Most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on
PHARMACY PRACTICE

This document provides the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) in Pharmacy Practice. These have been prepared on the basis of the most common queries received in the past. Just in case you have an un-answered question at the end of reading this document, please contact us at pp@niper.ac.in.

What is Pharmacy Practice?

What is the role of a practicing pharmacist?

What is the principle of pharmacy practice?

What is pharmaceutical care?

Can you explain more?

What is a drug-related problem?

Why a pharmacist should be consulted for a drug-related problem?

What are the advantages of solving a drug-related problem?

Why not the doctors solve the drug-related problems?

How does solving these problems make a pharmacist more respectable?

What are the job opportunities after I complete?

Is the pharmacy practice program relevant in India?

When did the discipline of pharmacy practice start in India?

How will such training change the current scenario in the profession?

When did this course start at NIPER?

Do I have to study subjects different than other disciplines?

I also hear it is all about visits to hospitals and patients. Is that true?

What does a student do in a hospital?

How does it help the student?

Is it then not the same as clinical pharmacy?

Why should I study this program at NIPER?

 

Q1. What is Pharmacy Practice?

A. The application of unique knowledge and skills of the pharmacist to improve the health of the people is called Pharmacy Practice. It includes hospital, clinical, and community pharmacy.

Q2. What is the role of a practicing pharmacist?

A. A practicing pharmacist shares responsibilities with other healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses etc) and with patients for the outcome of therapy. The patient and the community are the primary beneficiaries of the pharmacist's actions.

Q3. What is the principle of pharmacy practice?

A. The principle of pharmacy practice is pharmaceutical care.

Q4. What is pharmaceutical care?

A. Pharmaceutical care is the responsible provision of drug therapy for the purpose of achieving definite outcomes that improve a patient's quality of life. The four outcomes of treatment are: - cure of disease, elimination or reduction of symptoms, arresting/slowing disease process and preventing a disease or symptoms.

Can you explain more?

A. Pharmaceutical care is that component of pharmacy practice that entails the direct interaction of the pharmacist with the patient for the purpose of caring for that patient's medication-related needs. Translated into everyday practice, pharmaceutical care is what an individual pharmacist does when he or she:

  • evaluates a patient's drug-related needs,

  • determines whether the patient has any actual or potential drug-related problems, and

  • works with the patient and other healthcare professionals to design, implement and monitor a pharmacotherapeutic plan that will resolve/prevent the problem.

Q5. What is a drug-related problem?

A. The drug related problem could be anyone of these: - untreated indication, improper drug selection, sub-therapeutic dosage, failure to receive drugs, over-dosage, adverse drug reactions, drug-drug interactions and drug use without indication.

Q6. Why a pharmacist should be consulted for a drug-related problem?

A. By virtue of being an expert on the knowledge of drugs and their use, a trained and competent pharmacist is the only professional in the healthcare team who can effectively handle a drug-related problem.

Q7. What are the advantages of solving a drug-related problem?

A. The presence of any of these drug-related problems will harm the patient. Hence, a meaningful solution of a drug related problem would certainly benefit the patient.

Q8. Why not the doctors solve the drug-related problems?

A. True! The doctors are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and their efforts need to be constantly supplemented by contributions from all the healthcare professionals. One of the ways to supplement this role is by providing current, reliable and authentic information on medicines and their use.

Q9. How does solving these problems make a pharmacist more respectable?

A. A meaningful solution provided by the pharmacists in a patient-centered setting will lead to appreciation of their inputs in the healthcare team. This gradual contribution in healthcare will make the pharmacist earn more respect within the team.

Q10. What are the job opportunities after I complete?

A. After completing the M. Pharm. in Pharmacy Practice, one can work as a hospital pharmacist, a clinical pharmacist, a medicine information pharmacist, as an educator in academic institutions, as clinical research associates (CRAs) in different fields in pharmaceutical industry. The alumni of this department are currently working in several of these sectors.

Q11. Is the pharmacy practice program relevant in India?

A. As drug use is increasing, there is increased risk of drug-related morbidity and mortality. Expenditure on the healthcare has also increased due to irresponsible use of medications. In India, the level of self-medication is very high as one can buy any medication across the counter. A pharmacist is the right professional to handle the drug-related situations.

Q12. When did the discipline of pharmacy practice start in India?

A. It is almost ten years when the postgraduate program in pharmacy practice was started by some pharmacy colleges in the country.

Q13. How will such training change the current scenario in the profession?

A. Yes, it will! You may be surprised to note that in USA & UK - often the most commonly used models for comparison - have taken 30-35 years to come to the stage we see them today regarding the role(s) of the practicing pharmacist. In India, a beginning made now will yield results - a tangible change - after a fair period of time. Fortunately, the initial steps have already been taken!

Q14. When did this course start at NIPER?

A. The masters program in pharmacy practice at NIPER was started in 2002 in collaboration with School of Pharmacy, University of London, UK.

The department has also been awarded the "Higher Education Link" from the British Council that facilitates the interaction between the School of Pharmacy at University of London, UK and NIPER's department.

Q15. Do I have to study subjects different than other disciplines?

A. Yes, at NIPER, there are a few common subjects like Separation techniques, Biostatistics, Computer applications, Biopharmaceutics & Pharmacokinetics. However, the subjects like clinical pharmacy, clinical and applied therapeutics, Evidence based medicine and critical appraisal, community pharmacy, pharmacy practice are taught only to the pharmacy practice students.

Q16. I also hear it is all about visits to hospitals and patients. Is that true?

A. Yes, to provide real-time clinical experience & training to the students in this program, NIPER collaborates with two major hospitals (Fortis Heart and Multispeciality Centre, Mohali and Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research PGIMER, Chandigarh).

Q17. What does a student do in a hospital?

A. The student gets a chance to go on clinical rounds with the doctors and gain practical knowledge of the patients' problems. The student studies the patient case file(s) and performs case presentation - the analysis of drug related problems - to the doctors. The student, thus, provides solutions for solving the drug related problems and contributes in patient care.

Q18. How does it help the student?

A. By actually attempting to solve a drug-related problem for a patient, one not only contributes to the well being of the patient but also gets identified about his/her contribution.

Q19. Is it then not the same as clinical pharmacy?

A. Clinical Pharmacy is one of the three components of the pharmacy practice program at NIPER. The other two are hospital pharmacy and community pharmacy.

Q20. Why should I study this program at NIPER?

A. Every aspirant has the right to ask that before seeking admission to an institution.

NIPER provides state-of-the-art learning environment to all its students. The emphasis on self-directed learning in this program gives you ample opportunity & flexibility to learn. Apart from training, research in practice areas of direct relevance is also encouraged.

In a short period of time, NIPER has established an interface with the major hospitals in Chandigarh and Mohali and this provides real time clinical experience like no other college/department in the country. The students receive training not only in the hospital-based placements but also in the pharmacy operations and at the Medicine Information Centre to enable them in handling drug related queries. Moreover, the students are placed for training into off-campus training in the community pharmacy and hospitals.

Finally, the department - to achieve its objectives - has also established collaborative links with organizations like the Delhi Society for Promotion of Rational Use of Drugs (DSPRUD).