Pharmacy education needs to be revamped and realigned according to job requirements to ensure that pharmacists play an important role in dispensing and counselling patients, the former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said in Bangalore on Sunday.

He was speaking at the valedictory of the golden jubilee celebrations of the Government College of Pharmacy.

Dr. Kalam said pharmacist must be equipped with technical information so that they could advise patients and serve as an interface between the prescriber and the consumer of medicines. “Hospitals and doctors must ensure that pharmacist has patient-specific information so that he/she can counsel patients. This will infuse confidence in them. The pharmacist’s intervention in a community would substantially improve the health of citizens. These aspects must be included in the current and prospective training programmes.”

Elaborating on how pharmacy course can be modified, the former President said the course should provide information on the rationale for using a particular drug, chemical stability of dosage forms, proper storage, underuse or overuse of medication and adverse effects of drugs.

Dr. Kalam said there was a perception that pharma products sold in India were substandard and urged students to play a role to change that mindset. “Pharmacy education has an important role to play in equipping students with knowledge and the ability to detect the entry of unauthorised drugs into circulation,” he said.

He said that pharma industrialists had to shift their paradigms. “We have to look beyond process development capabilities towards new drug research with adequate attention to quality and costs. We need intellectual property rights capabilities for drug discovery research, new drug delivery systems and good packaging systems,” he said.

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