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Careers in Pharma

Traditionally a career in Pharmacy was not held in esteem, as much as engineering or medicine. On the contrary it was believed that people who could not get into a medical college would land up in Pharmacy. The options too were very limited, you could either work for a Pharma company, set up your own drug store. Doing a MBA in marketing was then considered by the pharmacy graduates to ‘revive’ their career. Those were the days before the year 2000.

This picture has completely changed now, thanks to the recent boom in the Pharma industry. According to the market reports, the Pharma market in India is expected to touch US$ 74 billion in sales by 2020 from the current US$ 11 billion. It will easily be among the biggest industries in India and among the largest in the world. According to the reports, India is considered to be a ‘disease capital’ of the world and every household here has diabetes or a hyper tension patient. This unfortunate situation is actually considered an opportunity for the industry and it is one of the reasons that it is growing at such rate.

It is very interesting to be a part of the Indian Pharma industry just when it is gaining its position as a global leader. Numerous applications in the industry that have opened up in the last decade include, clinical trials, research and development, manufacturing and retail.

Manufacturing pharmaceuticals, quality control or Medical Counselling have been the traditional areas where pharma graduates were absorbed and these have grown exponentially.

R&D in Pharmaceuticals is going to play a major role by the year 2020. The main reason is the development of pharmaceutical industries in the country which require research in developing their own molecules and processes. High cost of foreign drug formulations means that India needs to develop its own drug molecules which will be able to compete with foreign players.

Top colleges in Mumbai are:Bombay College of Pharmacy, Kundanani College, C.U.Shah (SNDT) University ,UDCT, Bharati Vidyapeeth and M.E.T College take the cream of students. Recruitments form campus do not take place on a large scale but there are always job openings in companies like Cipla, Dr.Reddy’s and Wyeth.

One big plus point for opting a degree in pharmacy is that a four year degree course gives you a license to manufacture medicines. You do not need a specialization or masters for that.

Opting for MBA, upon completing B .Pharm is also a tried and tested, safe option for it ensures a lucrative job.

Entrepreneurship and Employment opportunities: Just a graduation in Pharmacy and you can become an entrepreneur. Pharmacists can start their own Clinical Research Organizations or CROs. India has been increasingly becoming a hub for clinical research.Clinical research in pharmacy is at a boom because the labour and manpower in India is cheap .Over the years the literacy rate has been increasing in India thus these CROs have given a scope for employment but more than that it has led entrepreneurship to flourish.

Now a Pharmacist can prescribe medicines: The trend which has already started in the west of Pharmacists prescribing medicines will soon catch up in India as well. In the countries like the U.S , the pharmacists and doctors work together to prescribe medicines in big organizations. In India too this shall happen eventually giving more opportunities to the pharmacists. Pharmacists can work as medical counsellors and deal with patients.

More and more people are opting for Pharmacy as a career but like any other field this field too has its weakness. Firstly there is a cut throat competition among companies and so malpractices abound. Cases of bribing a medical practitioner to place your own product in the market are very common. But if one weighs the pros and cons, one can definitely see more opportunities than weaknesses in Pharmacy.

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About Preeti Kulkarni