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This years’ theme focusses on ‘Skill and Will to Make and Serve Quality Pill’

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Globally, Indian pharma industry stands at number three in manufacturing quality medicines and to climb up the ladder, this years IPC intends to focus on skill development and Dr Mahesh D Burande, President, 69th IPC Chandigarh 2017 and Director, Institute of Pharmaceutical Education & Research, Pune, share details about the event with Usha Sharma

What will be the theme for 69th Indian Pharmaceutical Congress (IPC). How will it be different from the previous editions?

Dr Mahesh D Burande
Dr Mahesh D Burande

This year’s theme for the 69th IPC is ‘Skill and Will to make and Serve Quality Pill.’ Previous editions were emphasising on patient welfare at every stage. This year’s IPC theme is concentrating on skill development and evovling role of pharmacists. It lays emphasis on various skills needed to be developed during pharmacy education so that students can get better job opportunities and industry will recognise them for their knowledge and skill. In Sanskrit there is shloka Sarvada Vigyata Vijaya means skill always wins. The theme is will also focus on areas related to inventions, manufacturing, analyses, distribution, sales and marketing activities as well as efficiencies in patient care. We will list out the skills for various jobs a pharmacist has to perform in his /her pharmacy career.

Is the industry in sync with this year’s IPC theme?

India is promoting skill development on all sectors . Pradhan Mantri Kaushalya Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) is initiated to develop skills in young generation to increase their employability. Many pharma industry experts are of the opinion that students who pass out from pharmacy colleges lack the required skills. Industry therefore, needs to invest their time and resources to develop these skills in them, which will help to increase their productivity and maintain quality and efficacy of medicines. Drug Controller General India (DCGI) has issued a circular to all pharma companies that their manpower should be trained and certified for specific skills before January 2018. So this year’s theme is in sync with requirements and importance of skill development in pharmacy profession.

Being the president of IPC, what will be your responsibilities, how do you plan to execute it?

As the President of 69th IPC, I have to travel to meet pharma industry leaders, pharma educators, pharma regulators, pharma students and discuss various issues related to skill development and bring all experts on one platform during IPC and develop a strategy to address solutions related to skill development. In the last three months, I myself and LOC team of 69th IPC travelled throughout India and organised approximately 100 meetings. Presidential address is a document for future to suggest various solutions to build skill in pharmacy profession.

Every year at IPC or at different platforms, we discuss about bridging the gap between industry and academia, but hardly there are any significant changes. Do you think this year some concrete steps will be taken?

Change is the only stability in life. We have to change as per the need of situation. Need is to have academy and industry interaction and collaboration. Out of 2000 pharmacy colleges in India, 100 colleges have excellent academic and industry interaction on various fronts like research, guest lectures, seminars, industrial training, faculty exchange, hospital training. This is hardly 5 per cent and we have to increase this per cent every year from 5 to 100 per cent. Colleges who are emphasising on this aspect will grow and attract students not only from India but even from the world and those who will not change has to close down, since students will be unemployable from such institutes. Pharmacy regulators like PCI, AICTE is already taking steps in this direction and making Accreditation NBA/ NAAC a compulsion for granting permission to pharmacy colleges.

List down the five major issues in pharmacy education and how can teachers mitigate this problem?

  • Incoming student quality
  • Teachers lacking teaching skills and professional experience
  • Syllabus not as per industry requirements
  • Lack of practical exposure of industrial practices to students
  • Entrepreneurship is not the subject.Teachers are the backbone of an education system. If the pharma sector can attract efficient teachers for pharma colleges both in the government and private sector then we can be rest assured of solving these challenges.

What kind of collaboration is required to bridge the gap between industry and academia? How can the pharma curriculum and profession be made more attractive?

A) For every college one pharma company should be attached like hospital is attached to Pharm D students.

B) In every two years, teachers should take two months industrial or hospital training in respective subject to know applications of this subject.

C) Pharma companies should send minimum five people for two days to pharmacy colleges to take some lectures and practicals.

D) Minimum six month industrial training should be given to students in four years curriculum and it should be evaluated.

F) Uniform syllabus and updating with industry experts every four year. PCI made it now.

G) Entrepreneurship should be taught and every year one entrepreneur should visit a college and guide students.

F) PCI should be the only regulatory body to monitor pharma academia.

Like the IT industry, do pharmacy professors prefer teaching abroad?
Getting a teaching job in a foreign university is very difficult since our curriculum is industry oriented whereas in the developed countries, it is healthcare oriented. Our good teachers go abroad for post doctorate work in research areas.

What will be your message to the pharmacy students?

Love pharmacy profession, develop passion for pharmacy profession, give performance by knowledge, constantly develop your skill, work hard and always think positive., Initially, don’t think of a big salary but think of gaining experience to become expert. Pharmacy profession will give you everything if you put your best efforts. We are number three in the world in manufacturing quality medicines and let our every effort build the pharmacy profession to make it number one by 2022 in serving mankind.

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