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THE PHARMA REVIEW (JUNE 2008)

Being an Author

J. P. S. Kohli

When I was evaluating the field of publishing with respect to the pharmaceutical industry in 1991, I was amazed to discover that with over 20,000 manufacturers in India and over 300 pharmacy colleges in addition to the various research institutions, there were hardly any books being published in India. The few that were being published were catering to the prescribed syllabus for pharmacy colleges and that too for the diploma and undergraduate courses.

Even today, with an estimated workforce of 50,000 to 100,000 people (those engaged in the pharmaceutical and allied industry and also those in research and academics), there are hardly any authors. With this pool of experienced professionals, we should have been inundated with a wide variety of books with various aspects of the profession. This has not happened however and we should be made aware of this serious lapse on our collective part. There are about 10-15 publishers only which are seriously into the pharmaceutical field and here too, the choice of books is rather limited. Most of the books are catering to the diploma or 1st/2nd year B. Pharm students, and hardly any books for the senior/M. Pharm or Ph D students. The books that the students read today are mostly based on past activities of the pharmaceutical field and current or up-to-date information on most subjects like pharmaceutics, pharmacognosy, pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmaceutical engineering, pharmaceutical pharmacology etc. Many of the college textbooks in use today by most colleges include highly outdated Indian reprints of foreign books. In case of knowledge requirements of the pharmaceutical industry, the absence of good books is felt even more acutely.

Some years back, I had advertised in the official magazine of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association-Pharma Times, that we require authors to come forward and write books that we will publish. In those days (around 1997-98) Pharma Times magazine used to be sent to all the members of the IPA without paying any further subscription, so the circulation of the magazine was quite high. Even then, I got a response from only 5 people and ultimately only one book was actually written by a person, which we published. On interacting with many people at various trade exhibitions, the responses I got quite frequently were that either the people are not confident that they are good enough to be an author or that they are busy in their work and will write a book after retirement.

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