Pharmacy Practice and Education in India: Current Issues and Trends

Subal C Basak, D Sathyanarayana

Abstract: In the history of mankind, social development has always been closely interlinked with healthcare achievements. Therefore pharmacy education and practice has a significant impact on the health improvements of a nation. Pharmacists represent the third largest healthcare professional group in the world. Pharmacists work in the community, in hospitals, and in other medical facilities as members of the health care team and have special responsibilities for the safe use of medicines. In developed nations, in addition to traditional dispensing, pharmacists monitor the health and progress of patients in response to drug therapy and provide patient care that focuses on prevention of diseases and patient outcomes, and accordingly educational curriculum is designed.
In India, like in many Asian countries, pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professionals and also play an important role in the use of medicines. Formal pharmacy education in India started (B. Pharm. in BHU in 1937) long before the enactment of Pharmacy Act, 1948 and the formulation of the Education Regulations in the year 1953. India has made rapid progress in pharmacy education over the last two decades. This paper seeks to sketch the status of pharmacy practice in India vis--vis pharmacy education, standards of education, and changes are being undertaken, and then pay particular attention to the need for required actions to strengthen the curriculum and the profession.
Sixty years ago, there were no restrictions on the practice of pharmacy in India. The practice of prescribing and dispensing was an integral unit performed by doctors. In addition, most doctors trained their clinic assistants to dispense medicines and assist in compounding of medicinal preparations. The assistants were popularly known as "compounders." Persons, having experience of working with physician who could read a prescription and could assist in compounding and dispensing, were allowed to work in pharmacy settings. As in the case of many Asian countries, pharmacy practice profession in India, therefore, developed from the concept of extemporaneous preparations and selling of medicines.
The pharmacy practice concept was realized with the dawn of independence in 1947. The Pharmacy Act,1 1948 was the first landmark, which came into existence in response to recommendations of Drugs Enquiry Committee2 (Chopra committee) constituted in 1930, and report of Health Survey and Development Committee, 1943 (Bhore committee).The Chopra committee in its report recommended among others setting up of courses for training in pharmacy and prescribing minimum qualifications for registration as a pharmacist. The Bhore committee emphasized the need of government to control practice of pharmacy and provide educational facilities for licentiate pharmacists.


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