More Pharmacy colleges approval - Beneficial or Troublesome

 

After 10 years of job and permanent ship in private or limited companies, even ITI holders or other technical diploma holders are earning 30-50k INR per month salary. What about diploma in pharmacy?

As it was expected, AICTE approved more 57,747 pharmacy course seats in existing ones and approved 842 new institutions in 2019. India has now got 3726 pharma institutions from this year and total intake of 2,62,698 diploma, UG and PG candidates. AICTE had already cut down around 1.64 lakh engineering seats in both UG and PG level. It has reduced the student intake by half in colleges where admissions in the last five years were less than 30%. And it was expected that pharmacy seats will going higher with at least 50000 seats. Also, for last few years, pharmacy seats are filling easily and faster in compare to engineering or other technical courses.

 

Due to increase in job guarantee and reducing craze for engineering, students are attracted more towards pharmacy for last few years. And internationally, there is tremendous demand for Pharmacists. Pharmacy is a professional course and directly dealt with healthcare. So, it is important that along with quantity, we need to produce quality pharmacists and pharma professionals who can handle and contribute towards medicinal research and patient safety.

Intention of AICTE and the government is good and they want to produce more pharmacists, so they can available in most of pharmacies of country. Also, online pharmacies and few allied areas are booming for need of pharmacists. Scope of pharmacy professionals has been in high demand especially as entrepreneur and high skilled professionals. Many of pharma professionals have begged good positions internationally.

But there is a big concern of quality education in our country. Role of PCI increases in this regards and there will be urgent need for checking parameters for unethical or malpractices that occurs in few institutes.

While discussing telephonically with Mr. Montu Patel, president of Gujarat Pharmacy council said that, “we don’t have any problem if number of colleges or seats increased as per rules but we are concerned towards quality of pharmacists that would produce after this. Unethical practices in pharmacy are dangerous for nation. There are chances that medications can be misused by few culprits. Few institutes may not take consideration of age criteria while providing admission and it may promote malpractices in pharmacy field.”

 

Many M.Pharm colleges are closing due to lack of admissions and if this much diploma seats are increased who will get benefit out of it. Patients should be end user who get benefits of all healthcare services not institutes or any other.

It is not unaware that Pharmacists are not happy with their current pay scales and reputation in healthcare industry and whooping increase in number of pharmacists will increase trouble for them in getting good government jobs.

As per AICTE official, it is known that this demand for pharmacy education may not last more than 2-3 years till all pharmacies have proper qualified pharmacists. Then after 2-3 years when job saturation may come who will take responsibility for jobs and quality of pharmacists?

If we are dreaming to make India as Health capital or superpower, we must need highly qualified professionals, not diploma holders (whose around 35000 seat are increased.) Our neighbor countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan etc required bachelor of pharmacy as minimum criteria for government job for pharmacist and still, we are stuck with diploma of pharmacy. Salary cadres are lower for pharmacist and we expect bigger roles from pharma professionals, how is that possible?

In developed countries like US, UK, Canada, Australia etc., our B.Pharm or M.Pharm graduates have to pursue extra qualification or exams to register as Pharmacist. That means our UG or PG pharmacists are not having capabilities to stand in international standards then, what we expect from diploma holders?

Diploma of Pharmacy started in country when highly qualified professionals were not there. Pharmacists had to formulate or prepare medicine and dispense it to patients. Now days, all the medicines are coming in proper formulated form. And Pharmacists role is extended from dispenser to many other areas. Pharmacists are involved in many aspects of medicines like research and development, formulation and development, clinical research, pharmacovigilance, production, regulation etc. How can we expect diploma of pharmacy to perform roles in these areas? Roles of diploma pharmacy professionals are limited in industries.

 

Few people think that B.Pharm holders are not joining in community pharmacy, so we need diploma holders to fulfill that gap. In community pharmacy, if they are getting salary like 8k or 10k INR per month and there are little chances to grow in private sectors, who will join in? And even if D.Pharm holders are joining in and they are not getting proper growth or salary after spending 5 or 10 years of life, who will responsible for that? Or are we expecting that all of them will indulge in entrepreneurship and start their own pharmacies?
After 10 years of job and permanent ship in private or limited companies, even ITI holders or other technical diploma holders are earning 30-50k INR per month salary. What about diploma in pharmacy?
We are not able to give justice to current diploma in pharmacy professionals. What shall we do with future diploma professionals and that too in bigger numbers?

As per Mr. Deepak Trehan, president of Pharmacy Graduates Welfare Association, Delhi, "Pharmacy services are not included in citizen charter for hospitals. Also pharmaceutical services are not included in NABH accreditation of hospitals. We are not able to utilise full capabilities of pharmacists who could be involved in many other works in hospitals along with dispensing of medicines."

As we are aware, even for 2 or 3 posts of pharmacists, thousands of applications have been receiving then where is shortage of pharmacists?

To become global leader in healthcare sector, we need quality performance from pharmacists, not quantity of pharmacists!

- Rajesh Vagh
PharmaTutor Edu Labs

(Dr. Amit Gangawal, Principal, Shri Vithal Education and Research Institute's College of  Pharmacy, Pandharpur helped in writing of this article.)

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