Inception of Pharmacy in India

Inception of Pharmacy in India

In India, the inception of Pharmacy education commenced with the introduction of a 3-year bachelor of pharmacy (BPharm) at Banaras Hindu University in 1937. At that time, the curriculum was presented as a combination of pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry, and Herbal drug study, which prepared graduates to work as specialists in quality control and standardization of drugs for pharmaceutical companies, but not for pharmacy practice. Before India gained independence in 1947, there were 3 institutions offering pharmacy degree programs. In 1944, the Punjab University started a pharmacy department; in 1947 L.M. College was established in Ahmedabad

At independence in 1947, India inherited a system for the pharmacy profession from the British rulers that was unorganized and there was no legal restriction on the practice of pharmacy. The concept of pharmacy practice was not realized until after independence was gained. In 1948, the Pharmacy Act was enacted as the nation’s first minimum standard of educational qualification for pharmacy practice to regulate the practice, education, and profession of pharmacy. Currently, one needs at least a diploma in pharmacy to practice as a pharmacist. Provisions of the Act are implemented through the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI). The Act requires individual states to establish state pharmacy councils that are responsible for controlling and registering pharmacists in their respective states.

Pharmacy education in India traditionally has been industry and product oriented. In contrast to the situation in developed nations, graduate pharmacists prefer placements in the pharmaceutical industry. To practice as a pharmacist in India, one needs at least a diploma in pharmacy, which is awarded after only 2 years and 3 months of pharmacy studies. These diploma-trained pharmacists are the mainstay of pharmacy practice. The pharmacy practice curriculum has not received much attention. In India, there has been a surge in the number of institutions offering pharmacy degrees at various levels and a practice-based doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program was started in some private institutions in 2008.

Regulation in India

Pharmacy education in India is regulated by 2 organizations: the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), under the Pharmacy Act of 1948, and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), which was established under the AICTE Act of 1987. The PCI makes regulations regarding the minimum standard of education required for qualification as a pharmacist. It is responsible for registration of persons fulfilling the prescribed eligibility criteria (minimum DPharm) and issuing a license permitting them to practice in an Indian state. Registration activity is decentralized and the state pharmacy councils are responsible for registering pharmacists in their respective states. Thus, the PCI regulates the DPharm program and the recently introduced PharmD program. The BPharm program needs to be recognized by the PCI for the qualifications to be accepted for registration purpose only. The PCI has no jurisdiction over MPharm and other higher-level degree programs.

Pharmacy education at all levels excluding the PharmD is regulated by the AICTE and all these programs must be approved by it. The AICTE is primarily responsible for planning, formulating, and maintaining norms and standards in technical education, which include pharmacy. Besides the Pharmacy Act, pharmacy practice is also governed by the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940, which stipulates the manufacture, distribution, and sale of drugs.

The AICTE is also responsible for quality assurance of pharmacy academic programs (DPharm, BPharm and MPharm) through accreditation by National Board of Accreditation (NBA) constituted by the AICTE.  Unlike other countries, the current regulations do not require any continuing education to maintain licensure once they are conferred. In addition, registered pharmacists do not have any established norms on competencies or standards of services. There is no categorization of practicing and non-practicing pharmacists.

Current Script of Pharmacy in India:-

Pharmaceuticaleducation plays a very prominent role in attaining sustainable and equitable development of a country. The curriculum of
the degree in some developed countries (B. Pharm.) usually requires 5 academic
years of study. In most of the European countries successful completion of a
university degree leads to a one-year internship. As per PCI 2005 diary
calendar, the total numbers of recognized degree institutions are 220 with
intake of 12506 students. And as per AICTE, the total number of degree colleges
are 445 with the intake of 24672 students as well 30 institutions for the post
graduation in various fields.

October 13, 2010

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