Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

The word pharmacy is derived from the Greek word ‘PHARMAKON’, meaning ‘drug’ or ‘medicine’. Pharmacy is a health profession that has the responsibility for ensuring the safe, effective and rational use of medicines. Pharmacy revolves around medicines and their users (i.e. medicine consumers/patient) with special emphasis on the development and manufacture of medicines, their supply, appropriate use and therapeutic effects. The objective of pharmacy profession is to ensure that the patient receives the appropriate medicines and benefits from the proper use of these medicines.

Therefore, Pharmacy is an essential part of the healthcare system of a country.  It is a profession that focuses on improving the quality of people’s lives.

What is Pharmacy ?

Pharmacy is the art and science of preparing and dispensing medications and the provision of drug-related information to the public. (Source – Remington: The science and practice of pharmacy -current edition)

Pharmacy is a health profession based on the chemical, biological and medical sciences. It is concerned with the design, evaluation, production and use of medicines and the provision of medicine related information to the public. (Source- Mendeley )

General population in developing country like India usually calls Pharmacy “Medical store” where medicinal drugs are dispensed or compounded and sold

Pharmacy generally is a professional program for students wishing to become licensed (registered) pharmacists. It is a degree program that prepares students upon successful completion to be eligible for registering, and become practicing pharmacists.

Having obtained a degree in Pharmacy (B. Pharm.) in India, you are only able to practice as a pharmacist when you are registered with the State Pharmacy Council. The registration of pharmacist is governed by the Pharmacy Act, 1948. Being a registered pharmacist you are obligated to abide by the laws that govern pharmacy practice in India, demonstrate good ethical and professional responsibilities towards discharging your duties.

Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

To study Pharmacy you will need to first build a strong foundation in Pharmaceutical Sciences. The pharmaceutical sciences combine a broad range of scientific disciplines that are critical to the discovery, design and development of new drugs and therapies.

Pharmaceutical Sciences deals with the scientific basis of the physical, chemical, biological and the medical aspects of the medicines. Advancement in Pharmaceutical Sciences will impact the practice of Pharmacy.

Pharmacist and a pharmaceutical scientist

Pharmacists work with existing medicines, patients, and other healthcare practitioners to optimize patient care and medicine use.

On the other hand, pharmaceutical scientists are involved in the design and development of new drugs (new molecular entity) and delivery systems; and to improve upon the various modes of administration. They spend most of their time doing research in a pharmaceutical company, laboratory or academia.

Pharmacists are health care professionals whose professional responsibilities and accountabilities include seeking to ensure that people derive maximum therapeutic benefit from their treatments with medicines (FIP Statement) including their chemistry, their formulation into medicines, and the ways they are used to manage diseases. Pharmacy profession in India comprises of industrial, practice, and other sectors.

Pharmacists: What they know?

  • How and why medicines work
  • How they are developed, formulated and administered
  • How they are used in the treatment of disease
  • How to promote safe and appropriate use of medicines

The spectrum of pharmacy profession in India is very wide.

Industrial Pharmacists in the pharmaceutical industry work with other disciplines in producing medicines of the highest quality and safety. Their works is not in direct contact of patients, yet contribute to the health care sector.

Industrial Pharmacists research drug compounds and develop new medications. They test medications for efficiency and safety to ensure medications are produced accurately, and they engage marketing and promoting new drugs to consumers. An industrial pharmacist may also be responsible for conducting clinical drug trials to evaluate a drug’s effectiveness and to determine potential risks or side effects.

Practicing Pharmacists work in the community and in hospitals as members of the health care team and have special responsibilities for the use of medicines, and in general in direct contact with the patients.

Practicing Pharmacists are close contact with patients and so have an important role both in assisting patents to make best use of prescribed medicines and in advising on the appropriate self-management of self-limiting minor conditions. Pharmacists are also in close working relationship with other members of health care team – doctors, nurses, dentists – where they are able to give advice on a wide range of issues surrounding the use of medicines.

