Pharmacists are responsible for a wide range of activities in health care, like drug discovery process, drug safety studies, formulation of dosage forms, clinical trials, patient counselling, marketing and management. However, the roles played by a pharmacist are increasing multi fold in this post-pandemic era. Tailor made healthcare solutions are set to get prominence and are opening up several challenges and opportunities.
In the current scenario, the demand for medicines is stiffly rising leading to obvious increase in employment in the pharmaceutical sector. India is the largest provider of generic drugs to the world and contributes to more than 50% of global vaccine demand as well. Thus, the scope of pharma studies in India has amplified in leaps and bounds.
Telemedicine and teleconsultation activities play an important role in pandemic management situations. Providing awareness on disease containment, contact tracing and quarantine services are identified as diversified responsibilities of pharmacists.
Supply chain management is a major challenge, especially during pandemic situations. To reinforce an efficient supply chain, a structured management system with responsible pharmacists is essential. Delivery of quality medicine to the end user should be ensured under all conditions. Diploma holders in pharmacy are recognized as the most capable frontline workers in this scenario.
The pandemic condition has provided unforeseen opportunities to the pharma industry to become more self-reliant and less dependent on import. This is achieved by indigenously manufacturing drug intermediates and bulk drugs. The best example is the export of hydroxy chloroquine from India to many developed countries.
The covid crisis has boosted the research sector which has the potential to devise speedy solutions in any pandemic situation. Artificial intelligence tools assisted R&D systems for fast sample analysis leads to economical innovations. Access to risk capital and tax incentives as a prospective government policy will strengthen the pharma research and enhance drug discoveries in future.
According to government statistics, there are over 1400 pharmacy colleges in India which suffice only 70 % of the total resource required by the pharma industry and is lacking in huge numbers to meet the enormous increase in requirement in the pharmaceutical sector at large. Every major pharma company has seen a robust increase in share price over the last one year, ranging from 40% to as much as 100% increase with the increase in demand for the pharmaceutical products. Pharma industry has been identified as one of the key sectors for potential investment by the foreign countries. As per the report of IES (Indian Economic Survey) 2021, the domestic market is expected to grow 3 times in the next decade.
Yet another opportunity which has opened up for the pharma marketing professional is the use of digital platforms for marketing initiatives, to boost their brand image. In recent years, the use of digital marketing has allowed pharmaceutical companies to take a different approach in targeting customers, doctors and caregivers.
Nitte College of pharmaceutical sciences (NCOPS), one of the leading pharmacy colleges in Bangalore, understands the present pharmaceutical industry and health care requirements. Industry – Institute partnership cell of NCOPS fosters research activities and reduces the gap between industry expectations and academia by direct involvement of industry to attain a symbiosis. NCOPS emphasizes and sensitizes students to be more industry centric and patient-focused by appropriate practice-based training to face future challenges of the pharmaceutical sector and perform in all environments.
Dr. Kusum Devi, Principal, NCOPS
Mrs. Ashwini M., Assistant Professor, NCOPS
Mrs. N. V. L. Sirisha Mulukuri, Assistant Professor, NCOPS