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Institutes need to create an ecosystem | Prof Navin Sheth

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India Pharma Inc is on the brink of a huge transformation. What is the strategy shift that is needed in pharmacy education to accelerate the industry’s growth story?

India has a major stake in global pharma market, which is achieved by supply of high quality product. Pharma industry in India is growing annually at more than 15 per cent. In the coming years, there will be demand for target specific formulations, biologics and biosimilars, nutraceuticals and generics. There will be mergers and acquisitions, stringent regulatory requirements, emerging new drug delivery systems, new technologies and instrumentation. API manufacturing to reduce dependence on other countries.

There are two major domains of pharmacy education. One domain is known as ‘Industrial Pharmacy’ and the second one is known as ‘Pharmacy Practice.’ Every educational institution that is imparting pharmacy education should be attached with one pharma industry and one hospital. The attached pharma industry will pave the way for transformation taking place in industrial pharmacy sector whereas the attached hospital will help in training the students on the area of ‘Pharmacy Practice.’

What is the role that premier pharma education institutes in India should undertake to create an innovative ecosystem for life sciences sector?

When the Indian pharma sector is set for huge transformation it would require skilled and expert pharma professionals. To prepare industry ready pharma professionals pharma institutes have to play a very important role, they have to collaborate with major pharma industries to reframe syllabus to make it to match with the recent and future requirements. Pharma industries also have to actively participate in training the professionals.

Indian pharma and healthcare system have many challenges. There is need to convert these challenges into opportunities through innovative solutions.

Present education should inspire students for innovative and creative thinking. To nurture innovative and creative ideas of students, institutes need to create an ecosystem which could help them to convert innovative ideas into products.

Institutes should train teachers to inspire and motivate students to think out of box to find innovative solutions for problems in healthcare and pharma.

How do we enable quality assurance in India’s pharmacy education?

A two-fold approach is essential to ensure this

  1. Institutions should be provided with greater autonomy. There is a greater need to do away with the current affiliation systems. Institutions should have autonomy to decide syllabus pedagogy, conduct examinations and award degrees.
  2. Second important requirement is to allow private rating agencies to evaluate the performance of educational institutions. Such agencies can be established as per the regulations framed by the government.

This two fold approach will ensure a spirit of healthy competition and transferring which in term will assure quality to all stakeholders.

What is your message for your fellow teachers and the sector?

All teachers should come forward to pursue Ph D and Post-Doctoral Programmes. They should try to apply for patent for their research work whenever possible and then they should try to publish their research work in a quality journal. Teachers should be updated and ready to match up with the recent and future requirements of the industry so that they can prepare industry ready professionals.

Next article – We should aim for more research output | Dr N Udupa

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