Role of Pharmacists in developed countries

  • Become experts in medicines and how medicines work and their manufacture and production.
  • Give patients advice and counselling on their medical conditions and medicine use and general issues such as healthy eating, coughs and colds.
  • Liaise with other healthcare professionals for example nurses and doctors in order to ensure patients treated in hospitals get the best care.

Subject areas studied in pharmacy 

Pharmaceutics: The word ‘pharmaceutics’ is used in pharmacy discipline  to encompass many subject areas that are all associated with the steps to which a drug is subjected towards the end of its development. Pharmaceutics is the study of relationships between drug formulation, delivery, disposition and clinical response. Put at its simplest – pharmaceutics converts a New Molecular Entity (NME) into an effective medicine that can be administered to a patient in a safe and convenient manner.

Pharmaceutics, and therefore is concerned with the scientific and technological aspects of the design and manufacture of dosage forms. It is the most diverse of all the subject areas in pharmaceutical science and encompasses:

  • Physical pharmaceutics – Study of the basic physical chemistry necessary for the efficient design of dosage forms (dosage form is defined as a system for carrying drugs)
  • Bio-pharmaceutics – Study of absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of drugs following administration
  • Dosage form design – Design and formulation of medicines
  • Pharmaceutical technology – Manufacture of these medicines
  • Pharmaceutical microbiology – Study of the avoidance and elimination of microorganisms in medicines.
  • Drug delivery Systems – It is an intra-disciplinary field of pharmaceutics that covers the precise delivery of drugs to the body using principles of biomaterials and device technology

Pharmacology: is the study of the effects of drugs on the functioning of living systems. i.e. It is  the science of drugs, including their composition, uses, and effects. Falling within the purview of pharmaceutical sciences, Pharmacology focuses on exactly how drugs work (i.e. mechanism of action) and what kinds of reactions certain drugs cause in our bodies, and how they are used therapeutically.

Pathology (study of examination of organ and tissue to make diagnosis);

Physiology (scientific study of function in living systems);

Biochemistry (is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms);

and Molecular biology (molecular basis of biological activity)

Pharmacognosy: is defined as “the study of the physical, chemical, biochemical and biological properties of drugs or drug substances of natural origin (Natural Drugs) as well as the search for new drugs from natural sources”.

Pharmacognosy is the study of natural product molecules that are useful for their medicinal, ecological, gustatory, or other functional properties.

Within the field of pharmacognosy, many diverse and exciting areas are being studied, including:

  • the study of the medicinal properties of natural products, for the purposes of drug discovery;
  • the development and use of analytical methods for quality control of natural products in the marketplace;
  • the study of the use of traditional remedies by native cultures;
  • the microscopic evaluation and species verification of medicinal or economically important natural products;

Pharmaceutical Chemistry is an interdisciplinary field that deals with synthesis, design, structure activity relation, analysis, assay and purity quantification of drugs as chemical compounds. It is the chemistry of drugs and of medicinal and pharmaceutical products.

Pharmaceutical Chemistry is applied in the preparation, synthesis, and standardization, interpretation of drug interactions and analysis of chemical substance for medicinal use.

The fundamental concepts and principles in organic, inorganic, physical, medicinal and analytical chemistry is applied to drugs and pharmaceuticals and then relate these concepts to drug synthesis, manufacturing and quality assurance in the practice of pharmacy.

Pharmaceutical jurisprudence (or Forensic pharmacy):

It derives from the Latin term juris prudentia, which means “the study, knowledge, or science of law.”

The knowledge of pharmaceutical jurisprudence is indispensable in any walk of pharmaceutical profession.

It is the study of rules and regulations of pharmacy, pharmacy practice, and relating to drugs and pharmaceuticals.

 

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A train journey from Chidambaram to Bangalore: Exhaustive albeit through stunning scenery

Every month we visit Bangalore (officially known as Bengaluru) . My daughter is currently working as a software engineer in a reputed MNC located in Marathahalli, a suburb of Bangalore. We go there since it is an opportunity to travel in exposing ourselves in the presence of our nature and culture in addition to being there to stay with our daughter.

