Introduction to Pharmacy
Pharmacy careers & courses Pharmacy is commonly considered as a shop (also known as Medical Store or Chemist) where medicines are being sold or prepared.
In the academic or professional world, Pharmacy is defined as the branch of science that deals with the preparation, doses, dispensing and effects (including safety) of medicines (or medicinal drugs or simply drugs).
A Pharmacist (one who has got sufficient knowledge of Pharmacy or practises Pharmacy) technically should possess more knowledge than a Medical Doctor regarding medicinal drugs – composition (or formulation) of a drug, effects/interaction with the biological system, physical and chemical properties, therapeutic doses, side-effects, interactions with other drugs.
Besides, pharmacists also play an important role in advising and counselling patients, and prescribing medicines. However, pharmacists are not medical doctors – they do not conduct diagnosis and/or surgeries on patients. Globally Pharmacy is considered as noble as the Medical profession, if not more.
Courses in Pharmacy / Pharmaceutical Sciences
Diploma in Pharmacy (D.Pharm / D.Pharma)
It is a course with duration of 2 years, followed by an internship of 3 months. Candidate should be from science stream of 10+2 scheme with Physics chemistry as mandatory subjects together with one of mathematics or biology and must equal to or greater than 50%. Age should be >17 years.
After successful completion of the Pharmacy Diploma program, one can be employed in a Pharmacy shop. After registering with the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) and/or the State Pharmacy Council, one can also set up his/her own Pharmacy store. The diploma course provides the basic concepts and does not provide any specialization.
Diploma graduates can also get admission into the 2nd year of the Bachelor of Pharmacy program (Lateral Entry).
Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm / B.Pharma)
Candidate should be from science stream of 10+2 scheme with Physics chemistry as mandatory subjects together with one of mathematics or biology and must equal to or greater than 50%. Age should be >17 years. The diploma students are eligible to join B. Pharm in second year (lateral entry) Even if you cannot make it to the top Pharmacy colleges in the country (I am personally not too much in favour of Rankings and Reputation of institutes), please make sure that the college is approved by both PCI and AICTE.
Doctor in Pharmacy (Pharm.D)
Pharm.D is among the latest pharmacy programs, introduced in 2008 by the Indian Government and the PCI. It’s a six years course (5 years + one-year internship). A candidate with 10+2 in science stream is eligible for the course. He should have Physics chemistry as mandatory subjects together with one of mathematics or biology and must equal to or greater than 50%. Age should be >17 years. The diploma pass out students are eligible to join BPharm in second year (lateral entry).
B.Pharm vs Pharm.D
The candidates at 10+2 level maybe confused between D.Pharm and Pharm D course. Pharm.D is strategically designed for those students who want to have a career in hospital, clinical or community pharmacy. The course structure revolves mainly around clinical pharmacy, and is also on par with global standards.
Master of Pharmacy (M.Pharm / M.Pharma)
After clearing BPharm successfully the student is eligible to join MPharm. To be eligible for this course the minimum marks required are 50%. 5% relaxation in marks is given to the reserved category students (SC/ST, Physically Handicapped).
Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmaceutical Sciences
It’s a research-oriented course. Candidates are eligible to join this after completing their Masters of Pharmacy course. They can apply for Scholarship through various funding agencies like UGC, ICMR, AICTE, DBT etc for the fellowship and project work.
Admission procedure varies between different colleges and institutes.
Most of the colleges provides admission through entrance exam. Some colleges take admissions on the basis of merit in 10+2 exam.
Various states regulate its own entrance exam for granting admission. Admission into postgraduate pharmacy courses is done through Graduate Pharmacy Aptitude Test (GPAT). It is the famous national level entrance exam which score is accepted by maximum pharmacy institutions.
Get some state level entrance exams for pharmacy courses:
- TS EAMCET (Telangana State Engineering, Agriculture & Medical Entrance Test)
- AP EAMCET (Andhra Pradesh Engineering, Agriculture & Medical Entrance Test)
- AP PGECET (Andhra Pradesh Post-Graduate Engineering Common Entrance Test)
- MH CET (Maharashtra Common Entrance Test)
- KCET (Karnataka Common Entrance Test)
- UKSEE (Uttarakhand State Entrance Exam)
- Delhi CET (Delhi Common Entrance Test)
- BITSAT (Birla Institute of Technology & Science Admission Test)
- WBJEE (West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination)
In India, there are many private and government owned pharmacy colleges. Before taking admission, make sure that the college is approved by All India Council For Technical Education (AICTE) and Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), New Delhi