Sunday, 27 March 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.