JOURNEY: Although there are number of Volvo buses to Bangalore that takes average 8 to 10 hours during night, I prefer to travel in a train for such journey duration. There is only one direct day time passenger train to Bangalore.  The train is Karaikal-Bangalore (56513/56514) passenger train that connect Karaikal, a port city of east coast of India and one of the four regions in the Union Territory of Puducherry with Bangalore. The train has 16 carriages (all unreserved coaches), 53 halts and runs at an amazing average speed of 40 KMPH. All other trains depart from far away station from Chidambaram.

ka train route

Karaikal-Bangalore Train Route (572 KM)

The train leaves Chidambaram 7.30 in the morning and reaches Carmelaram (a nondescript station is used for entry into Sarjapura road, Electronic city, Marathahalli  and ITPL areas of Bangalore’s IT hub) at 5.30 in the evening covering a distance of 430 KM in almost 10 hours with a miniscule fare of only 75 Rupees and without an agony of advance reservation.

Bangalore (Bengaluru) bound Karaikal-Bangalore Passenger leaving Chidambaram station at 7.30 AM

Bangalore (Bengaluru) bound Karaikal-Bangalore Passenger leaving Chidambaram station at 7.30 AM

The train goes to Cuddalore and turns almost 120 degree back to reach Vriddhachalam via number of sleepy villages and Neyveli (A township of large thermal power plant with mines of Lignite).

Neyveli  Railway Station, well known amid nondescript villages   because of Lignite mines and  power plant

Neyveli Railway Station, well known amid nondescript villages because of Lignite mines and power plant

The train reaches to Vriddhachalam station at around 10.00 AM  from where it runs opposite direction to take VriddhachalamSalem (pronounced as Selam) route.

The train enters Vriddhachalam Station

The train enters Vriddhachalam Station

As the train leaves Vriddhachalam  towards Salem city it provides ample opportunity to click panoramic views of KALRAYAN HILLS (situated in the Eastern Ghats of Tamilnadu, Avg MSL 2000 ft – 3000 ft) and overlooking lots and lots of lush green fields- in between nature’s shades through many towns and villages.IMG_4280

IMG_4307

Cloud capped hill

The train passes through three stations of Salem city (Town, Market and Junction), a steel city of india and also a gateway (25 KM from the city) to  Yercaud, a part of the Servarayan range of hills in the Eastern Ghats known as the’Prince of Hills’.

IMG_4314

Salem Junction Station

IMG_4326

The hill at eastern ghat

IMG_4528

The green and yellow shades at country site

Onward from Salem junction and toward  Hosur, a lot of picturesque natural scenes can be  captured in camera .IMG_4524

On the way to Carmelaram Railway station

On the way to Carmelaram Railway station

Our destination, Carmelaram: The station is an unfamiliar one to most people in Bangalore, and even to call taxi operators. It is situated on the south-eastern corner of the Bangalore city amid vacant grasslands, high rise buildings under constructions, and marble shops. It is nestled in a grove of tall trees off Sarjapur Road, a little after the Wipro IT office. A large number of people from the south-eastern part of Bangalore use Carmelaram station to board and alight from many trains to minimize travel time.

Carmelaram Rly Station (JuNe 2014)

Carmelaram Raillway Station (June 2014)

After about 10 hours of journey, the train reaches Carmelaram in the late afternoon, ready to travel further through Sarjapura road towards needed area of Bangalore IT hub.

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A New Impact Factor

New Impact Factor by Scopus

SNIP: Source Normalized Impact per Paper is based on Scopus citation database which is produced by Elsevier. The SNIP combines a journal’s average citation count per paper with the “citation potential” of its subject area, thereby enabling journals in different subject areas to be compared. SNIPs are available for papers listed in Scopus, so even your journal does not have an Journal IF it may well have a SNIP. It measures contextual citation impact by weighting citations based on the total number of citations in a subject field. The impact of a single citation is given higher value in subject areas where citations are less likely, and vice versa.

