February 8, 2009
School of Pharmacy, Kochi
Pharmacy education in India is undergoing a sea change. For many decades, educational institutions in the country offered B Pharm, a four-year undergraduate degree program to students. This degree, however, did not qualify them to pursue pharmacy-related careers in most other countries of the world where a Pharm D qualification is the norm. This past academic year, the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), finally approved the starting of the Pharm D program in India.
Pharm D is a doctorate first professional degree. It would be the highest degree one could obtain in the field of pharmacy, yet it would also be the first degree in the field that one could enroll for. A six-year course of study and clinical services training would be required to complete the degree. Students could enroll after the completion of their 12th Standard. For those who already have B Pharm degrees, an additional study program of three years will qualify them to obtain the Pharm D.
“The Indian pharmaceutical industry is fourth in the world in terms of revenue,” stated Dr. Revikumar, Dean of the Amrita School of Pharmacy. Begun as a center of excellence nearly one decade ago, the school currently offers the four-year B Pharm degree to students. “Our educational standards in India, however, have to greatly improve in order to match global standards. Beginning in the next academic year, we at Amrita, will start offering the Pharm D program.” (read Dr. Revikumar’s article about the history of pharmacy education in India)
The Pharmacy Council of India granted approval to about twenty colleges in India to offer the Pharm D program from the 2008-2009 academic year. These colleges either had to be attached to a 350-bed hospital or have a MoU in place with them. Amrita is seeking the help of global experts in order to make the transition. Prof. James Scott, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Administration at the Western University of Health Sciences in California, USA, now visiting India on invitation by the UGC, will be at the Amrita School of Pharmacy in Kochi for this purpose. We welcome him to Amrita.