Last Updated By Samiksha Rautela on 21 Feb, 2022
Pharmacists are health professionals who dispense medications, advise patients regarding the use of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. They are also commonly known as druggists or chemists. They play a significant role in helping people get the best results from their medications as they are familiar with the medicine ingredients and cautions.
People approach pharmacists for any health-related queries, what to do in case of a missed dose and what food, drinks, drugs or activities can have an effect on the medication. Basically, they are the experts in medicine and everything related to the use of medicines. If this is something that excites you then pursuing a course in Pharmacy is a good option for Science students.
The pharmaceutical education includes a mix of theory, practical classes, exams and compulsory industrial/hospital training depending on the course selected. Science in 10+2 is mandatory to pursue further studies in pharmacy.
For those who wish to open their drug store, a diploma in pharmacy, which is of 2-year duration is required. Also, those pursuing diploma can get lateral entry to the 2nd year in Bachelor of Pharmacy on a merit basis.
A bachelor’s degree or B. Pharm is required for those who wish to work in the pharmaceutical industries. The course includes academic and practical training. After pursuing B.Pharm, a student can appear for the GPAT exam which is usually conducted every year in January. To be eligible for B.Pharm, students have to get a minimum of 50 per cent marks in the qualifying exam.
The duration of M.Pharma or Masters in Pharmacy is 2 years and it is divided into a number of semesters.
One can also opt for Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D). It is a 6-year doctorate level course with five years of academic study and one year of internship or residency.
Some of the top entrance exams required to become a pharmacist are mentioned below.
|Graduate Pharmacy Aptitude Test (GPAT)||HPCET|
|UPSEE Pharmacy||NIPER JEE|
|B.Sc Pharma Entrance Exam in Punjab||CPNET UP|
Skills Required to Become a Pharmacist:
Ability to Multitask
Ability to Prioritise
Once you are qualified to work as a pharmacist, there are plenty of Pharmacist job profiles that you can explore:
Hospital Pharmacists-They are in charge of monitoring the supply of medicine and are responsible for purchasing, dispensing and quality testing their medication stock.
Drug Inspector- Drug Inspector is an expert at monitoring the utility, quality, and safety of a drug from its manufacturing till its sale. They inspect medical shops and take samples to check if there are any spurious drugs.
Clinical Research Associate-Clinical Research Associates help in organizing and monitoring clinical trials of new drugs to evaluate the benefits and risks associated with them.
Research Officer (Life Sciences)- As a Research Officer, you will be mainly involved in conducting experiments and analyzing the results, with an aim to develop new products and for broadening the horizon of scientific understanding.
Medical Sales Representative- Medical Sales representatives (also known as reps) are responsible for selling a company’s products, including medicines, prescription drugs, and medical equipment to customers, doctors, pharmacists, and nurses.
Regulatory Affairs Officer- They work for medical, pharmaceutical, research organisations and other medicine manufacturers to make sure that their company’s products comply with the regulatory norms. They conduct product trials, get licenses for the products and then write the product labels and accompanying information.
Pharmacists can choose to work in the following areas:
Some of the leading companies where one can find employment opportunities are
A pharmacist has a number of duties and responsibilities that are included in the work description. Being a pharmacist, one can expect to find themselves:
Checking for drug interactions
Reviewing prescriptions for accuracy
Supervising and dispensing medications as per a physician’s prescription
Counselling patients to use the appropriate amount of medication in time
Preparing special solutions and compounding medications
Overseeing automatic refills and daily ordering
Collaborating with health care professionals to review, plan, evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of a patient
Education staff and patients on drug therapies
Recommending drug changes when needed
Initially, a Pharmacist gets an average salary of Rs.2.58 LPA. The starting salary may range from Rs. 15,000-Rs. 25,000 per month and it goes up as you gain more experience with time. It also depends on the institute you have graduated from. Those who own medicine shops will be able to make more.
INR 1.22 LPA
INR 15.92 LPA
INR 3.62 LPA
Average Salary as per Employer
INR 2.44 LPA
Apollo Group, Inc.
INR 1.5 LPA
Average Salary as Per Experience
INR 2.2 LPA
INR 2.4 LPA
INR 2.9 LPA
INR 3.11 LPA
INR 4.0 LPA
Information Source - Payscale
In order to clear the entrance exams, it is important to prepare well. For that, one needs to study thoroughly. Below are some of the best books and study materials for aspiring pharmacists.
Theory and Practice of Industrial Pharmacy by Lieberman & Lachman
Advanced Entrance Guide For Pharmacist Exam By Birla
Physical Pharmaceutics by CVS Subrahmaniam
Piyush Guide for Drug Inspector and Pharmacist Exam
Pharmaceutical Engineering by CVS Subrahmanyam
A Textbook of Forensic Pharmacy – B M Mithal
Pharmacognosy by C.K Kokathe, Purohit and Gokhale
Drug store management by Mehta
Hospital and Clinical Pharmacy by Siddiqui
Essentials of Medical Pharmacology by KD Tripathi
Some of the top recruiting companies for pharmacists are Lupin, Cipla, Sun Pharma, Abbott India, Cadila Health, Glenmark, Cadila Health, Alkem Lab etc.
There are a number of job opportunities available for pharmacists in different sectors such as Hospitals, Clinics, Retail Sector, Medical Underwriting, Drug Research and Development, Pharmaceutical Sales and Marketing, etc.
The starting salary of a pharmacist can range between Rs 2 LPA and Rs 4 LPA.
B.Pharm is considered to be the best pharmacy course to become a pharmacist, however, aspirants can also become a pharmacist by graduating from a D.Pharm courses as well. Other pharmcourse that can improve the career opportunities include M.Pharm and Pharm.D courses.
It is definitely academically difficult to obtain a degree in pharmacy, but perhaps not as much as medicine or veterinary sciences. In order to become a pharmacist, candidates need to make a full commitment to their studies. A dedicated hour or two to study should be the norm every night, to become a successful pharmacist.
A pharmacist's job is hard and stressful. Hospitals are paying their pharmacists well, but they are also overly burdened by work-related stress. Pharmacist workload has been rising in concern with their salaries. Many professionals in the industr claim that the working as a pharmacist can be difficult, if you are not resilient.
Benefits:- The work of a pharmacist is less stressful than other medical professions such as surgeons. A pharmacist operates in a safe and healthy environment, unlike doctors and nurses who have a risk of catching a disease from their patients.Drawback: - The work of a pharmacist is repetitive in nature.
Some of the highest paying professions in Pharmacy include job profiles of a Senior Statistician, Drug Safety Specialist, Senior QA Engineer, Pharmaceutical Financial Analyst, Pharmacist, Biotechnology and Senior Scientist, Drug Safety, Specialist etc.
In order to become a pharmacist, candidates must have a valid B.Pharm or quivalent Pharmacy degree offered by pharmacy colleges in India which is recognised by the Pharmacy Council of India.
Yes, becoming a pharmacist is a good career option. A pharmacist is responsible for dispensing and maintaining medicines and advising patients on the proper use of drugs and possible drug side effects and ensure the general health care or well-being of patients.