Monday, March 28, 2016

Pop a pill – Career in Pharmacy


With healthcare becoming essential and popular by the day, the field of pharmacy offers great career options as well

Sector overview

As per a report by Equity Master, the Indian pharmaceuticals market is the third largest in terms of volume and thirteenth largest in terms of value. According to reports, globally, our country is the largest provider of generic drugs. Indian drugs are exported to over 200 nations across the globe, including many developed countries, and the United States being one of the major importers. With that and other drugs, India holds quite an important position in the worldwide pharmaceuticals sector, and it is expected to expand even further in the coming years. India also has a large pool of educated and trained scientists, and engineers within the sector who drive it higher.
With that, as aspirant can understand that the sector in India is very dynamic and has opportunities for all those who are interested and trained. It has a lot to offer within the domestic as well as the international markets. All the trade reports peg at the industry growing well, and with a growing industry, there will be job options as well. With the government initiatives and private sector investments providing impetus to this industry, the path ahead seems to be one of growth.
In the next five years, it is expected that India will be among the top three pharmaceutical markets in the world. One of the reasons for this incremental growth is also that the cost of production in India is much lower than that of other markets like the US or Europe. This factor provides quite a steep competitive edge to India.
Any aspirant, who thinks of entering this field, will have a career charted out with growth and success, according to many practitioners in the field.

To get there

To enter this field, the path is linear and simple. To opt for the bachelor’s degree, an aspirant needs to take up science after class 12 (HSC or equivalent) with the subject combination of physics, chemistry, biology and maths. The four-year undergraduate programme leads to the bachelor’s degree – the BPharm. There are master’s programmes also offered to those who have completed their BPharm. There are specialisation options available with the master’s programme which will also pave the way for a doctoral programme for those who are interested in specific research via a PhD.
The other option for a student is to take up a diploma after completing class 12, but the options after a diploma might be limited in nature since it is a less comprehensive programme compared to the degree option.
There are other inter-disciplinary options as well like pharma management, or pharmacy and technology.
Some institutes in Mumbai include:
  • Institute of Chemical Technology, Matunga
  • Dr. Bhanuben Nanavati College of Pharmacy, Vile Parle
  • MET Institute of Pharmacy, Bandra
  • Principal K. M. Kundnani College of Pharmacy, Cuffe Parade
  • Vivekanand Education Society’s College of Pharmacy, Chembur
  • SNDT’s C. U. Shah College of Pharmacy, Juhu
  • Dr. L. H. Hiranandani College of Pharmacy, Thane
  • Bombay College of Pharmacy, Kalina
  • H.K. College of Pharmacy, Jogeshwari
  • Bharati Vidyapeeth’s College of Pharmacy, Belapur
  • Garware Institute of Career Education and Development (GICED), Santacruz
  • SNDT’S Premlila Vithaldas Polytechnic (PVP Mumbai), Juhu

A student says

Mayur Pawar, Pursuing his prorgamme
 Medical sciences advances are necessary in a country like ours which is faced with a multitude of medical problems. These need to be dealt with at several levels, and for that, medicines are needed. Medicines today are becoming more complex as drugs are advancing and becoming extremely specific.  In college, we learn from a variety of subjects and cases, and training provides us with the necessary skills to work in this field as well. Apart from gaining scientific knowledge, students develop several skills over the four year bachelor’s programme, which enable them to work in the industry in future. These include critical and rational thinking, problem solving, evaluation of research and teamwork.
Those who work in this profession are called pharmacists and they need to learn about the composition of various drugs, and their chemical and physical properties and also their uses. They also need to learn the effects of the various drugs on people’s health, including the side effects as well. We also need to understand the procedures for testing the purity of the drugs and their strength. If you have the physical strength to pursue this course, go for it keeping in mind that it is a rigorous course and needs a lot of effort and dedication, besides a scientific temperament which is a must.

