Pharmacists are health professionals who dispense medications, advise patients regarding the use of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. They are also commonly known as druggists or chemists. They play a significant role in helping people get the best results from their medications as they are familiar with the medicine ingredients and cautions. People approach Pharmacists for any health-related queries, what to do in case of a missed dose and what food, drinks, drugs or activities can have an effect on the medication. Basically, they are the experts in medicine and everything related to the use of medicines. If this is something that excites you then pursuing a course in Pharmacy is a good option for the Science students.
Eligibility to become Pharmacist
The Pharmaceutical education includes a mix of theory, practical classes, exams and compulsory industrial/hospital training depending on the course selected. Science in 10+2 is mandatory to pursue further studies in Pharmacy.
For those who wish to open their drug store, a diploma in Pharmacy, which is of 2-year duration is required. Also, those pursuing diploma can get lateral entry to the 2nd year in Bachelor of Pharmacy on a merit basis.
A bachelor’s degree or B. Pharma is required for those who wish to work in the Pharmaceutical industries. The course includes academic and practical training. After pursuing B.Pharma, a student can appear for the GPAT exam which is usually conducted every year in January. To be eligible for B.Pharma, students have to get a minimum of 50 per cent marks in the qualifying exam.
The duration of M.Pharma or Masters in Pharmacy is 2 years and it is divided into a number of semesters.
One can also opt for Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharma.D). It is a 6-year doctorate level course with five years of academic study and one year of internship or residency.
- To be eligible for Diploma, one needs to pass 10+2
- To be eligible for B.Pharma, students have to get a minimum of 50 per cent marks in the qualifying exam.
- To pursue M.Pharma, a recommended minimum score of 50 per cent in B.Pharma from any recognized university or equivalent is required.
- Pass in plus two exams with 50 per cent in Physics and Chemistry as compulsory subjects along with Mathematics or Biology.
- The student must also have completed the D.Pharma course from a PCI-approved institution.
- For Pharma.D, minimum 17 years of age and maximum 23 years on or before 31st December.
Types of Job Roles Pharmacist
Once you are qualified to work as a pharmacist, there are plenty of Pharmacist job profiles that you can explore:
Hospital Pharmacists-They are in charge of monitoring the supply of medicine and are responsible for purchasing, dispensing and quality testing their medication stock.
Drug Inspector-Drug Inspector is an expert at monitoring the utility, quality, and safety of a drug from its manufacturing till its sale. They inspect medical shops and take samples to check if there are any spurious drugs.
Clinical Research Associate-Clinical Research Associates help in organizing and monitoring clinical trials of new drugs to evaluate the benefits and risks associated with them.
Research Officer (Life Sciences)-As a Research Officer, you will be mainly involved in conducting experiments and analyzing the results, with an aim to develop new products and for broadening the horizon of scientific understanding.
Medical Sales Representative-Medical Sales representatives (also known as reps) are responsible for selling a company’s products, including medicines, prescription drugs, and medical equipment to customers, doctors, pharmacists, and nurses.
Regulatory Affairs Officer-They work for medical, pharmaceutical, research organisations and other medicine manufacturers to make sure that their company’s products comply with the regulatory norms. They conduct product trials, get licenses for the products and then write the product labels and accompanying information.
Employment Opportunities for Pharmacists
Pharmacists can choose to work in the following areas:
- Retail Sector
- Pharmaceutical sales and Marketing
- Drug Research and Development
- Medical Underwriting
Top Recruiting Companies for Pharmacists
Some of the leading companies where one can find employment opportunities are
- Aurobindo Pharma
- Reddy’s Laboratories
- Sun Pharma
- Cadila Health
- Alkem Lab
- Torrent Pharma
- Abbott India
- Piramal Enterprises
Employment Sector/Industry for Pharmacist
A pharmacist has a number of duties and responsibilities that are included in the work description. Being a pharmacist, one can expect to find themselves:
- Checking for drug interactions
- Reviewing prescriptions for accuracy
- Supervising and dispensing medications as per a physician’s prescription
- Counselling patients to use the appropriate amount of medication in time
- Preparing special solutions and compounding medications
- Overseeing automatic refills and daily ordering
- Collaborating with health care professionals to review, plan, evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of a patient
- Education staff and patients on drug therapies
- Recommending drug changes when needed
Pay Scale/Salary of Pharmacist
Initially, a Pharmacist gets an average salary of Rs.1.9 LPA. The starting salary ranges from Rs. 15,000-Rs. 25,000 per month and it goes up as you gain more experience with time. It also depends on the institute you have graduated from. Those who own medicine shops will be able to make more.