The SNIP indicator is defined as the quotient of two other indicators: (i) the journal’s Raw Impact per paper published in the journal (RIP) divided by (ii) the Relative Database Citation Potential (RDCP) in the journal’s sub-field. The numerator, that is, the journal’s Raw Impact per paper published in the journal, is not essentially different from a three-year Impact Factor. The denominator of the SNIP, that is, the Relative Database Citation Potential is defined with reference to the median of the Database Citation Potentials of the journals in the database.

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR):  SJR takes prestige into account when considering the value of a citation. A citation from high profile journal is valued above a citation from a lesser-known journal. It is a measure of the scientific influence or prestige of a journal. The SJR metric is based on Google PageRank™ algorithm. It measures the weighted citations per document. Citations are weighted depending on the prestige of the source where they originate.  SJR is a prestige metric based on the idea that ‘all citations are not created equal’. A SJR value of 1.5 in a given year means that the research article published in the journal in the three previous years received, on average, one and a half weighted citations.

Metrics are useful as they are a means of providing information about research quality and impact of publications. These metrics can be used to track record when applying for grants and promotion. The University Grants Commission (UGC) focuses publications in SCI journals with impact factor and number of citations of publications for academic evaluations. The NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) assesses research areas of academic institution based on publications in impact factor journals and various other citation metrics including SNIP and SJR.

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Make an awesome 2015

TWENTY 15

Reboot, not resolutions

Create habits, not resolutions

Explore places

Visit anything and observe

Chase early morning Sun

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Types of Containers for Pharmacopoeial Articles

A container for a pharmacopoeial article is intended to contain a drug substance or drug product with which it is , or may be in direct contact. The closure is a part of the container (Indian Pharmacopoeia 2014).

Roles of containers

  • Enable removal of contents in a manner suitable for intended use
  • Provide adequate degree of protection from the environment
  • Minimize loss of contents during storage, transport and use until the medicine is used
  • Ensure integrity of the medicine
  • Provide convenience and compliance for the medicinal product
  • Provide identification of the medicinal product

Types of containers

Various pharmacopoeia including Indian Pharmacopoeia specifies different types of containers on the basis to their ability to protect their contents from external conditions and considerations for specific patients population categories (Child and elderly).

Well closed container protects the contents from contamination by extraneous solids and liquids and from loss of article under normal conditions of handling, storage and distribution.

Tightly-closed container protects the contents from contamination by extraneous solids, liquids or vapors, from loss or deterioration of article from effervescence, deliquescence or evaporation under normal conditions of handling, storage and distribution.

Airtight container is impermeable to solids, liquids and gases under ordinary conditions of handling, storage and transport.

Hermetically sealed container is impervious to air or any other gas under normal conditions of handling, storage and distribution.

(a) Single-dose container is intended for articles for parenteral administration and is designed to hold single dose (When opened cannot be resealed with assurance that sterility has been maintained).

(b) Multiple-dose container is a hermetic container that permits withdrawal of successive portions of the contents without changing the quality, strength or purity of remaining portion.

Tamper-evident container is fitted with a device or mechanism that reveals whether the container has been opened.

Light resistant container protects the contents from the effects of actinic light  by means of opaque covering and/or stored in a dark place (USP standard: Not more than 10% transmission at any wavelength between 290-450 nm).

Child resistant container is one that is difficult for children under 5 years of age to open within a reasonable time and that is not difficult for normal adults to use properly.

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A Journey Through Scenic East Coast Road

The East Coast Road (or ECR as it is fondly called) is a state highway (SH 49) in Tamilnadu built along the Coromandel coast of the Bay of Bengal, initially connecting Chennai with Cuddalore. At present it runs up to Karaikal, and is expected to be extended up to Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of India, and will cover a distance of 737 KM.

I have been travelling from Chidambaram to Chennai and back on a number of occasions for over four years, to meet my daughter who studied in Anna University CEG campus, Guindy. For most of my journeys I traveled  6.00 AM Rathimeena Volvo bus to reach Guindy, Chennai at around 10.00 AM and returned by 2.05 PM Multi Axle A/C bus reaching back to Chidambaram at around 6.30 PM ( 220 KM). I also traveled by a hired car on a few occasions.  