Market and remuneration

This is a field where specialised knowledge is necessary for any job role. A lot of people who think in the old school fashion still believe that pharmacy is a career option only second to medicine, but this industry has proved its own mettle, and has professionals who are doing very well. Pharmacists apply their specialized knowledge and skill to determine drug treatment plans, monitor responses to drug therapy, and recommend treatment alternatives.
A wide range of career opportunities can be found in this field. Job descriptions exist in production of drugs, research and development, scientists, production manager, dispensing pharmacists and perhaps as a medical representative in sales and marketing. Those who have completed their master’s degree or even a PhD, will have options in teaching as well.
Since this industry is highly driven by research and development, most pharmacy graduates look for projects where they can work in the areas of developing, manufacturing, marketing and monitoring medicines. The area a person works in will depend on the field one chooses. Many institutions offer campus placements after a bachelor’s degree, and the stream of work gets automatically chosen for students who opt for these placements.
The salaries offered in this sector reflect the growth in it, as it is a well-paying field. The initial pay depends on the job description, as well as the employing organisation, and the institute the candidate has pursued a course in.
For fresh graduates who have completed their BPharm from a reputed institute and are perhaps placed on campus, starting salaries range from Rs. 3.5 lakh per annum at the minimum going up to Rs. 4.5 lakh. With experience the salaries rise.

An aspirant asks

Kshama Joshi, SSC student 
I am interested in the field of pharmacy, and I have my family’s backing in terms of helping me to set up a drug store in future if I want it. But I am afraid that I might not be able to do well enough if I opt for this programme because I am very bad at rote learning, and I am sure this field needs a person to learn the drugs and its properties by rote. Also, if I want to work in research, is a master’s degree compulsory?
Our professional answers: If you have done well until now within the Indian education system, I see no reason why you cannot do well in a BPharm programme as well. In this programme, not much rote learning it needed, since there are projects and scientific papers and evaluations as well. You may have to learn a little bit during the exams, but that I think any person who is interested in the field, like yourself, will be able to manage. You will need to know the basics that you will keep applying to the assignments, but once you get used to the basics, you will enjoy it. For a job in research, although a master’s will be really helpful and fast track your career, it is not compulsory. You will be able to pursue research even with a bachelor’s degree if you mould yourself in that route during your undergraduate studies. Your professors may also be able to guide you for that.

Plastic bottles safe to keep drugs: Ministry

New Delhi, Mar 26 (DHNS): Plastic bottles are safe to pack and store medicines, according to an expert panel that was set up by the health ministry.
The panel was set up after the ministry received complaints on the risks associated with plastic bottles used by the pharmaceutical industry.
Headed by M K Bhan, the former secretary of the department of biotechnology, the panel found “no conclusive and reproducible evidence” to suggest that these bottles leach out any harmful chemicals in the drugs that they contain.
The Bhan panel’s recommendations counter a set of draft rules issued by the health ministry in September 2014 prohibiting the use of PET (polyethylene terephalate) bottles for packaging drug formulations for paediatric and geriatric use as well as medicines for women.
The National Green Tribunal, too, is hearing a separate petition seeking the ban on PET bottles for storing medicines.
The 2014 rules notified by the Health Ministry were based on the recommendations of the Drug Technical Advisory Board, which was asked by the ministry to consider a representation from Dehradun-based non-government outfit “Him Jagriti” that red-flagged the harmful effects of PET bottles and urged the government to ban these bottles for drug storage.
Pharmaceutical industries commonly use either glass or plastic bottles. Plastics are preferred as they are light-weight, unbreakable and collapsible. The common raw material is PET and few other similar compounds.
After draft rules were framed, the government received representations from the pharmaceutical industry and PET container manufacturers association, questioning those rules.
This led the NDA government to create the Bhan panel, which was asked by the Health Ministry to review the entire issue afresh taking note of all scientific information and available literature.
The panel having several senior scientists as its members found no scientific evidence to back up the concerns raised by the NGO.
“Within a robust regulatory system and process with clearly defined standards and requirements, the use of PET as packaging material for pharmaceutical can be practised with the assurance of safety,” the panel says in its recommendations submitted to the Drugs Controller General of India submitted last week.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Govt firm on decision to ban 344 drugs

