India witnesses surge in pharmacy education
The importance of general health, nutrition, and pharmaceuticals has been widely recognised since the advent of the Covid-19 epidemic, resulting in remarkable expansion of the pharmaceutical and biotech industries across the country.
As a result, colleges that offer Pharmacy programmes at various levels have seen an increase in applicants.“The demand of Pharmacy graduates is expected to grow in Indian and global Pharmaceutical and Biotech Industry. Moreover, several international pharmaceutical companies have initiated (or plan to initiate) their R&D activities in India, and these multinational companies require skilled professionals to successfully run their operations in India,” says Shashi Bala Singh, director, NIPER Hyderabad. Increase in applicants In a post pandemic world, says Indu Pal Kaur, chairperson, University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Panjab University, Chandigarh, demand has increased for not only good pharmacy professionals in industry, but also as regulators, clinical trial experts, consultants and in pharmacovigilance. NIPER offers mostly postgraduate and research courses while Panjab University, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham are among others that offer various programmes at UG, PG and PhD level. Panjab University which offers admission to Pharmacy course at undergraduate level through PU-CET, has got more than 2000 applications. “Continuing the trend, this year again we have a received 2476 aspirants for Bachelor of Pharmacy programme against the overall seats of 46 and 6 NRI seats,” says Kaur. Pharmacy one of the mainstream courses in healthcare sector has a booming demand due to the growing economy and those interested in serving the society. “Our courses are streamlined based on research and industrial standard, receiving an average 50% to 65 % increase of applications, especially for Pharm D every year,” says Sabita M, principal, Amrita School of Pharmacy. Bengaluru-based KLE College of Pharmacy is also witnessing increased demand for pharmacy courses. “More focus towards health care and comparatively better placement opportunities are attracting more students towards pharmacy courses,” says Raman D, principal, KLE College of Pharmacy which has so far admitted total 96 students for BPharm against 100 approved intakes. “More aspirants are in the waiting list,” he adds. Specialisations at UG, PG level UG level courses cover the basics of all the core specialisations and allied subjects of biostats, mathematics, computers, environmental sciences, and social and preventive medicine. “Colleges follow a universal syllabus defined by the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI),” adds Kaur. “Pharmaceutics, Pharmacology, Regulatory Toxicology, Medicinal chemistry, Pharmaceutical Process Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Analysis, Pharmacognosy, Regulatory Affairs etc. are among list of the specialisations available at PG level,” explains Singh. Why study Pharmacy On why students should opt for Pharmacy, Sabita says it is one of the best courses for students interested in the areas of Chemistry and Biology. “Pharmacy education can provide skills for both technical and service-oriented careers in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. There are abundant opportunities to excel nationally and globally for a skilled and trained pharmacist,” adds Sabitha. Selection process and eligibility For admission at UG level, candidates must have passed class XII with English, Physics, Chemistry and one of the following subjects: Biology/ Biotechnology/ Mathematics and they must have cleared admission test, conducted by respective colleges. Scholarship for GPAT qualified candidates The Panjab University runs six MPharm courses viz.: Pharmaceutics, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Pharmacology, Pharmacognosy, Pharmaceutical Analysis and Pharmaceutical Quality Assurance. AICTE funded scholarship of Rs 12, 400 per month is offered to all GPAT qualified students. “Non-GPAT qualified candidates may be admitted into two self-financed courses - Pharmaceutical Analysis and Pharmaceutical Quality Assurance,” adds Kaur. Future growth Indian Pharma industry has been steadily growing with a CAGR of more than 10%. “India has become the Pharmacy capital of the world and has been enjoying the success of producing the quality generic medicine for domestic use and export purpose. India has the largest number of USFDA approved plants outside the United States. As a current trend, most of the Pharma companies have started focusing on the innovation driven business models to enjoy long monopolies in the form of patents rights,” explains Singh. List of colleges NIPER, Hyderabad Panjab University, Chandigarh Amrita School of Pharmacy KLE College of Pharmacy, Bengaluru Lovely Professional University, Ludhiana Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani JSS College of Pharmacy, Ooty and Mysore Annamalai University, Chennai Nirma University, Ahmedabad Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi