Pharmacists are those who are educated and licensed to dispense drugs and to provide drug information- they are experts on medications. They are the most accessible member of today’s healthcare team, and often are the first source of assistance and advice on many common ailments and healthcare matters.
The important role of pharmacist is “the responsible provision of drug therapy for the purpose of achieving definite outcomes that improve a patient’s quality of life”.
Job opportunities for pharmacists are expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations, mainly due to the increased pharmaceutical needs of a larger and older population. The various vocations a pharmacy professional can opt, for, are discussed below:-
- Production & Manufacturing
- Research & Development
- Analysis & Testing
- Hospital Pharmacy
- Community Pharmacy
- Regulatory Affairs
- Documentation, Library Information Services & Pharma Journalism
- Opportunities Abroad
1. Production & Manufacturing:-
A pharmacy professional can work as a production person involved in the production of bulk drug & intermediates or formulations and dosage forms.
Industries in the cosmetics, soaps, toiletries segment also hire pharmacy professionals. Other segments where opportunities exist are the field of dental products. Dental medicine is a specialized field and so is its production. These involve products dedicated to dental care and hygiene like toothpaste, mouthwashes, dental cavity fillers, etc.
Production of biological & biotechnological products, surgical dressings, medical devices & equipment, ayurvedic/ homoeopathic/ unani medicines also involve the presence of pharmacy professionals in its production. Other areas where pharmacy professionals are required are in production of veterinary medicine, perfumery, fragrances, and nutraceuticals.
2. Research & Development:-
This forms the heart of any industry, as it is the key to growth and sustenance. Mainly M.Pharms & PhDs are in great demand in the various areas of Pharmaceutical R&D. Other areas where professionals are required are:
- New Drug Discovery Research (NDDR): Discovering a new drug has assumed prime importance in the post-GATT era.
- Process Development (P&D): One of the important areas in bulk drugs industry is developing viable processes for the manufacture of drugs and intermediates for their commercial production.
- Formulation & Development (F&D): The success of any pharma company lies in the quality of its products, i.e., its formulations & dosage forms.
- Clinical Trials, Bioequivalence studies, Toxicological Studies: These are some of the areas of clinical research which are in high demand as they are involved in the systematic evaluation of potential drug substances prior to getting them approved by the authorities.
3. Analysis & Testing:-
Any drug or dosage form for human use has to be of excellent quality and purity, free from any impurities. The permissible limits of impurities, which either occurs through the manufacturing process, equipment, raw materials, handling or storage, are very stringent. Therefore, Quality control (QC) and Quality Assurance (QA) are the most integral areas of the drug & pharmaceutical industry. Highly specialized and trained staff is required to handle sensitive analytical procedures & sophisticated equipment. M.Pharm & PhDs in Q.A. are highly preferred for this job.
Any business is incomplete without the marketing & sales aspect, as the universal fact is that any thing produced has to be sold. The Pharma Sales & Marketing is a highly technical field & offers excellent opportunities for the pharmacy graduates. Additional qualification like MBA adds to their arsenal. An aspirant of a highly bright future can enter through various openings like starting his own retail or wholesale drug store or becoming a professional sales representative (known as medical Sales Representative or MR) to the levels of International Marketing & Exports. The monetary rewards and perks are the best.
5. Hospital Pharmacy:-
Another opening for a Pharmacy professional is as a “Registered Pharmacist” in the hospitals or drug stores. This is a very sought after professional especially in countries like the U.S.A. & Canada. The trend is already set in few hospitals in Bangladesh. This is a key position and the Pharmacist plays an important role form preparing prescription to the patient’s medial history after the Medical doctor has diagnosed the disease. The Pharmacist is the best-informed qualified drug expert whose advice is sought by every body regarding the dosage, incompatibilities and side effects of drugs.
6. Community Pharmacy:-
This concept, which is already very old in developed Western countries, is rapidly catching up the Healthcare service in our country. Through the services of community pharmacy a Pharmacist becomes a vital link between the patients and the products i.e., drugs. The pharmacist also serves a vital link between the patients and other healthcare professionals, especially the medical experts.
- Counseling the patients regarding the use of the drugs and dosage forms
- Providing up-to-date information on drugs/dosage forms to the patients, as well as, medical staff.
- Maintaining patient records & history
- Involved in the usage of self-diagnostic kits by the patients for disorders like diabetes, hypertension etc.