Amid mounting pressure and court cases against the ban on 344 drugs, including popular cough syrups Corex and Phensedyl, the health ministry has so far maintained a firm stand saying it will produce all the relevant scientific data and studies to support its decision.Arguing the move is aimed at saving over 20 lakh lives vulnerable to drug resistance in upcoming decades, the ministry said there is no scope for any roll back at present.
“We have deliberated on the issue for a long time and followed a systematic process for more than four years.Companies have also been gi ven a fair chance to present their arguments. We stand firm on our decision and will support it with data in the court,“ a senior official in the health ministry told TOI. He added that the ministry is certainly open to evaluate the move if contrary data is produced by any firm.
Emphasising that the ban on irrational fixed dose combinations (FDCs) was essential to tackle anti-microbial resistance, the official said the government is committed to ensure that only safe products are available in the market.
According to WHO, 53% patients in India use antibiotics without prescription.
Antimicrobial resistance threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an increasing range of infections causing diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, urinary tract infection and even HIV .
India, accounting for the highest number of TB cases, is already the hub of MDR tuberculosis. Of the estimated global annual incidence of 9 million TB cases, India accounts for 2.3 million.
In the absence of an effective pharmacovigilance mechanism to track adverse effects of a drug after it is marketed, the government or drug regulators often fail to track the efficacy and safety of a medicine. Moreover, a highly fragmented pharmaceutical market makes it even more difficult for the regulator to keep a check on many irrational combinations.
SOURCE : Times of India | March 17, 2016

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Web 4.0 is coming – electronic agents will have an answer to everything

Web 4.0 is the impending state at which all the information converges into a great ball of benevolent self-aware light, and solves every problem from world peace to will Jon Snow be alive in the next season of Game of Thrones?

NB This is a viewpoint by Mohnish Bahal, digital marketing manager forVista Rooms.

Digital marketers, futurists, radicals – everyone is talking about this new coming wave. Before we get into Web 4.0, it is useful to look back at all the iterations of the internet:

Web 1.0: Read-Only Web

Web 1.0 lasted from 1989 to 2005. At its inception Tim Berners-Lee considered the web as read-only. The defining aspect of web 1.0 is search, think about Yahoo in the late 1990s! At this stage the web’s role was very passive in nature.

Web 2.0: Social Community Explosion

2.0 is the second generation of web. This generation was considered as “read-write web”. It encouraged community, social interaction and user-generated content. This generation also gave birth to brilliant digital platforms. Social media, blogs, Reddit, Wikipedia and Twitter all emerged during this phase.

Web 3.0: Immersive and virtual web

Web 3.0 is a recent phenomenon and we are at the very end of this generation. Futurists and digital pioneers call this phenomenon as “3D Web or Semantic Web”. In this phase, everything has a digital footprint, including your house thermostat! 3.0 built a pathway for brilliant innovations such as VR, 360 Videos, real time video streaming and Snapchat!

Web 4.0: Ultra Intelligent Electronic Agents

Interaction between humans and machines is the driving force behind 4.0. We might still well be in Web 3.0 but 4.0 is coming and it’s coming fast. Facebook recently launched Agent M, an artificial agent on chat. And we are all aware about Siri.

These systems are getting smarter by the day and it’s not just web. Cars and home systems are getting smart at an exponential rate. There’s no need to imagine driverless cars, we are already there!

David Burrus, a futurist, says that you will be able to give your agent a personality of your choice. It will say to you things like this:

“Good morning. You’re flying to Boston today. Take a raincoat, it’s raining. By the way, that fight you were taking, it’s already been cancelled. Don’t worry about it. There was a mechanical. I’ve already booked you on a new one. I’ll tell you about it on the way to the airport. But remember you’re going to exercise every day and I’m here to remind you that you’re going to exercise.”  And you might say, “I don’t know if I want to exercise today,” and It’ll show you a nude profile of yourself.  And you’ll say, “You know what, I think I’m going to exercise today.”

The 4.0 wave will not just bring disruption in the way we communicate with the web, but also change how we perceive the web.

The only thing certain is that exciting times lie ahead. Are you prepared for it?

E Link | Click Here

Friday, March 04, 2016

Budget 2016: Experts sceptical of budget booster to Jan Aushadhi

NEW DELHI: Students from a clutch of Indian colleges have come up with two innovations in the communications space. Presented at the recently held 'Tata IIT Delhi Pioneer's Makerthon', a competition to build the messaging tool of the future. The competition was jointly created by 'Tryst', a technical event of IIT Delhi and the Tata group 

The winning team 'Pojo' comprised of Ankur Singh, Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT Delhi), Ishan Khanna, Bhagwan Parshuram Insti .. 