I have had the good fortune to experience a mesmerizing sea view, on number of occasions, lined with coconut trees, rice fields, tiny villages of fishermen, neatly arranged sailing boats, plain beach sand, and glimpses of the Bay of Bengal. 

On the way to Mamallapuram

ECR ( Near Chennai): On the way to Mamallapuram

The scenic beach way starts from toll gate

The ECR scenic beach way starts from toll gate

ECR is considered as one of India’s most scenic highway, and studded with a lot of tourist picturesque spots of historic, cultural and recreational importance. It has got a place in Outlook Traveller Magazine as an important road expressway. There are amusement parks, hotels, resorts and open air theaters that attract everyone.  Whether go by riding in a bus, biking or cruising in a car, the thrill is awesome. 

MGM Dizzee World, at Muttukadu, about 30 kms away from Chennai

MGM Dizzee World, at Muttukadu, about 30 kms away from Chennai 

Muttukadu boat house along East Coast Road, 36 Kms from Chennai, a wonderful picnic spot

Muttukadu boat house along East Coast Road, 36 Kms from Chennai, a wonderful picnic spot

Crocodile Bank is 44 KM from Chennai. It is a centre for herpetology and  consists of 3.3 hectares of farm area  where several species of crocodiles, alligators and snakes are bred in captivity in open surroundings.

Madras Crocodile Bank

Madras Crocodile Bank

While riding through ECR, sometimes, I find sea coast just a few feet away, and at some places, it is about a KM away, but, with nothing else the view of sea coast is breathtaking.

Sea Coast on the left

The ECR offers scenic views of the Coromandel coast

Mamallapuram, formerly Mahabalipuram, is a UNESCO World Heritage and a tourist town 60 km south of Chennai along the ECR famous for its Pallava culture and stone carvings.It was the major seaport of the ancient Pallava kingdom.

Shore Temple at Mamallapuram:  A mesmerizing stones structure that stands majestically on the edge of the sea

Shore Temple at Mamallapuram: A mesmerizing stones structure that stands majestically on the edge of the sea 

The Scenic views of the ECR just after Mamallapuram

Scenic views of the ECR just after Mamallapuram

With just another about 50 KM to go before Puducherry, there are plenty of opportunities to click camera every few kilometres thereon. The road passes through bridges constructed on the top of backwater … it is like water lashing the road; and salt harvesting (salt from sea water) fields. 

The ECR near Puducherry

The ECR near Puducherry: well maintained with series of trees on either side

Salt Harvesting fields

Salt harvesting fields

Further drive south winding its way to soak Puducherry’s unique French ambience. Puducherry (Formerly Pondicherry) is the former French colony and very popular weekend tourist destination specially for Chennaites. And further continue driving southward on ECR leads to Chidambaram, famous for for its Nataraja Temple with the roof of the sanctum sanctorum covered with golden plates.

Image for Ariyankuppam on the ECR, a sub-taluk town in Puducherr

Image for Ariyankuppam on the ECR, a sub-taluk town in Puducherry

ECR, near Chidambaram

ECR, near Chidambaram

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Summer Holidays: A trip to my childhood place, Dhupguri in the Dooars region of Sub-Himalayan West Bengal

Dhupguri is a quaint small municipal town at the foot of Sub-Himalayas in the Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal, a State in India. The railway distance is 2533 KM from my working place, Chidambaram in Taminadu. A long time  ago, I looked forward for every summer vacations, when we would travel by train for 49 hours or about 2 days and 3 nights – and take 29 stations in five states to cover 2533 KM distance from Chidambaram.

The long train journey even with open windows was a joyful experience. In absence of low cost flight, train journey within India was the only option available those days. After a gap of more than 2.5 years, We went to native home in West Bengal during May/June 2014. On 24 April 2014,  I booked our direct return ( Chennai- Bagdogra) flight tickets for reasonable airfare by searching in the cleartrip. I now valued time and comfort over everything else, and so mostly choose flights over trains. On 14th of May, 2014, Wednesday, early morning we were in indigo airlines flight in Chennai and off to Bagdogra Airport.