|Lowest||INR 2.09 LPA|
|Highest||INR 15.92 LPA|
|Average||INR 3.62 LPA|
Average Salary as per Employer
|Apollo Hospitals||INR 2.44 LPA|
|Apollo Group, Inc.||INR 1.5 LPA|
Average Salary as Per Experience
|Entry-Level||INR 2.2 LPA|
|Early Career||INR 2.4 LPA|
|Mid-Career||INR 2.9 LPA|
|Experience||INR 3.11 LPA|
|Late-Career||INR 4.0 LPA|
Information Source – Payscale
Books & Study Material to Become Pharmacist
In order to clear the entrance exams, it is important to prepare well. For that, one needs to study thoroughly. Below are some of the best books and study materials for aspiring pharmacists.
- Theory and Practice of Industrial Pharmacy by Lieberman & Lachman
- Advanced Entrance Guide For Pharmacist Exam By Birla
- Physical Pharmaceutics by CVS Subrahmaniam
- Piyush Guide for Drug Inspector and Pharmacist Exam
- Pharmaceutical Engineering by CVS Subrahmanyam
- A Textbook of Forensic Pharmacy – B M Mithal
- Pharmacognosy by C.K Kokathe, Purohit and Gokhale
- Drug store management by Mehta
- Hospital and Clinical Pharmacy by Siddiqui
- Essentials of Medical Pharmacology by KD Tripathi
Pros of becoming a Pharmacist
- Pharmacists have job flexibility as they can choose to work in a variety of work settings such as retail stores, nursing homes, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies
- Since technology is constantly evolving and new medicines are being discovered, demand for pharmacists will only continue to increase with time. This can lead to more jobs in this field.
Cons of becoming a Pharmacist
- Customer service can be a tough line to work as the job of a pharmacist especially the retail pharmacists involves dealing with customers directly. This can lead to unpleasant situations at times as pharmacists will have to learn to deal with all kinds of people.
- Many pharmacists work long hours and their shift is not just restricted to the usual 9-5.
FAQs about Pharmacist
What are the top pharmacy recruitment firms?
Some of the top recruiting companies for pharmacists are Lupin, Cipla, Sun Pharma, Abbott India, Cadila Health, Glenmark, Cadila Health, Alkem Lab etc.
What are the job opportunities for a pharmacist?
There are a number of job opportunities available for pharmacists in different sectors such as Hospitals, Clinics, Retail Sector, Medical Underwriting, Drug Research and Development, Pharmaceutical Sales and Marketing, etc.
What is the starting salary of a Pharmacist?
The starting salary of a pharmacist can range between Rs 2 LPA and Rs 4 LPA.
Which pharmacy course is best?
B.Pharma is considered to be the best pharmacy course to become a pharmacist, however, aspirants can also become a pharmacist by graduating from a D.Pharma courses as well. Other pharma course that can improve the career opportunities include M.Pharma and Pharma.D courses.
Is it difficult to become a pharmacist?
It is definitely academically difficult to obtain a degree in pharmacy, but perhaps not as much as medicine or veterinary sciences. In order to become a pharmacist, candidates need to make a full commitment to their studies. A dedicated hour or two to study should be the norm every night, to become a successful pharmacist.
Is being a pharmacist a stressful job?
A pharmacist’s job is hard and stressful. Hospitals are paying their pharmacists well, but they are also overly burdened by work-related stress. Pharmacist workload has been rising in concern with their salaries. Many professionals in the industr claim that the working as a pharmacist can be difficult, if you are not resilient.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of a pharmacist?
Benefits:- The work of a pharmacist is less stressful than other medical professions such as surgeons. A pharmacist operates in a safe and healthy environment, unlike doctors and nurses who have a risk of catching a disease from their patients.Drawback: – The work of a pharmacist is repetitive in nature.
What is the highest paying profession in Pharmacy?
Some of the highest paying professions in Pharmacy include job profiles of a Senior Statistician, Drug Safety Specialist, Senior QA Engineer, Pharmaceutical Financial Analyst, Pharmacist, Biotechnology and Senior Scientist, Drug Safety, Specialist etc.
What is the eligibility criteria to become a pharmacist?
In order to become a pharmacist, candidates must have a valid B.Pharm or quivalent Pharmacy degree offered by pharmacy colleges in India which is recognised by the Pharmacy Council of India.
Is becoming a pharmacist a good career path?
Yes, becoming a pharmacist is a good career option. A pharmacist is responsible for dispensing and maintaining medicines and advising patients on the proper use of drugs and possible drug side effects and ensure the general health care or well-being of patients.