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Ramesh Shankar
Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Recently, there were reports that the Andhra Pradesh government has created the post of Clinical Pharmacist for Pharm D graduates in the institutions under its health and family welfare department, thus becoming the first state government to create this post in government institutions and to invite applications from Pharm D graduates. The AP government has taken a right step as creation of the post of Clinical Pharmacist in all the healthcare settings has been a major demand of the Pharm D graduates as they were finding it difficult to get proper jobs after studying for six long years and spending a huge amount of money as fees. The country’s pharmacy education regulator, the Pharmacy Council of India had introduced the Pharm D programme in the country with much fanfare in 2008 with the main objective of imparting the necessary training and skill to undertake pharmacy practice in the field of patient care. The curriculum was designed to produce clinically competent pharmacists who can assume expanded responsibilities in patient care and assure the provision of rational drug therapy. The government introduced this 6-year course as the role of a pharmacist has been undergoing major changes world over in the wake of notable progress made by the pharmaceutical science and education. And India was no exception.  In India, although pharmaceutical industry has advanced over the last around four decades, a pharmacist continues to be a salesman in a retail pharmacy. Pharm D was introduced in such a background to change this image by raising the standards of pharmacy education to produce world class pharmacists.

At present, hundreds of colleges are offering Pharm D program and the number of graduates in the country is increasing every year.  But, it is a pity that the euphoria created over this course is petering out as the job prospects for the Pharm D graduates have been far and few between as the government did not create a cadre to them, though they fall under Clinical Pharmacist cadre. The gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that some time back thousands of Pharm D graduates had resorted to protest demonstrations in different cities demanding the creation of the post of Clinical Pharmacist for Pharm D holders in each hospital as per patient ratio. These graduates were forced to hit the streets as they could not find suitable jobs after six years of specialised learning. It was under this background, the PCI introduced the Pharmacy Practice (Amendment) Regulations, 2021 by amending the PPR 2015 on June 30, 2021 notifying Pharm D as the basic qualification for Clinical Pharmacist post.  It is sad that even though it is several years since the PCI notified the post of Clinical Pharmacist with Pharm D as basic qualification, the Union Health Ministry is yet to come out with a legal framework enabling the states to create the post of Clinical Pharmacist in healthcare settings across the country. Some time back, there were reports that the Maharashtra government is gearing up to create the post of Clinical Pharmacist in government hospitals as per the Pharmacy Practice (Amendment) Regulations, 2021. Now after several years of struggle, there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel for the Pharm D graduates. The Union Health Ministry must direct other states to follow the path shown by Maharashtra and AP governments. Definitely it will be a win-win situation for both the Pharm D graduates as well as the patient community as a whole. Certainly, The AP government’s action will prove to be music to the ears of thousands of Pharm D graduates in the country.

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