Experts hail CSIR for recognizing B Pharm as essential qualification for technical officers

Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, ChennaiWednesday, October 13, 2021, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Pharmacy professionals and academic experts have hailed the decision of the governing body of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to accept bachelor of pharmacy (B Pharm) as one of their essential qualifications for various posts of technical officers in the R&D organization.
CSIR, the largest research and development organization in the country, through an amendment of its recruitment rules, has approved B Pharm as one the essential qualifications for recruiting technical officers and supporting staff to the council. The council has already notified the decision of the governing body.
Hailing this as a great step ahead, the captains of various pharmaceutical associations have largely welcomed the decision of the CSIR and have opined that this may turn out to be a major turning point in the career scope of pharmacists in the country. They observe that this amendment in basic qualifications will act like an ‘oxygen supply to the dying pharmacy profession’ in India during the period of Covid pandemic.
Welcoming the decision, the president of the London based Commonwealth Pharmacists Association (CPA), Dr Rao VSV Vadlamudi, has responded that inclusion of B Pharm as one of the basic qualifications for technical posts in CSIR has proven that pharmacy degree is also made equal to other technical and non-technical qualifications for the Central government services. Recently, the UPSC has recognized pharmacy as a specialization subject like other specialties for various posts. He said if high profile job opportunities are provided to the pharmacists in India, especially in central government services, the graduates and postgraduates in pharmacies (B Pharm, M Pharm, Pharm D) will not prefer to go abroad and rather they will work in our country.
“We have been fighting for more opportunities and recognition. In developed countries like the USA and UK the pharmacy profession is a well-paid job and the pharmacists are allowed to collect fees for counseling and dispensing. In India, since their potential is not properly used for various services, they are looking for other career avenues where they can be utilized. If good positions in central and state services are given to them, they will not go abroad, rather they will work in India. The country’s healthcare area cannot accommodate all the qualified pharmacists who are eligible for all other positions requiring other qualifications,” said Dr Rao.

Dr. Atmaram Pawar, principal of Poona College of Pharmacy in Pune in Maharashtra, said pharmacy is a multidisciplinary programme with technology and healthcare as core strengths with regulatory and management as added values. Exposure to technology, research and developments at CSIR facilities will definitely add value in widening scientific knowledge of graduates that can be applied in promoting health care in terms of novel products and services.
Dr. Suresh Saravdekar, vice-chairman of the hospital pharmacy division of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association, said B Pharmacy was started in colleges in India to cater to the technical needs of the industry. Now with saturation of employment in industry and no further scope in healthcare, the pharmacy graduates can opt for various positions in other areas. He hailed CSIR for inclusion of B Pharm as a qualification into their eligibility criteria.
The president of Delhi based Pharmacy Graduates Welfare Association (PGWA), Deepak Trehan, said this is a welcome step by CSIR as all these years the pharmacy graduates have been suffering due to their inability to catch a position in the central services. He said all the technical positions in Central government services are set aside for other qualifications or, otherwise rules are made to exclude pharmacy graduates from being recruited.  With the amendment in essential qualifications by CSIR, it has been proven that pharmacy is also a scientific subject equal to other scientific and technical qualifications. He said similar amendments in qualifications are required for the recruitment of food inspectors, malaria inspectors, dieticians, sanitary inspectors etc. Pharmacy graduates can try for these high profile positions provided they are recognized as eligible.
Dr. Santanu Mallik, Associate Professor at Bharat Pharmaceutical Technology at Agartala in Tripura, is of the opinion that pharmacy graduates can easily handle and supervise technical units for medicine related issues, technology transfers, management of budget planning, situation based crisis management etc. The job profile of ‘technical officer’ may vary from sector to sector. Although it is a late decision, CSIR has taken an appropriate step by including B Pharm into the list of essential qualifications for various cadres of technical officers. He said this initiative by CSIR may bring a golden opportunity to establish the competency and expertise of a pharmacist and also act as an eye-opener for various departments like FSSAI for the posts of food analyst or food safety officers (FSO/FA), departments of microbiology and biotechnology, and for community health officers (CHOs) under national health mission (NHM) in addition to ADR reporters in pharmacovigilance programme of India (PvPI) of the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission.

Dr U S Jijith, an academic professor at the department of pharmaceutics at the government pharmacy college at Kozhikodu Medical College in Kerala has said that by recognizing B Pharm by CSIR as a qualification for technical officers, multiple opportunities are going to be opened before the graduates in pharmacy in the country. He said since the prime minister of the country holds the chairman post of the CSIR and a lot of money is allotted for various research projects, pharmacy graduates will get the best opportunities to collaborate with great colleagues and they will be assigned with great responsibilities which will escalate them to higher positions. He said all over India, CSIR has over 130 research laboratories and they go with more than 2,000 research projects. This will enable the graduates of pharmacy to attain various positions like project assistant, project officer, scientific officer, research officer etc. apart from technical officers.

Meanwhile, Munindra Chandra Dekha, president of the Assam State Pharmacy Council and ex- drugs controller has commented that the pharmacy professionals should know how CSIR defines the nomenclature, technical officer. “Only the nomenclature does not benefit any graduate candidate. At the same time, we have to see the job responsibilities, pay-scale, cadre status, etc,” he remarked.