The pharmacy education in India has four levels: 2 year Diploma in Pharmacy (DPharm), 4 year Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm), 2 year Master of Pharmacy (MPharm), and 6 year Pharm D courses. The language for all pharmacy teaching in India is English. The entry point, for DPharm, BPharm and PharmD programs, is 12 years of formal school education in the science (starting students are approximately 18 years of age). The DPharm involves a minimum of 2 years of study besides practical training of 500 hours spread over a period of 3 months in a hospital or community pharmacy.
The BPharm involves 4 years of study which may include 2 months’ practical training in a drug manufacturing unit or hospital pharmacy. The BPharm curriculum is based on industrial pharmacy, and consists of chemistry, pharmacology, and pharmacognosy. There is not much attention for the biomedical, clinical and social sciences.
The Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree program requires an additional 2 years of study and involves completing a research project of 1 year in any pharmaceutical discipline, for instance pharmaceutics, pharmacology or pharmacy practice.
The Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), a statutory body established by an act of parliament (Pharmacy Act, 1948), has sole responsibility for the regulation of practice of pharmacy. The PCI makes regulations prescribing the minimum standard of education required for qualification as a pharmacist. It dictates the curriculum norms, among others for institutions and takes care of the registration of pharmacists.
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is an advisory body primarily responsible for planning and funding in priority sectors of technical education which also include pharmacy. From 2014 onward guidelines for Degree and PG in Pharmacy Programs has come under the purview of University Grants Commission (UGC). Students with an MPharm degree in any discipline can work towards a PhD with additional minimum 3 years of study and research. The PharmD program constitutes 6 years of full-time study. PharmD (post-baccalaureate) program is a 3-year program. The PharmD program was introduced in 2008 with the aim of producing pharmacists with compulsory practical training in practice sites who can provide pharmaceutical care to patients.
Pharmacy education in India, both at BPharm and MPharm levels, is taught as industry and product oriented profession with a focus on the basic sciences. During the past decade, pharmacy education has expanded significantly in terms of number of institutions offering pharmacy program at various levels. However, pharmacy education in India continues to be one of last options for aspiring students to get university degree. The pharmacists with a BPharm or MPharm generally seek avenues other than pharmacy practice. These pharmacists prefer placements in production, regulatory affairs, management and/or quality assurance, and marketing with the pharmaceutical industry. Only small number of these graduates and postgraduates opt to work in community and institutional pharmacies. In India diploma holders (DPharm holders) are practising pharmacists in the global sense as they engage in community or institution pharmacy practice. However, the practice curriculum (DPharm) has not received much attention. The curriculum (DPharm programme) of these mainstay pharmacists revised way back in 1991.