Studying to be a pharmacist

Pharmacists' help is required to the professionals to assure safe and effective use of medicines where medicinal therapy is the most frequently used form of treatment in any health practice setting nowadays

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Sangeeta Shrestha
Have you ever thought of a world without doctors? Your answer would be, of course not. How ever, to cure any disease, one needs medicine where only having doctors is not the solution.Moreover, medicines must be used in the appropriate doses to get the complete treatment.

And the one who is responsible for the manufacturing and development, monitoring of drugs or medicines is known as a pharmacist. If you aspire to become one, then there are various levels of Pharmacy studies offered by the different universities of Nepal.

Pharmacy course under Tribhuvan University (TU) and Purbanchal University have graduate programme, and Pokhara University has undergraduate and graduate level programmes. Kathmandu University is offering undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate programmes and is the first university to offer all the levels.Moreover, the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) is also providing Diploma in Pharmacy.

About the course
The course was started as there was felt a need for skilled and competent manpower in the health sector. About the need of pharmacists in society, Acting Principal of Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Science (MMIHS) and HOD of Pharmacy Prof Dr Dharma Prasad Khanal explains, “The rising health care costs and changing social, technological, economic and political environments have made health care reforms necessary throughout the world. And, pharmacists' help is required to the professionals to assure safe and effective use of medicines where medicinal therapy is the most frequently used form of treatment in any health practice setting nowadays.“

Since the year 1994, KU, School of Science, Department of Pharmacy is offering undergraduate programme and introduced the graduate programme in 2000 and PhD pro gramme in 2004. About the course Dr Rajani Shakya, Assistant Professor of KU elaborates, “All drugs related information including formation, its components, molecules, its use, effectiveness, procedure of intake and more comes under the course of pharmacy.“

The students of pharmacy have to study courses like biomedical sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, behavioural, social, and administrative pharmacy sciences and pharmacy practice. After the undergraduate programme, one can enrol in graduate programmes like Masters in Pharmacy (MPharm) in Industrial Pharmacy or Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D), Post Baccalaureate level at KU.

Talking about the difference between M Pharm and Pharm D, Dr Shakya informs, “There are two branches in Pharmacy where one is industrial based pharmacy and pharmacy and other is clinical pharmacy. After completing M Pharm, one can join the industry and the graduates of Pharm D can opt for clinical pharmacy that is based in hospital or clinics, who are directly related to the general public as well as doctors.“

Since the year 2000, undergraduate level of Pharmacy started in the IoM, TU where MMIHS is affiliated to TU as well as Purbanchal availability of graduate programme at Pokhara University, Ja muna Chhetri, lecturer and programme co-ordinator of B Pharm at Central Institute of Science and Technology (CIST) College says, “The graduate programme affiliated to Pokhara University is available only at the central college where it's been only four years that Pokhara University has come up with higher education in Pharmacy.“

Meanwhile with the affiliation with CTEVT, there are more than 20 colleges, which run Diploma in Pharmacy.

Eligibility criteria
For the entire programme, one has to sit for the entrance exam accordingly, as per the affiliated universities.

One can opt for Diploma in Pharmacy after completing School Leaving Certificate, while for B Pharm one has to complete 10+2 in the Science stream with Chemistry and Biology as compulsory subjects, or one who has cleared Diploma in Pharmacy in at least the second division. If candidtes meet the criteria, all universities allow to sit in the entrance exam for the same.

Likewise, for grad uate programme at KU, one has to complete B Pharm with a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 2.5. Scope The Pharmacy graduates can involve in pharmaceutical industry where they can be involved in the quality assurance, formulation development, manufacturing and quality control of pharmaceutical formulations, according to Prof Bal Mukunda Regmi and HOD of IOM.

Moreover, one can also get involved in clinical trial coordination, medical information and education and medical writing where Sweta Shrestha, a student of Pharm D IIIrd Year at KU shares, “Working in the clinical field is still new in Nepal where in the present setting it has not properly developed. But those who want to be in the clinical field has to work with the patient directly, take round in wards and monitor the result of the medicine, give counselling to patients and work hand-in-hand with doctors to lessen the medicinal errors for better results.“

Meanwhile Kusum Shrestha, who passed M Pharm from KU and is working as quality assurance officer at a pharmaceutical company, adds, “The scope is huge in the market where one can also opt for academic field.“

Challenges
The lack of awareness about the need of pharmacists in the clinical sector is one of the challenges in the field of pharmacy.

About this challenge Buddhi Bal Chidi Magar, a student of B Pharm IVth Year at IOM says, “Even though having the policy of need for pharmacists in the clini cal areas, the implementation of the policy is not done properly where the bodies concerned are not being accountable. This creates a question about getting employment after studies.“

Moreover the challenges in teaching are also there. About this Prof Regmi clears, “As the student in B Pharma are from Diploma in Pharmacy or +2 of Science background, the differences between the mindset of students create a problem while dealing with related subjects like Chemistry where the students from Science background are aware of Chemistry and students from Diploma in Pharmacy lack the details in it. But hard working students can cover up easily.“

However, he clears, “From the coming session, we are working on taking in only those students who are competent enough and will be determined by the result of entrance exam.“

Till now there was a provision of reservation for the students from Diploma in Pharmacy.

Cost
Pinnacle Technical College (CTEVT)
> Diploma in Pharmacy (3 years course): Rs 2,65,000, Seat: 40

CIST College (Pokhara University)
> B Pharm (4 years course): Around Rs 6,40,000; Seat: 40


Kathmandu University, Department of Pharmacy
> B Pharm (4 years course): Rs 4,95,000; Seat: 60
> M Pharm(2 years course): Rs 3 lakhs; Seat: 12 ·
> Pharm D (3 years course): Rs 6 lakhs; Seat: 10

Institute of Medicine, Tribhuvan University
> B Pharm (4 years): Full Payment students: Rs 5,20,000; Others: Rs 1,20,000; Seat: 20 (18 for Nepali and 2 for foreigners)

source: Shrestha, Sangeeta (2013),"Studying to be a pharmacist", The Himalayan Times,29 Jan 2013

2013-01-30 | EducateNepal

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