Chennai Airport: waiting to board flight to Bagdogra

Chennai Airport: waiting to board flight to Bagdogra

To our surprise our indigo flight landed Bagdogra airport about 20 minutes ahead of scheduled time. A driver (Shankar) came to receive us at the airport. After one and half hours of drive my wife, my daughter and I reached Jalpaiguri. It passed through some important places viz. North Bengal University, North Bengal medical college and Uttarkannya (Secretariat). Although road was not smooth, it resembled a black ribbon in an endless sea of trees.

University of North Bengal,  Terai region of Darjeeling district (7 KM from Bagdogra)

University of North Bengal, Terai region of Darjeeling district (7 KM from Bagdogra)

Tea Garden

A Tea Garden on the way

After New Jalpaiguri (abbreviated as NJP) railway station  entrance, we drove Siliguri- Jalpaiguri highway  and in some time reached Fulbari. Fulbari is famous for its popular Bengali sweets pantuas, otherwise known as jamuns and we stopped at one of the original two sweet shops for a taste. From Fulbari we followed the highway to Jalpaiguri. The sky was clear shade of blue and we found green everywhere in both sides of road.

Pantuas, the famed sweet at Fulbari

Pantuas, the famed sweet at Fulbari

Wonderful world at the lap of Sub-Himalayas: Dooars

Derived from the word ‘doors’ (gateway to Bhutan from India), this region located in 3 Sub-Himalayan districts of West Bengal also forms a gateway to the hill stations of North Bengal, Sikkim, Bhutan ( source : Web). The Dooars has the richest biodiversity in this planet, a mix of seven different types of forest (from green to moist deciduous) covered with numerous species of grasses, trees and hosting a large variety of flora and fauna. It consists of number of wildlife sanctuaries (viz. Jaldapara, Gorumara, Buxa), many rivers and more than 200 tea gardens at about 150 KM foothills of Himalayas.

Dhupguri – My Home

Dhupguri, deep inside the Dooars,  is a small but growing municipal town in West Bengal – 40 KM from district headquarter, Jalpaiguri situated on national highway 31. It is a rich agricultural centre  and a large source of rice, jute, potato, vegetables, tobacco and betel nuts for neighbouring places through one of the largest regulated markets in Bengal. From Jalpaiguri as we passed towards Dhupguri via NH31, we were welcomed by gorgeous Teesta river coming down straight from Sikkim and flowing to Bangladesh. The 1 KM-wide bridge connects the entire north east India from rest of India on road. The landscapes  and greens  en route Dhupguri  are bound to draw everyone’s attention.

River and Rail Bridges over Mystifying TEESTA

River and Rail Bridges over Mystifying TEESTA

Another River Jaldhaka, near Dhuphguri

Another mighty River Jaldhaka, near Dhuphguri

Road side  paddy field

Road side green everywhere

Dhupguri is a place where I spent my early (almost 18 years) childhood life before moving to Jadavpur, Kolkata. Living in the midst of nature up to 1970’s with trees, greens, and jungles all around with abundance of nearby forests, I remember as a kid (6 or 7 years old) would spot deer, rabbits and even once a tiger cub in the nearby bushes. There is a forest named Sonakhali, 4 to 5 KM away from our home. Everything has changed and all the bushes, trees and agriculture lands around my home have been replaced with buildings and houses.

In front of my house (built in 1985) through the veranda grill

In front of my house (built in 1985) through the veranda grill

Road in front of my Home being expanded

Road, being expanded,  in front of my Home

Dhupguri Town

Dhupguri Town: close to bus stand and bazaar

Dhupguri School back entry gate - I studied up to H S level

Dhupguri School back entry gate – I studied up to H S level

It is nice feeling to be at home, where I spent my entire childhood without a break. It is impossible to forget those beautiful years from our lives. The joys in me were many:- revisit and cherish some old memories ; the thought of calm and serene life;  the taste of many popular Bengali sweets- Rosogolla, Malaikari, Chum Chum; gastronomic delights – Hilsa, Barali, Pabda fishes; and the smell of fresh oxygen.

A life is enriched by memories we live and remember.  A vacation spent at native home do exactly this.

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