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In a bold and controversial move made by the Pharmacy Council of India, the students and graduates of Pharm. D. or Doctor of Pharmacy have been allowed to use the prefix Dr with their name. The decision has seen high objections from the medical community since the topic had come about. Making a statement on the decision, the Indian Medical Association has exclaimed that “transgressions of entitlement are illegal and illegitimate”.
The Minister of Health has stated that the people who have completed the Doctor of Pharmacy programme deserve to use the prefix mentioning the different details of the course as well as the hours that have been spent by the student in a hospital. He stated that Pharm.D students spend 6 years studying going through the entire process to learn the intricacies of the field of pharmacy. He added that the students spend around 50 hours every year from 2nd to the 4th year of his/her programme. After which the student will spend the 5th year of the programme as a clerk with a duty of “attending the ward-round”, which will be done on a half-day basis, daily. The 6th year of the student, the minister stated, is spent working in an internship at a 300-bedded hospital.
The Minister also stated that the Pharmacy Council of India had given the Universities offering the programme with the direction of using the “Doctor of Pharmacy” in the degree and use the prefix Dr against the names of the students upon the completion of the programme. However, he also stated that the students who complete the programme, i.e. Pharm. D student will not be considered as equals to those who completed MBBS. He stated that no demand has been made to bring Pharm D degree as equals to the MBBS degree. However, the Pharmacy Council of India has stated that there have been various demands to recognise Pharm.D as equal to clinical pharmacists. He stated that some of the foreign countries such as the USA, Canada as well as the United Kingdoms have declared equivalence of Pharm. D to Clinical Pharmacists.
The Indian Medical Association has informed the Union Health Ministry as well as the Medical Council of India of their position on the decision. In a letter that had been sent to the Union Health Ministry and MCI, they have mentioned that they are not in support of the decision that it is “against all such shifts from those who are trained in other streams of the health sector to venture into the medical practice”.