Pharma studies in India: Get the right prescription for success
Updated on Jul 11, 2016 - 10:13 a.m. IST by Kalyani Sharma
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UPES School of Health Sciences

Can you imagine a world where cancer patients don’t get chemotherapy? Where doctors struggle for the most basic antibiotics and surgeons run out of anesthetic drugs? It’s the pharmacy sector that saves us from such scary scenarios. Ensuring effective use of drugs, pharmaceutical studies link health sciences with chemical sciences, leading to one of the most trusted and accessible healthcare professions.

Be it a more traditional role such as compounding and dispensing medications or more modern services like providing drug information, clinical services and reviewing medications, pharma industry holds diverse opportunities. “Pharma is a recession proof sector and hence it is a wonderful career option for students; But joining Pharmacy along with dedicated efforts towards real exposure of Pharma Sector during course duration is required to make a bright career in Pharmacy,” says Dr Tanveer Naved, Acting Principal, Amity Institute of Pharmacy.

Dr. Tanveer NavedDr. Tanveer Naved,
Acting Principal,
Amity Institute of Pharmacy, Noida

Pharma is a recession proof sector and hence it is a wonderful career option for students; But joining Pharmacy along with dedicated efforts towards real exposure of Pharma Sector during course duration is required to make a bright career in Pharmacy.

According to industry body ASSOCHAM, Indian pharma industry supplies 10% of global production and globally ranks 3 in terms of volume and 10 in terms of value.

Pharmacy education in India

The Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) and All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) control pharmacy education in India. Qualifications at different levels include Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm), Master of Pharmacy (M.Pharm), Diploma in Pharmacy (D.Pharm), Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D) and PhD in pharmacy. As the sector is quite challenging, students have to be well aware of what lies in store for them. “Pharmacy students need to be realistic about the profession they have chosen to spend their career in. Students who are aware of the changes that are taking place in the profession will adapt more readily to contemporary pharmacy curricula. They may also find more satisfaction with the profession and may ultimately have more success in their careers. They need to focus on research too,” says Dr K.S. Laxmi, Dean, SRM College of Pharmacy, Chennai.

Dr K.S. LaxmiDr K.S. Laxmi,
SRM College of Pharmacy, Chennai

Pharmacy students need to be realistic about the profession they have chosen. Students who are aware of the changes that are taking place in the profession will adapt more readily to contemporary pharmacy curricula. They may also find more satisfaction with the profession and may ultimately have more success in their careers.

Undergraduate curriculum

Pharmacy curriculum is interdisciplinary in nature. Although it varies from university to university, a 4-year B.Pharm course in general focuses on organic as well as inorganic aspects of chemistry along with concepts of biochemistry, health education and human anatomy. It also teaches the process of turning a chemical into a drug (Physical Pharmaceutics) along with the technologies involved in it (Pharmaceutical Technology), various sources of drugs (Pharmacognosy), uses, effect and action of drugs on body (Pharmacology) along with pharmaceutical biotechnology i.e. technologies involved in the manufacturing and registration of biotechnological drug and also pharmaceutical legislation (Pharmaceutical Jurisprudence) along with pharmacy business management.

Postgraduate studies

M.Pharm students usually need to select one out of ten areas of specializations viz. Pharmaceutics, Pharmaceutical Analysis, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and Pharmacy Practice, Industrial Pharmacy, Pharmacognosy, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Regulatory Affairs, Quality Assurance.


PCI introduced a six-year programme, Pharm.D in 2008 to create a trained manpower base for disease management, patient counselling and effective and cost-effective care. You can join this course after 10+2. Unlike that of other courses, the syllabus of Pharm.D is globally standardized. “Currently Indian pharmacy professionals face problems in practicing in foreign countries. The Pharm.D and Pharm.D (PB) candidates play a vital role in clinical pharmacy practice and a very vital role in drug management, drug information and also monitoring adverse drug reactions,” says Dr Laxmi.


Internships and practical education are also an important part of pharma ceutical studies. “Clinical exposure and industrial trainings are required to build a successful pharma career. Applicable technical know-how is also needed apart from a good academic record,” said Dr. Naved.


Pharmacist at work

In pharmaceutical industry, pharmacists perform tasks in Research & Development; Production/Manufacturing  of vaccines, drugs and other biological products; Quality Control involving product testing throughout the life cycle of drug and final product; Quality Assurance which involves preparing, reviewing and submitting documents and hence assuring overall quality management; Sales & Marketing. Some of the other areas are:


Regulatory Affairs: It involves preparing, reviewing, communicating and submitting registered documents on pharmaceuticals to regulatory agencies to get R & D, testing and issues related to patents.


Pharmaceutical Care Services: In this era of globalization which has witnessed evolution in the professions of health sector, role of pharmacists is not only limited to compounding and dispensing of drugs but also patient education in collaboration with physician to assure that patient benefits from the medicine. “Earlier pharmacists used to dispense the drugs over the counter alone but now it is not so. He plays a very vital role not only in the production but also in the management of medicine along with the physicians,” said Dr Laxmi.


Community Pharmacy: Medical store/druggist and chemist

Hospital Pharmacy: It involves medicine selection, managing inventory and storage of medicines and allied products in private hospitals, public hospitals District Hospitals, Tertiary & Teaching Hospitals, other public sector hospitals and also small scale manufacturing/compounding, sterile supplies, dispensing of medicines, patient counseling, health promotion and taking part in National Health Programmes.


Clinical Pharmacy: involves ADR (Adverse Drug Reaction) prevention, detection, monitoring, reducing drug interactions and drug related problems, taking patient medication history, taking part in ward rounds along with doctors and nurses, deciding/adjusting medication dosing for patients and providing drug information.


