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AICTE & PCI must jointly deliberate on measures to ensure career prospects of diploma holders before D Pharm is phased out: Dr Revikumar

Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai
Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Before introducing steps to phase out diploma course from pharmacy education sector, the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) must jointly deliberate on several measures to protect the career prospects of the working diploma pharmacists and the job opportunities of the unemployed diploma holders.

A definite period of time should be specified for winding up the course like the reforms introduced in the educational sector in western countries.  The reforms for upgrading the minimum qualification to degree level have to be implemented in a time-bound manner. Both the regulatory bodies should allow a period of time for the change-over, said Dr. K G Revikumar, an expert in pharmacy education.

He said the future of the existing working pharmacists should not be affected by, in any way, the upgrading process. In the US, when the degree course (BS Pharmacy) was phased out before introducing Pharm D in 1990, the universities were given 15 years time to gradually put an end to the graduate course. The working graduates were given opportunity for a transition from BS Pharmacy to Pharm D either by private study or by online course. Within the specified time all the universities in America changed their curriculum and introduced the new program Pharm D without affecting the prospects of the graduates or the undergraduates.

In the light of this change in pharmacy education in US, the Pharmacy Council of India under the presidentship of  Prof CK Kokate brought in a new Education Regulation in 2001 in place of the existing ER-91. The ER-2001 was framed for upgrading the qualification of a pharmacist from diploma to degree. But, after Kokate‚Äôs period, the PCI did not make any step to implement the new ER. Still, the Council is following the old regulations which support diploma course.

According to sources from PCI, the education scenario in the north and eastern part of the country is different from that of the south. In states like Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, there are plenty of diploma and degree holders in pharmacy. But in UP, MP, Bihar and other states there were very few educational institutions until two years ago. The number of degree colleges in north and north eastern states is very few even today. This year hundreds of new colleges have come up in these states, but all of them are for running diploma course. Since a registered pharmacist is mandatory for opening a medical store, the minimum requirement of the drug store owner is a diploma holder as per the existing Pharmacy Act. In such a situation, it is difficult to discontinue the diploma course all of a sudden.

Rajat Raaz, president of the Bihar Pharmacist Welfare Association (BPWA) said there are a large number of diploma holders in the state and majority of them are unemployed. If government of India takes a decision to stop diploma course, it should be implemented after ensuring job opportunities for the already passed out D Pharm holders. He said his association will support the steps taken by PCI and AICTE to upgrade the standard and status of the pharmacists, but it should not adversely affect the unemployed diploma holders who are waiting for job opportunities.

Commenting on the trade industry in Bihar, Rejat further said although qualified and registered pharmacists are in all the districts, the shop owners are not appointing them in their shops, but engaging experienced persons who are permitted to sell medicines in retail outlets.


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Amardeep gond Jun 12, 2018 11:10 AM
Sir,also think about the b.pharm students
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