Engineering students come up with low bandwidth video conferencing tool and messaging app

The art of drawing: Sir Peter Cook completes first ever building in the UK


Sir Peter Cook and his office CRAB (Cook Robotham Architectural Bureau) have just completed the drawing studio at the Arts University Bournemouth - the first of its kind to be built in the UK in 100 years
Celebrating the art of drawing – and teaching – the Arts University Bournemouth has just launched its brand new drawing studio, the first of its kind to be built in the UK in 100 years. 
The striking blue structure features the playful, organic-shaped volumes that form the signature of its creator; AUB alumnus and renowned architect and academic Sir Peter Cook and his office CRAB (Cook Robotham Architectural Bureau). 
The structure, purpose-built for the art school, will be accessible to students from all courses across the University. Its clean white and generous interior is flexible enough to be able to accommodate work by several different disciplines - from costume design, to architecture, animation and etching. 
Special attention was given to the room's openings and the direction of natural sunlight. A large north-facing opening on the roof brings in the type of light that is traditionally optimum for drawing. At the same time, a rear clerestory window tops up with softer light from the back. 
'As an alumnus of AUB, I am deeply honoured that this University, where I learnt my craft, is now home to my first building in the UK,' says Cook. 'The studio represents a fundamental recognition of the importance of drawing for all creative subjects. When it came to the design of the studio I wanted to ensure I created a space which all students, from all disciplines – be it fashion design, graphic design, fine art, or architecture like me – could make use of and feel inspired in.'
Highlighting the project's importance, Dame Zaha Hadid is set to attend the official opening today. This inauguration also marks Sir Peter Cook's very first built work in the UK.


Sun Pharma looking to leverage Ranbaxy OTC drugs: Dilip Shanghvi

India’s largest drugmaker Sun Pharmaceutical is looking to leverage the over-the-counter (OTC)  drugs’ portfolio of Ranbaxy Laboratories, which it acquired two year, to expand its global presence.
Sun Pharma had no presence in the high-volumes OTC segment — medicines sold directly to a consumer without prescription — before the acquisition of Ranbaxy. It recently rolled out its first OTC  drug, antacid Pepmelt, that will compete with Eno, Digene and Pudin Hara.
“Our consumer healthcare, or OTC business is a result of acquisition of Ranbaxy. It is a high-margin, high-growth business. We want to use this as a base to create a global OTC business,” Dilip Shanghvi, managing director, Sun Pharma told HT. “So, we are actually giving lot of internal focus and importance to it.”
When Sun Pharma acquired Ranbaxy, consumer healthcare was the latter’s fastest-growing businesses, with leading brands such as Revital, Volini, Chericof, Pepfiz and Garlic Pearls. Ranbaxy has 15 OTC products, which contributed over 20% of Ranbaxy’s sales before acquisition.
“The two top-growing segments in OTC are health supplements and analgesics and we are witnessing growth healthier than growth rate of the entire OTC market,” said Subodh Marwah, vice-president — consumer healthcare business, Sun Pharma. “So we are actually giving lot of internal focus and importance on growing that part of the business.”
“Consumer health business is important for our future growth not only in India but in other markets where we have presence, where our idea is to grow the business and look at potential inorganic opportunities,” Shanghvi said.
According to market analysts, OTC medicines contribute 10% to 15% to Sun Pharma’s revenues. Brands such Revital (health supplement) and Volini (analgesic) feature among top 10 brands of the country and Sun Pharma is likely to make significant investment in these categories.
As per Neilsen estimates, the antacids category is currently pegged at over Rs 1,180 crore, growing at around 21% every year. The total OTC market in India is pegged at around Rs 5,300 crore, growing annually at around 12% to 13%.

Eli Lilly launches once-a-week diabetes drug in India

"India is the third country after Japan and the UAE in Asia and it (Trulicity) is already available in the US and Europe. This complements our diabetes portfolio in India," Olaizola said. 

