Pharmacy Profession in West Bengal & India Under Health Care System In the Past, Present and Future:
By: Debasish Bhattacharjee
B.Pharm, M.Tech (Pharma), PGDHCHM, PhD (Scholar)
In India, the profession of pharmacy is still in its developing stages and is yet to bloom to its fullest extent. Here the pharmacist performs a job of a drug seller and does not practice the profession independently and depends on a doctor who is the decision maker.
The Role of Pharmacists as indicated by WHO is the acquisition, control, distribution and rational use of Drugs to extend the use of best Drugs in the Rural Health care along with other levels of health Care System. Effective medicines, as they observed can be practicised by an efficient Drug Management only. To deal with the supply, dispensing of Drugs and Health Appliances in keeping with the needs of the people of the present century. To formulate proposals for necessary development of health care system with the needs of the people of West Bengal.
Among the series of roles the Pharmacist deals with along with some of their most important roles which are prescribed by the WHO. To attend these roles affectively the different foreign countries have prescribed their qualifications upto the university level and in Bengal presently, B. Pharma, M. Pharma & M.Tech (Pharma) is available and D. Pharm. being the minimum need. But all these higher courses are regular courses and the practicing pharmacist mainly those who are Diploma holders are not getting the opportunities due to non implication or existence of yet any distinctive Govt. Policy to attend the college regularly for updating the educational qualification.
With advancement in every field, the profession of pharmacy has also witnessed tremendous changes. The community expects more professional services from pharmacists and not as just drug sellers. There are many community pharmacists serving the country with just D. Pharm. Qualification and in West Bengal this situation is more worse as they are belongs to D Category mainly unqualified personnel who are not well equipped with adequate information. In the whole West Bengal there are more than 44000 retail pharmacies and in most of these drug stores, the medicine is dispensed by D category pharmacists. Based on the provisions of Pharmacy Council of India, (PCI) the West Bengal Pharmacy Council had given D category certificates to Class VIII passed people of those migrated from Bangladesh and Myanmar after Bengal division in 1905 on consideration of livelihood. About one lakh D category certificate holders secured jobs in private pharmacies and hospitals by using these certificates till 1978. Even now most of the retail pharmacies in West Bengal are managed by these D category pharmacists and the certificates were issued only till 1978. Currently their number is 77234 and all are aged.
The pharmacy council of India has taken a decision to discontinue the D. Pharm. course soon. India being one of the developing countries is yet to meet the needs of people as basic education, health, hygiene etc.
Most of our people live in rural areas and do not have basic facilities such as primary health centers, clinics or even approach roads. This rural population including the urban population needs multifarious activities from pharmacists.
The PCI defines Pharmacy as “a profession which is concerned with the art and science of preparing from natural and synthetic sources, suitable and convenient materials for distribution and use in the treatment and prevention of disease. It embraces a knowledge of the identification, preservation, combination, analysis and standardization of drugs and medicines besides synthesis of new drug molecules, manufacturing of various dosage forms, (Liquid orals, powders, tablets, capsules, ointments, injections, ophthalmic products, etc.) quality control, clinical trials, bio-availability, research, side-effects, compatibility,...
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