Community Pharmacist: Back Bone of Health Care Profession
Prabodh V Sapkale
Department of Ph. Chemistry,
Shellino Education Society's, Arunamai College of Pharmacy, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India
Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) states that B.Pharm graduates should register under state pharmacy council and become registered pharmacists. However, in spite of being registered as pharmacists, they are not eligible for pharmacist vacancies in most of government health care sectors.
Pharmacy is the largest healthcare profession in the world and pharmacy profession has been evolving steadily over the last decade in India. Today, pharmacists have expanded their role from dispensing to pharmaceutical care by maximizing the benefits of medications and their safety. Pharmacists have increasing work related activities, so it directly and in directly affect quality of work and job satisfaction. The Job satisfaction means we can say that a reaction of workers and their roles in the organization where they work. It can determine whether an employee will remain in a position or seek work elsewhere. Job satisfaction always produces the quality of work. Job satisfaction is directly associated with lower life satisfaction and it directly affect individual’s life. Job satisfaction and motivation at the place of job, plays main role in job retention and increases productivity of health workers which turn in to the best performance. Pharmacist’s satisfaction not only affects their own life and employers, but also patients who receive the medication. The study constituted in India as representative sample and showed poor job satisfaction among Indian pharmacists. In hospital and community pharmacy settings, counselling of patients is one of the important work of pharmacists and it is offered in developed states such as Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Gujarat though not all places. In remaining states of India chemist run without full time pharmacists.
In recent days most of the pharmacists predominantly have a commercial role, aimed at making profits. The conditions are too bad in rural areas of India. Furthermore, the general public also regards community pharmacists to work in medical stores as a first choice to seek medical counsel for minor ailments but unfortunately pharmacists are not available at all times due to higher workload, increased volume of prescriptions and the number of interactions with patients. Due to higher work load on pharmacists, they just dispense medications to patients and leave counselling part aside. On other hand places like UK, USA and other developed country have established the role of community pharmacists by prescribing prescription, providing all technical knowledge to patients, provide information about disease and their treatment also give advice about drug administration, dosage, side effects, storage of drugs, drug-drug and drug-food interactions. Since in last 10 years, pharmacy profession in our country is expanding due to industrialization and increasing patient needs which leads to increase in the demand of pharmacists.
There is a need for reforming the structure and policy of governing bodies like Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and several associations such as Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA), Indian Hospital Pharmacists’ Association (IHPA) and Association of Pharmaceutical Teachers of India (APTI) to improve job satisfaction among pharmacists.
Pharmacy governing bodies like the PCI and AICTE should not approve new pharmacy institutions due to the lack of vacancies for already passed out graduates and post graduate and they should prevail concern about the quality of education provided in pharmacy institutions. Government should create more job opportunity for passed out graduates and post graduate student in the government and private sector. In addition, PCI should maintain all registration details through software and contacts to all pharmacists working across the nation and the give them information about job vacancies then only pharmacists can say digital India. A team of 2–3 pharmacists should be appointed in PHCs (Primary Health Centres) at panchanyat level. There should be presence of a pharmacy officer working under a medical officer at the PHC level and similarly in each district, there should be the presence of a chief pharmacy officer, working under a chief medical officer (CMO). Drug inspectors must be appointed at tehsil level in addition to their appointment at the district or regional level for proper regulation. Pharmacy professionals and pharmacists working in hospitals and industries should be given due recognition, especially in the pharmaceutical industry where many arts and science graduates occupy many of the pharmacy based jobs. Pharmacists should be majorly involved in manufacturing of pharmaceuticals due to their expertise in the field. Presently, a number of art and science graduates with no basic knowledge about pharmaceuticals work in pharmaceutical industries. Some measures should be taken by PCI to improve pharmacy practice. They should be prohibiting physicians from storing medicines in absence of a pharmacist. Also make compulsory to mention name of the pharmacist who dispensed the prescription along with the name of the physician who issued the prescription. They should prohibit pharmacists from selling of prescription medications over the counter, renaming medical as pharmacies, make hiring of pharmacists mandatory in addition to procuring a pharmacist licensure in pharmacies run by non-pharmacists and try to limit working hours for practicing pharmacists to maximum of 8 hours per day.
The practice of earning a diploma in pharmacy as the minimum requirement to be a registered pharmacist should be discontinued and make compulsory for all the students to pursue a 4 year degree course in pharmacy since India is one of the few countries that allows candidates earning both, a 2 year diploma as well as a 4 year degree program in pharmacy to practice as independent pharmacists. This practice is unlike the developed countries, where candidates holding a diploma in pharmacy do not hold as many powers and responsibilities as candidates holding a 4 year pharmacy degree. Candidates with a diploma in pharmacy might not have as much knowledge as the candidates with a 4 year pharmacy degree. Also, the diploma in pharmacy curriculum is not updated on a regular basis which stresses the importance of procuring the four year bachelors of pharmacy (B.Pharm) degree. Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) states that B.Pharm graduates should register under state pharmacy council and become registered pharmacists. However, in spite of being registered as pharmacists, they are not eligible for pharmacist vacancies in most of government health care sectors. Premier pharmacy institutions such as National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) who are a separate organization for pharmaceutical sciences allow non-pharmacy students from other fields such as alternative medicine, veterinary sciences, dentistry and medicine to apply for master’s and doctoral positions in different specializations of pharmacy. These students do not have a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. And Pharmacy graduates are not permitted to pursue post- graduation in any of the above fields without completing a bachelor in respective field. Even though in other developed countries, students have a freedom to pursue post graduation in the field of their choice, a similar practice is not prevalent in India. Hence, an inconsistency can be seen in the implementation of educational policies and the opportunities to procure advanced degree programs in the pharmacy field.
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