In a move to enhance its diabetes portfolio in India, US pharma major Eli Lilly has launched once-a-week diabetes treatment drug under the brand name 'Trulicity', at Rs 2,499 in the country. The company has launched the product after receiving the regulatory approval for the same in India. "We are pleased to be introducing Trulicity, first, once-a-week diabetes medicine, in India. We have been committed to diabetes for more than 90 years. We are bringing a new medication to India with a proven efficacy," Eli Lilly India Managing Director Edgard Olaizola told PTI. "The medicine is an injectable medication and belongs to a class called GLP-1 receptor agonists. It is not a insulin," he added. Trulicity comes in a single-dose pen and is designed to improve the blood sugar control in adults with Type 2 diabetes. "India is the third country after Japan and the UAE in Asia and it (Trulicity) is already available in the US and Europe. This complements our diabetes portfolio in India," Olaizola said. For Eli Lilly, diabetes is the biggest segment with "about 85 percent of our sales in India coming from diabetes and we are growing double digit and growing our market share," he added. After diabetes, the other important segment is oncology. The others are osteoporosis and human growth hormone, he added. The company is also looking to introduce another medication in oncology. "We are working to bring an oncology product to India and we are working with regulatory agencies for this," Olaizola said. The company expects to introduce the product by next year, he added. Eli Lilly sells a range of medicines and drug delivery devices in the diabetes segment. In 2014, it had introduced Savvio, an insulin delivery device in India.

Read more at:

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Budget 2016: Jaitley announces 3,000 new drug stores, dialysis centres

"For the better availability of generic medicines in the country, especially in the rural areas, the government has decided to open 3,000 new gereric medicines stores," Arun Jaitley said, presenting the Union Budget for 2016-17 in the Lok Sabha.

NEW DELHI: The government will set up 3,000 new generic medicine stores across the country to tackle the shortage of drugs in rural areas, finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday.

"For the better availability of generic medicines in the country, especially in the rural areas, the government has decided to open 3,000 new gereric medicines stores," said Jaitley, presenting the Union Budget for 2016-17 in the Lok Sabha.

He also announced the launch of a National Dialysis Programme to address the high costs involved in the renal dialysis processes.

Under the programme every district hospital will have the facilities of renal dialysis, so that people do not have to travel to the expensive hospitals of metro cities, he said.

At least 2,000 new dialysis centres will be started in the country under the programme.


P A Francis
Wednesday, March 02, 2016, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]
Indian pharmaceutical industry has been passing through a difficult phase for the last five years with its export prospects getting threatened on account of regulatory actions by the US Food & Drug Administration (US FDA) and European Medical Agency (EMA). Regulatory inspections and actions by these agencies and consequent drop in exports have been hitting the profitability of India’s top large and medium scale pharma companies as their profits mainly come from generic exports to these countries. India supplies more than 30 per cent of the generic medicines sold in the US and nearly 25 per cent sold in the European Union. There has been a steady increase in issuance of warning letters and import alerts by the US FDA and EMA on Indian pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities with regulators’ increasing concern over the safety of drugs imported into their countries. The US FDA alone issued 15 warning letters to Indian pharma companies during 2015. Between 2008 and 2015, US FDA has issued around 50 warning letters on Indian companies and out of these, around 40 per cent were converted into import alerts. India has more than 600 US FDA approved manufacturing facilities located in different parts of the country. Warning letters are issued after regular inspections of the stringent manufacturing standards laid down by these agencies.

Quality issues arising out of regulatory actions by the US FDA and EMA have been an issue of serious discussion among the industry bodies and the concerned government departments for some time. Such repeated actions by the world’s top regulatory authorities not only affect India’s generic exports but also the reputation of India as a global supplier of quality generics at reasonable prices. Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, a body of 20 large research based Indian pharma companies, has been addressing this issue quite seriously. It recently held a meeting of representatives from US FDA, UK MHRA, Drug Controller General of India and Indian drug exporters. Main complaints from regulators ranged from issues over hygiene and maintenance to concerns over documentation and data management. There is a growing feeling among the regulators that some Indian companies are still not taking enough steps to identify risks and failures at their facilities even after issue of several warning letters. Regulatory officials from the US, EU and UK at the meeting therefore said that they would step up the number of inspections in India, and are expecting better cooperation from the exporting companies and Indian authorities. That is indeed a legitimate expectation and Indian pharma exporters have to take this matter seriously considering the price these countries are offering to Indian products.