Academics: Pharmacists can also work as teachers in teaching institutes and pharmacy colleges. Post-graduation is the minimum qualification to qualify as a lecturer.

Full-time programmes and eligibility




Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm)

10+2 with PCM/PCB/PCMB+CET wherever required

4 years

Master of Pharmacy (M.Pharm)


2 years (includes 1 year of research work)

Diploma in Pharmacy (D.Pharm)

10+2 with PCM/PCB/PCMB

2 years + 3 months of practical training

Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and Pharm.D. post Baccalaureate (PB)

PCM/PCB/PCMB  B.Pharm for PB

6 years including 1 year hospital internship

Ph.D in Pharmacy


3 years

MBA (Pharma Management)

Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy,
Science, life Sciences, MBBS, BDS

2 years


prominent institutes


Degrees Awarded

National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education
and Research (NIPER), Mohali

M.S. (Pharm)

Amity Institute of Pharmacy, Uttar Pradesh

B.Pharm, M.Pharm & PhD

SRM College of Pharmacy, Tamil Nadu

B.Pharm, M.Pharm, Pharm.D & PhD

Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Hyderabad

B.Pharm (hons), M.Pharm, Pharm.D

University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Panjab University

B.Pharm, M.Pharm & PhD

JSS College of Pharmacy, Tamil Nadu

B.Pharm (hons), M.Pharm, Pharm.D, Pharm.D (PB), Ph.D

IIT BHU, Varanasi

B.Pharm, M.Pharm & PhD

Faculty of Pharmacy, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi

B.Pharm, M.Pharm, D.Pharm & PhD

NMIS, Mumbai

MBA (Pharma Tech), B.Pharm, M.Pharm & D.Pharm




K.P. RajagopalK.P. Rajagopal
Sales Head(Former),
Novartis India Ltd.

Indian pharmaceutical industry has been steadily growing in double digits for the past many years, and is estimated to grow annually by 20% over the next five years. Globally, India is the largest provider for generic drugs, which accounts for 20 percent of global exports. Thus the pharma industry is a key player in giving jobs to young Science graduates and those with qualifications such as B.Pharm/M.Pharm/MBA.

Before you choose pharma sector as your career destination, address the following questions first. 

  1. What is your interest?

  2. What do you want to be – both in the short and long term?

  3. What are your skills?

  4. What types of career fits your skills and interest?

If you conclude that your aptitude and attitude are right, then you can opt for the following.

Contract Research Organizations

Various contract organizations do research on New Drug Discovery, Process Development, and Clinical Research & Formulation Development. Those with B.Pharm/ M.Pharm/PhD can eye this domain.


Regulatory Affairs

Various documents are necessary for R&D and Production of Drugs/Medical Devices. Expertise is needed to understand and incorporate latest changes in regulatory requirements of National GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice), World Health Organization GMP and US Food and Drug Administration. Regulatory Inspections are done at regular intervals and companies require pharmacy professionals for preparing and executing such regulatory requirements.


Sales and Marketing

In any given month the sector has openings for 5000+ sales jobs. If your skills match the job profile, you can opt for Sales and Marketing jobs, responsible for sales promotion of pharma brands to doctors and hospitals. Starting your career as Medical Reps you can rise in the hierarchy to become Vice President Sales or even President Sales. You can also explore international marketing and exports.



Healthcare advertising is catching up in a big way, quite visible in the brand building and advertising campaigns for many pharma products. Social media and digital media marketing are also strongly catching up, leading to many openings here.


Manufacturing & Production

There are plenty of opportunities in the production of Bulk Drugs (API) and intermediates. From the level of a Production Chemist one can rise to the position of Vice President Production. Qualification required would be B.Pharm/ M.Pharm/MBA.


Quality Control

With a B.Pharm/M.Pharm, you can start your career as Quality Chemist (Competent Technical Staff) and can become a QC – Executive/Technical Manager/QC Manager/Chief Quality Control Manager etc.



Dr B. N. SinhaDr B. N. Sinha,
Professor & Head,
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences,
Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi

Our outcome-based education system emphasizes on many skills, necessary for a successful pharma career. The most important ones are:

Pharmacy knowledge

Have knowledge and comprehensive ability of the core information associated with the profession including biomedical sciences; pharmaceutical sciences; behavioural, social, administrative and manufacturing practices.


Thinking abilities

Utilize the principles of scientific inquiry, thinking analytically, clearly and critically, while solving problems and making decisions during daily practice. To find, analyze, evaluate and apply information systematically to make defensible decisions.


Planning abilities

Demonstrate effective planning abilities including time management, resource management, delegation skills and organizational skills. Develop and implement plans and organise work to meet deadlines.

Leadership skills

Understand and consider human reaction to change, motivation issues, leadership and team building when planning changes required for fulfillment of practice, professional and societal responsibilities.


Professional identity

Understand, analyze and communicate the value of professional roles in society by considering historical, social, economic and political issues.


Pharmacist and society

Apply reasoning informed by the contextual knowledge to assess societal, health, safety, legal, and cultural issues and the consequent responsibilities relevant to the professional pharmacy practice.


Environment and sustainability

Understand the impact of the professional pharmacy solutions in societal and environmental contexts, and demonstrate the knowledge of, and need for sustainable development.


Honour personal values and apply ethical principles in professional and social contexts. Demonstrate  cultural and personal variability in values, communication and lifestyles.



Communicate effectively with the pharmacy community and with society at large, such as, being able to comprehend and write effective reports, make effective presentations and documentation, and give and receive clear instructions.


Modern tool usage

Learn, select, and apply appropriate procedures, resources, and modern pharmacy-related computing tools with an understanding of the related limitations.


Life-long learning

Recognize the need for, and have the ability to engage in independent and life-long learning in the broadest context of technological change.

Stay tuned to for more feature and updates on medical education

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