Pharmacy college in India is regulated by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI). However, it has been over two decades that the syllabi have been revised by these regulatory agencies. Considering the dynamic character of pharmacology, it is essential to prepare a syllabus that caters to the contemporary needs of the academic institutions and pharmaceutical industry, the community. Pharmacists are also witnessing a greater role in community pharmacy practice as well as in several healthcare sectors
Considering these facts, a panel discussion was held at IPSCON 2013, (the Annual Conference of Indian Pharmacological Society) at Bangalore. The discussion saw several recommendations for syllabi for institutions offering various pharmacy courses to meet the objectives of teaching, learning and research in Pharmacology. In general, at all levels, exposure of students to hospitals and clinicians is needed. Pharm. D., syllabus too should lay lesser emphasis on experimental pharmacology. Present experiments in the D. Pharm. course have no relevance to the program objectives and hence, only experiments through demonstrations or simulated preparations or interactive videos maybe undertaken. Regulatory bodies as well as universities should design a comprehensive syllabus and plan an effective pedagogy to prepare graduates who are competent and capable of bringing positive changes in the community and healthcare in India.
The requirements or employment opportunities for the graduating students are also changing. Besides, drug discovery research and development, competence, know-how and enthusiasm are required for meeting the challenges of health care, clinical research and clinical trials. In the early years, pharmacologists from pharmacy background were usually employed for research and development laboratories. During the late 1980s, the trend shifted towards product management and later with the emergence of opportunities in clinical trials and clinical research, especially in India. Employment of pharmacologists has increased particularly in the areas related to clinical research divisions. A pharmacologist from Pharmacy College may be expected to have a sound understanding of regulatory affairs. Patients’ expectations have also changed. Today the patients expect more scientific communication about their ailment and medicines they consume. They are known to educate themselves through internet and similar sources.A teacher in pharmacology is now expected to be actively involved in research, which is globally collaborative, grant supported, interdisciplinary, measured and competitive. Teachers must exhibit administration skills for leadership and entrepreneurial activity with adequate know how in intellectual property rights, exploitation of ideas and commercialization abilities.
The subject of pharmacology, because of its dynamic nature, requires integration of knowledge from several basic and medical sciences. The practice of pharmacy profession in India is more industry and product based, whereas in developed countries it is clinical pharmacy based. For clinical pharmacy, at all levels, exposure of students to patients and a greater interaction within clinicians and other healthcare providers is necessary for a better understanding of efficacy, interactions and adverse reactions to drugs. Interaction with clinicians, patient counseling and effective communication and documentation skills need to be promoted. Redundant animal experiments should be minimized or deleted, in the best interests of animal care, and replaced with simulation experiments, wherever feasible.