- Providing supply of Home care dosage forms.
Excellent opportunities for the professionals are available in teaching profession also. As per the A.I.C.T.E. norms the minimum entry-level qualification as lecturer is M.Pharm. This is a profession associated with job satisfaction and social status as teaching is considered to be noble profession. The higher posts in the hierarchy and Sr. Lecturer, Reader, Asst. Professor, Professor, Principal etc. The emoluments are satisfactory. Besides teaching academic related opportunities involve positions on research posts and training programs.
8. Regulatory Affairs:-
Locally the F.D.A. (Foods & Drugs Control Administration) is the main regulatory body governing and implementing the rules and regulations for the Drug & Pharma industry. The F.D.A. has state branches and sub-branches all over the country. The job opportunities for Pharmacy graduates are excellent and range from the levels of a Drug Inspector (D.I.), Sr. D.I., Deputy Drug Controller, Asst. Drug Controller, Drug Controller and finally D.D.A. (Directorate of Drug Administration). This is highly respected and sought after profession. A graduate in Pharmacy is the minimum eligibility.
With globalization process reaching out to India, the geographical barriers have become obsolete. Any country will have to compete and trade globally in order to progress and survive in the years to come. The major drugs and pharma companies have realized this fact and have stepped into the global area of competitive trade. If a manufacturer wants to sell his drug or formulation to a foreign country it is mandatory that he has to fulfill all the statutory requirements laid by the regulatory authorities of that country. Also, his product needs to be perfectly as per the specifications laid down by the concerned regulatory authority. Thus, in order to enter into trade with the foreign countries it is mandatory to get the necessary approvals and sanctions as per the formats given by local regulatory authorities e.g., Approvals to be obtained from U.S.F.D.A. for U.S.A, T.G.A. for Australia & New Zeeland, M.C.A and M.C.M. for U.K. & European countries and ICH guidelines going to be uniform for international levels.
Since, the business involved is worth multibillion dollars; this branch has assumed tremendous significance and is bound to grow enormously, in the Post-GATT era. Regulatory experts are thus in great demand. Since, the field is highly technical Pharmacy professionals again fit in these positions. Similarly, Patents and Trademarks, I.P.R. Experts are also in high demand as far as the pharma industry is concerned.
9. Documentation, Library Information Services & Pharma Journalism:-
The Regulatory Affairs as well as, Patenting Processes and Issues involve a lot of documentation work to be done and submitted to the concerned Regulatory Authorities, in a highly specialized and technical manner. Pharmacy professionals are again fitting in the bill. Most of the major Bangladeshi Pharma companies have established separate Documentation Departments with a highly technical & skilled staff for this purpose.
Similarly, the R&D & Q.C. departments of the Pharma companies need a wealth of Technical information, which needs to be updated regularly, in order to match the pace of global competition. Therefore, Library Information services are another field in much demand as far as the Pharma industry is concerned. Furthermore, with the advent & boom of the Information Technology, Bio-Informatics and Electronic Data Retrieval Systems, this field is already scaling new heights. Pharma- Journalism is another area filled with great potentialities. This requires specialist technical personnel like pharmacy graduates on the editorial staff to cover the various aspects. There is already a very lucrative business in this field.
This is an ideal opportunity for highly technical and experienced pharmacy professionals to earn handsomely as self-employed entrepreneurs, even after the age of retirement. Consultancy services in Pharmacy are offered in various fields against very attractive financial fees
- Manufacturing Processes
- Analytical Series
- Market Surveys & Sales Promotion
- Information Retrieval
- Data Management
- Turn Key Projects, etc.
11. Opportunities to Abroad:-
Golden opportunities galore for qualified Pharmacy professionals in various courtiers including the USA, Canada, European Countries like UK, France, Germany, African Countries like South Africa, Nigeria, Yemen, Gulf Countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, South East Asian Countries like Singapore, Korea, Japan, etc. and the Australian Continent including New Zealand.
There are plenty of higher education and research opportunities in the developed western countries along with excellent job openings. The pharmaceutical career is one of the highest rewarding careers in these countries.
[The authors: Dr Jain is professor and HOD, Pharmaceutical Chemistry & Dr Gujar is principal of Sinhgad College of Pharmacy, Vadgaon(Bk.), Sinhgad Road, Pune] Source: Pharmabiz.com