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The pharmaceutical industry discovers, develops, produces, and markets drugs or pharmaceutical drugs for use as medications to be administered (or self-administered) to patients to cure them, vaccinate them, or alleviate a symptom. Pharmaceutical companies may deal in generic or brand medications and medical devices.
How is pharmacy different from medicine?
Pharmacists are the brainy people that make sure patients get the right medicines and know how to manage their consumption of those drugs. They are absolute experts when it comes to different medicines and provide us with vital information about their various positive and negative effects.
If you are prescribed a specific medicine by a doctor, you will liaise with your pharmacist who will supply you with the appropriate tablets, cream, mixture, liquid or whatever else you might need to treat your illness. They will then tell you how it works, how much you should be using and warn you of any possible side effects.
If you pursue a career in this area, you could be working in all kinds of environments; from hospitals and primary care trusts, to academic institutions and pharmacies on your high street, such as Boots and Super drug.
What Pharmacists Do
Pharmacists dispense prescription medications to patients and offer expertise in the safe use of prescriptions. They also may conduct health and wellness screenings, provide immunizations, oversee the medications given to patients, and provide advice on healthy lifestyles.
Duties of Pharmacists
Pharmacists typically do the following:
Fill prescriptions, verifying instructions from physicians on the proper amounts of medication to give to patients
Check whether prescriptions will interact negatively with other drugs that a patient is taking or any medical conditions the patient has
Instruct patients on how and when to take a prescribed medicine and inform them about potential side effects from taking the medicine
Give flu shots and, in most states, other vaccinations
Advise patients about general health topics, such as diet, exercise, and managing stress, and on other issues, such as what equipment or supplies would be best to treat a health problem
Complete insurance forms and work with insurance companies to ensure that patients get the medicines they need
Oversee the work of pharmacy technicians and pharmacists in training (interns)
Keep records and do other administrative tasks
Teach other healthcare practitioners about proper medication therapies for patients
Some pharmacists who own their pharmacy or manage a chain pharmacy spend time on business activities, such as inventory management. With most drugs, pharmacists use standard dosages from pharmaceutical companies. However, some pharmacists create customized medications by mixing ingredients themselves, a process known as compounding.
The following are examples of types of pharmacists
Community pharmacists work in retail stores such as chain drug stores or independently owned pharmacies. They dispense medications to patients and answer any questions that patients may have about prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, or any health concerns that the patient may have. They also may provide some primary care services such as giving flu shots.
Clinical pharmacists work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings. They spend little time dispensing prescriptions. Instead, they are involved in direct patient care. Clinical pharmacists may go on rounds in a hospital with a physician or healthcare team. They recommend medications to give to patients and oversee the dosage and timing of the delivery of those medications. They also may conduct some medical tests and offer advice to patients. For example, pharmacists working in a diabetes clinic may counsel patients on how and when to take medications, suggest healthy food choices, and monitor patients’ blood sugar.
Consultant pharmacists advise healthcare facilities or insurance providers on patient medication use or improving pharmacy services. They also may give advice directly to patients, such as helping seniors manage their prescriptions.
Pharmaceutical industry pharmacists work in areas such as marketing, sales, or research and development. They may design or conduct clinical drug trials and help to develop new drugs. They may also help to establish safety regulations and ensure quality control for drugs.
The minimum requirements to become a pharmacist are generally a Diploma of Pharmacy (D.Pharm.), a two-year program and/or a Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm.), a four and a half-year program. Both pharmacy courses require a six-month pharmacy internship. The degree/diploma must be from accredited, Pharmacy Council of India approved pharmacy colleges, and upon completion of training and education, the graduate must register with his/her state’s Pharmacy Council. It’s also possible to continue your education by getting a Master of Pharmacy (M.Pharm.) or Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.), but this kind of pharmacy degree tends to be needed for research and/or teaching positions rather than pharmacist positions.
Pharmacy Career Prospects
Pharmacists in India work in community and/or Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) dispensaries, in both private and public hospitals, as well as in retail pharmacies. Pharmaceutical companies will pay them well for work in marketing and quality control of their products, as well as research.
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The salary for pharmacists varies based on experience and location, but the minimum startup salary for a pharmacist who has just finished his/her training is generally about Rs. 25,000 according to one source, Medspan International Pharmacist Training. An average annual salary falls somewhere between Rs. 71,422 and Rs. 4,93,286, according to PayScale.com.
Government hospital salaries start at Rs. 5000; medical representatives about Rs 5000 – Rs. 10000, not to mention incentives; lab researchers may command between Rs. 15000 – Rs. 40000 a month. Manufacturing units are paid in handsome figures.
- Health centres
- Medical dispensing stores
- Pharmaceutical Industries
- In Manufacturing, Analytical and Research & Development divisions
- In Drug Control Administration as Drug Inspector, Analytical Chemist,
- Office of Customs as expert (Drugs & Pharmaceuticals)
- Ministry of Supplies and Rehabilitation as Assistant Director of Supplies
- Medical Representatives and Executives in Pharmaceutical Sale Division
- Multinationals pharmaceutical firms
Careers Related to Pharmacists
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Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health. They often use clinical trials and other investigative methods to reach their findings.
Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals.
Physicians diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses. They examine patients; take medical histories; prescribe medications; and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests. They counsel patients on diet, hygiene, and preventive healthcare. Surgeons operate on patients to treat injuries, such as broken bones; diseases, such as cancerous tumors; and deformities, such as cleft palates.
Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their family members.