Pharmaceutical Sciences is a profession that links health and chemical science, making sure, the safe and effective use of medicinal products. In modern times scope of pharmacy is not limited to traditional roles of compounding and dispensing medications, but extends to modern healthcare services, which includes clinical services, medications safety, efficacy, and also providing patient with drug related information.
Over the past four decades there has been a trend for pharmacy practice to move away from its original focus on medicine supply towards a more inclusive focus on patient care.
The role of the pharmacist has evolved from that of a compounder and supplier of pharmaceutical products towards that of a provider of services and information and ultimately that of a provider of patient care. Increasingly, the pharmacist’s task is to ensure that a patient’s drug therapy is appropriately indicated, the most effective available, the safest possible and convenient for the patient. By taking direct responsibility for individual patient’s medicine-related needs, pharmacists can make a unique contribution to the outcome of drug therapy and to their patients’ quality of life. The new approach has been given the name pharmaceutical care. The most generally accepted definition of this new approach is: “Pharmaceutical care is the responsible provision of drug therapy for the purpose of achieving definite outcomes that improve a patient’s quality of life”.
In reality, a pharmacist is very important for the healthcare system of any country. He is the person who has the most knowledge about the drugs. Pharmacists can educate the public on the correct use of medicines and in the maintenance of health.
The effective delivery of health care requires a partnership between people and their health-care providers. As vital members of any health care team, pharmacists can have a significant impact on diabetes care and education. In certain circumstances, pharmacists may be in a position to identify people with diabetes, offer advice on their condition, and encourage them to seek appropriate medical care.
Importantly, pharmacists see people with diabetes on average up to eight times more often than other health-care providers and have an important role in the provision of diabetes supplies. This requires pharmacists to offer guidance in the effective use of these products. In recent years, the role of pharmacists in diabetes care has expanded in countries throughout the world. Pharmacists are in a unique position to provide the services necessary to optimize treatment, facilitate education, and improve outcomes.
The medications given to a patients contains many drugs with lots of advices which makes compliance difficult. Whatever is the potency of a medicine, it cannot act unless the patient takes it. Treatment may be complex, meddling and inconvenient. Many patients are prescribed very complicated regime of diet, exercise, and medication including several medicine a day. Such complexity of treatment and factors like age, duration of diseases, depression, disabilities, psychosocial issues and life style changes directly or indirectly influences diseases self-management.
In western countries, the doctor diagnosis the disease and pharmacist is the one who decides the medicine and its dosage.
Scope of pharmacy in India
Basically, the course offers graduation in pharmaceutical sciences which is the minimum qualification accepted for a registered pharmacist in most of the developed countries. A person can do D.Pharm (Diploma in Pharmacy), B.Pharm (Bachelor in Pharmacy), M.Pharm (Masters in Pharmacy), PhD and now a new five-year course Pharm.D. This course teaches students how to prepare and dispense medicine and make the students to convey the drug related information to the public. This course enables graduates to clear doubts about the prescriptions given by the doctors and can give more valuable advices on the health care programs. Pharmacy graduates can evaluate drugs and drug use pattern.
In the western countries, we understand diagnosis of the patients are done by the doctors but the pharmacists decide the medicines and their dosage. Therefore, pharmacy graduates have important role and can earn attractive remuneration and can occupy strategic positions.
In the fast-developing world, research and Development (R&D) in the pharmaceutical industry is progressing and advancing at a very high speed which calls for pharmacy graduates with attractive financial package in spite of the economic crisis prevailing now.
Graduates can attain highest qualification like Pharm D and demand higher salary. Graduates can look into most advancing branches in genetic engineering, Bio informatics, Nanotechnology, Nuclear pharmacology, Nutraceuticals etc.
Career scope for pharmacy professionals
A career in pharmacy, gives loads of opportunities to a young pharmacist . The job opportunities, working conditions, job satisfaction and monetary benefits are excellent.
These are the different vocations a pharmacist can opt for: Academic Pharmacists:
An academic pharmacist teaches and does research in colleges and schools of pharmacy. Ambulatory Pharmacist: Ambulatory Pharmacists act as the first and/or most frequently seen health care providers in many rural areas. They provide extensive contact with old age populations. Clinical Pharmacist: Clinical pharmacists work in hospitals, nursing homes to home health care. Community Pharmacists: Community Pharmacists give advice to patients in the community settings and ensures proper use of medicines by the patients. They also tell the patients about food drug interactions.
Retail Pharmacists: Retail pharmacists advise customers about prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and their possible side effects and interactions.
Government pharmacists: Government pharmacists work for the government run hospitals and also looks after the regulatory affairs. Home Care Pharmacists: Home care pharmacists generally give home care to to critically ill patients in the home care setting. They prepare infusions and help in intravenous nutrition.
Outpatient pharmacist – This is similar to a retail pharmacy but in a hospital setting. It mainly provides service to patients who can “physically” bring in their prescription to pharmacy. Independent Pharmacist: Independent pharmacists, generally work in pharmacies. They generally dispense the prescribed medicines and give advice on OTC medicines.
Managed Care Pharmacist: Managed care pharmacists work for Health Maintenance Organizations, helping to plan and manage prescription drug use.
Nuclear Pharmacist: Nuclear pharmacy is a specialty area of pharmacy practice dedicated to the compounding and dispensing of radioactive materials for use in nuclear medicine procedures.
Pharmaceutical Industry Pharmacists: Pharmaceutical industry pharmacists work for drug manufacturing companies doing marketing, research and product development, quality control, sales, and administration.
Radio pharmacists: Radio pharmacists dispense radioactive pharmaceuticals used for patient diagnosis and therapy.
Research Pharmacists: Research pharmacists, who may work in hospitals, universities or drug companies, developing new drugs and studying the side effects of drugs
MBA in pharmaceutical marketing
A professional in pharmaceutical management has varied fields to explore like sales promotion, retail wholesale distribution, product management, medical journalism and many more. Pharmacy is still the second choice as a career to most of the student. Not their fault, this field of career was never explored completely and it’s scope is not too well known.
The students who pass the 12th standard should consider pharmaceutical sciences as an option for their career path. They will never regret it.
(Author is M. Pharm (Pharmacology)