standards and regulate the pharmacy education, profession, and pharmacy practice in India.
Thus, formal pharmacy education in India has been predominant for several decades. Due to rapid Industrialization, privatization and economic growth in pharma sector pharmacy education have been developing fast in India. Yet, the Indian pharmacy education system is criticized.
The presented article addresses the major issues in the pharmacy education system in India in the urge for revamping and to attain the desired status in the society.
The Real Need
At present, there is a considerable impact of the outdated syllabus on the current industrial needs and expectations. Often the faculty involved in the designing of the syllabus lack industrial experience.
The syllabus lack in-depth study of excipients and even after regulatory reforms and technology up-gradation happening at a fast pace, creating a niche number of talents for quality by design(QbD), dissolution, patent search, pellet manufacturing, IVIVC, bioavailability, and bio-equivalency testing, dossier preparation, and filling, etc. seems to a challenging task for pharma institutes.
Lack of infrastructural facilities, science equipment students lack the training and even curriculum is so designed that students have no professional training or internships exposure. The elements of the course have become obsolete and provide little or no interaction with the status and growth of the Pharma industry.
The curriculum basically lacks a case study or actual practical- based syllabus or more on practical problems encountered by the industry during product development from pre-formulation to regulatory filling. This is because, the planning for course or content in the syllabus lack subject –expert from industry.
Therefore, the need is to develop a closer and active link between the industry and academic institutes.
Need For Innovation
Innovation in drug delivery is very much essential for the future of the Indian pharma industry. However, lack of research approach in many colleges fails to inform students about scientific adaptations, and often they remain oblivious to the latest updates in the field of pharmacy.
This is majorly due to lack of systematic orientation in the colleges to foster students towards research. So, it is very important to instill the crop of educated researchers and innovators in medicines as they would be working with the objective of devising innovative solutions to the Indian healthcare woes like developing low-cost diagnostic tools, medical devices as well as low-cost drugs.
Demand For Social Change
Another aspect of pharmacy education that remains underdeveloped is providing patient-centric education. The syllabus teaches drug composition, interactions, and toxicology so the students should be able to guide patients towards the correct usage of medicines. However, the pharmacist at present is mere distributors of medicines.
Counseling on diet, lifestyle, and disease prevention is another role of pharmacists especially in rural areas where a shortage of pharmacists is a major concern.
However, patient counseling remains a more theoretical, rigid syllabus that fails to provide timely hospital training or patient-oriented social care. Therefore, the syllabus should be bifurcated into clinical and industrial centric in the undergraduate program.
Thus, a more patient-centered approach with multidisciplinary cooperation is necessary to develop a strong health care service provider.
Modification In Teaching Pedagogy
Despite technological advancement, teaching methodology remains obsolete in most of the colleges and institutes. The teachers themselves lack industrial experience or training of the latest instrumentation used in industry and even lack of integration with the other sciences which hinder the research and innovative aspect of the subject.
Consequently, academia often fails to adopt technological changes. Students are uninformed about the basic research steps –assess to high impact factor journals database, searching for research paper on Science Direct, PubMed or Goggle scholar, the importance of research publication, etc. Need for more practical based study rather than hypothetical concepts is the current demand for healthcare education.
The Pharma sector is undergoing a sea change in terms of meeting the healthcare demands of the country. Therefore, a system should be devised so that each student gets the opportunity to flourish their practical skills and fulfill the rising demands of healthcare service.
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Assistant Professor, LJ Institute of Pharmacy
Skilled in Pharmaceutics, Pharmaceuticals Sciences, Formulation, and Teaching