Pharmacy is about safe and effective preparation and dispensing of drugs and medication in accordance with the prescription of a doctor. In treatment of diseases and injuries it is critical that the right medication, in the right mix, potency and quantity be administered to the patients. This is what pharmacy professionals also known as pharmacists achieve. Pharmacists also advise doctors, members of the public and other health professionals on appropriate selection, dosage, drug interactions, potential side effects and therapeutic effects of about both prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

After the completion of 10+2 school education in the science stream students can pursue a 4 year B.Pharm programme and further can go to do the post graduation degree M.Pharm and the doctoral programme Pharm.D. The Union Ministry of Health and the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) have also introduced a six-year Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharma D) course in which 5 years will be academic sessions and final year is completely bound to internship in hospital. The courses draw upon chemical, biological and medical sciences to focus on actions of drugs – which may be medicines, toxins or drugs of abuse: anything which changes the way the body normally functions – and how they work in the body. Pharmacists can also specialise in several areas during their education. Some of these are pharmacology, pharmaceutics, hospital pharmacy and quality assurance.

The career prospects are very bright for students who complete education in pharmacy. They may start their career as medical representatives in pharmaceutical companies or join their research and development teams. They can also find employment at hospitals, nursing homes and clinics. Job opportunities are also there in government health departments and regulatory authorities. In recent times there is a lot of clinical research being outsourced to India and so many job opportunities have arisen in this field. Pharmacists can also become entrepreneurs with the help of license they gain on completion of course and internship. The pharma students can also pursue business management course and build their career as managers in pharmaceutical companies.

Pharmacists need to be able to work carefully, methodically and accurately, have an eye for detail and good interpersonal and communication skills. They are also expected to be abreast of the developments in the pharmaceutical industry and the field of heath care and in depth knowledge of different medicines and their brands. Students aspiring to become pharmacists need to have a keen interest in medical sciences in addition to good knowledge of chemistry. The career requires dedication and so it is important that students assess their aptitude and interest in this field through professional guidance.

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