Pharm. D – Class apart

Many physicians, pharmacists, students and their parents have a lot of questions in their mind about Pharm D. Here we have tried to get the maximum answers. In 2008, the first batch of Pharm D took admission to the course. Pharm D is short form of “Doctor of Pharmacy.” It is the professional pharmacy doctoral program that is six years long after 10+2. It includes five years of academic study and one year of internship. The course includes special subjects like Hospital Pharmacy, Community Pharmacy, Pharmacotherapeutics, Clinical Toxicology, Clinical Research, Pharmacoepidemiology, Pharmaco-economics, Clinical Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacotherapeutic Drug Monitoring. Thorough knowledge of such subjects make the students most eligible to practice clinical pharmacy unlike their B.Pharm counterparts. This theoretical knowledge is also supplemented by the extensive practical work in hospital during 4th, 5th and 6th year of the course. In these years students spend increasingly higher amount of their course time in the hospitals where they actually get to interact with the patients to find out their medication history, to provide information of safe and appropriate use of medication, to understand the adverse drug reactions. They also help the physicians in prescribing right drugs especially antibiotics to the patients. They provide relevant information on drug related matters to the doctors. They review prescriptions for any adverse drug reactions or drug interactions. They help in monitoring patient’s therapy. Students can train nursing staff in correct medication administration and reporting drug interactions and adverse drug reactions. In short, they work very closely with physicians and other paramedical staff for ensuring the safe and appropriate use of medications for achieving highest benefits of medicines to the patients. Some unique features of Pharm D include- prefix ‘Dr.’ to name, a registrable qualification after completion of course and eligibility to register straight for Ph.D. After completion and during the course Pharm D candidate may provide the clinical pharmacy services in the hospital, work in the areas like Clinical research organizations (CRO), Pharmacovigilance, Medical writing.

My personal experience – I actually have completed B. Pharm, M. Pharm and PhD in Pharmaceutical sciences and have a reasonable industrial and academic experience. I was quite lucky to get an opportunity to work as a clinical pharmacist in one of the reputed hospitals of Pune in spite of not having any relevant educational background like Pharm D. When I started working in the hospital I had to go through a big learning curve of prescription monitoring, adverse drug reaction reporting, antibiotic policy, safe handling and administration of medication, medication errors reporting, ward pharmacy. That time I realized that had I done the course of Pharm D, it would have become very easy for me to work in the hospital set up.

I also observed that almost all the pharmacists working currently in major hospitals do not come from Pharm D. background and hence do not have the necessary skill sets and knowledge to perform the duties described above in expected manner. Owing to the lack of desired expertise in the pharmacy professionals, the hospitals find a big lacuna in terms of patient care. Indira College of Pharmacy is the first college affiliated to Savitribai Phule Pune University to offer the apt course of Pharm D (Doctor of Pharmacy) in collaboration with Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital. This course is all set to instill the right attitude, dynamism and expertise in the aspiring students to cultivate them into the professionals who can work hand in hand with doctors and paramedical staff to offer the best health care to the patients and promote overall well being of the community and mankind.

Those who wish to work in corporate sectors like CROs or Pharmacovigilance can surely get an edge over their B. Pharm counterparts because of their in depth clinical knowledge and understanding that is most relevant to these sectors.

Blog by

Dr. Madhur Kulkarni
Associate Professor
SCES’s, Indira College of Pharmacy, Pune

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