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An appeal to all agencies / organizations / groups that have an aim / objective / vision to :
Develop and establish Good Pharmacy Practice or
Further the cause of Pharmacy or
Uphold the dignity of the profession or
The same expressed in their own way
The Indian 'National Pharmacy Week' is round the corner.
Lets not waste money and man-hours on meaningless events, programs and speeches that glorify pharmacy with non existing field scenario.
Lets us make use of the occasion to correct the wrongs done in the past through appeals, workshops / group discussions with stake holders
Lets understand that the Indian Pharmacy diploma and degree holders have not been accorded Pharmacist 'Professional' by any Act or Rules and majority of the class room talks have no relevance in the field, status even after 70 years,
"There cant be a profession without professional freedom"
Mind you, a road side cobbler is a professional and he enjoys his professional freedom!
Professional freedom is a privilege accorded to the professional to use his professional discretion while delivering professional service.
A profession without professional freedom is not a 'Profession" at all.
- it is as good as basic degrees like BA, BSc
Hence, let us use the occasion to address all round corrections needed to make Pharmacist a real professional
Let our theme be:

About the Author

Ph. Bhagavan P S RPh's picture

I am Bhagavan ,Rtd. Dy Dir.(Pharmacy),Govt of Karnataka, India and currently serving as Registrar, KSPC, Bengaluru, India . I love to write on Hospital pharmacy series related topics out of my experience and observations. Check out my Pharmacist in the Hospital.


Prof. J. Vijaya Ratna's picture


You are again exhorting us all to do something other than holding meetings in the coming NPW. For my own sake and may be for others who are following this web site, I request you to clarify on one or two issues. What exactly is the ideal way of conducting a programme during NPW? Please tick the ones which are ideal among the following activities.

  • Holding a poster exhibition in a central place in the city and explaining to the public the role of pharmacists in healthcare as well as in industry
  • Holding a meeting with doctors, pharmacy teachers and discussing how we can enhance the role of the pharmacist
  • Taking a rally and distributing pamphlets on pharmacists role, treatment of diseases, good diet practices and so on.
  • Organising a blood donation camp
  • Organising a medical camp
  • Organising competitions for students
  • Organising industry visits to students
  • Organising hospital visits to students
  • Sir Please also explain better what you mean by freedom. Suppose a pharmacist is allowed to open his own pharma clinic- for patient counseling or drug information giving or such activities. Will he /she get patients? Will he/she be able to earn a livelyhood? What exactly is the Govt. supposed to do about this? Thank you for starting a good topic. Vijaya Ratna
Ph. Bhagavan P S RPh's picture

Thank you madam and apologies for taking so long to respond.

Here are my suggestions for each of the activities proposed:

  • Holding a poster exhibition in a central place in the city and explaining to the public the role of pharmacists in healthcare as well as in industry

Yes can be done. But my experience is difficult to introduce ourselves, our availability and accessibility

  • Holding a meeting with doctors, pharmacy teachers and discussing how we can enhance the role of the pharmacist

Ideal to hold a workshop with clinicians ( Indian and those who have returned from abroad), legal practitioners, journalists, consumer forum leaders, Chemists and Pharma teachers and final year students

  • Taking a rally and distributing pamphlets on pharmacists role, treatment of diseases, good diet practices and so on.

Take out a rally to submit memorandum demanding rectification of anomalies in D&C Acts, Pharmacy Act, Implementation of Section 42 of Pharmacy Act, protesting against lending of certificates and running med shops in the total absence of pharmacists

  • Organising a blood donation camp
  • Organising a medical camp

Blood donation camp, Medical camps, Health check up camps are useless so far as pharmacy promotion is concerned.

  • Organizing competitions for students

It is good but pure literature based write ups and talks and discussions should be discouraged.

  • Organizing industry visits to students
  • Organizing hospital visits to students

Both are good provided there is an interaction with the experts after the study visit.

Bhagavan P.S. B Pharm

Rtd. Dy Dir.(Pharmacy),Govt of Karnataka, India
Ph. Bhagavan P S RPh's picture

Thank you M'm for a very critical query.

I think you had a mix feeling of both consideration and anger!

pardon me M'm if I have hurt you or any reader.

Space is too small for a very elaborate reply.

However, I will come back with briefest possible clarification and suggestions which I have done earlier in mail chain.

My primary concern is Pharma academe products. Because, though lakh and lakh of pharmacists have put their foot prints in the hospital and community service,in the last 7 decades not a trace is visible to know they were existing!

On the other hand, I still remember friendly and consoling pep talks of the Compounder in Mc Gann Hospital, Shimoga in my early school days. We used to play hospital game with one becomong a doctor, another compounder and another Nurse.

What's the situation now?

Who is responsible? whom to blame?

product or the manufacturer?

The products should be competitively professional like medical, Dental, management guys in look, dress, approach, communication, knowledge and skill to deliver the solution required from logistics to clinical support. In the health system

The teacher is a first professional pharmacist the student encounters in the campus and hence every teacher should be a role model by themselves competitively.

In my presentation in a college of pharmacy, I listed about 10 points on how a professional pharmacist should look like and I asked every one in the audience to look at themselves after reading each line. The response was a blushed smile in chorus!

One could see the miraculous difference If all the teachers puts on good suite from Mon to Friday and a casual on Saturday and insist the students not to enter campus without a neatly worn tie and well polished shoes.


Reduce the literature study and increase the field study.

Allow and train them to talk to the people, professionals and co-professionals professionally. Put them on group discussion and fieled data (Not literature) based seminars.

Late Dr Hemnani of Vellore hospital told me once that he had his D.Pharm students make a presentation in a seminar!.

I had to give a bit of my mind seriously when PharmD graduates - Dr Pharmacy, when they entered my room in the council in shabby T shirt, Jeans, Slippers, uncombed hair, untrimmed beard, nails and with dirty ink scribbled palms and finger tips.

I took almost one hour class before giving them the certificate.

They thanked me Sir, we remember you through out our life.

Not even a lay man respects, recognizes and responds to them let alone the doctors and hospital staff.

I still remember while I was a Graduate Pharmacist in Govt Wenlock Hospital, Mangalore 1974 to 1978 the nursing superintendent had offered a chair to sit to my group D servant mistaking him to be a pharmacist. Latter, he called me and said, Sir it is difficult to say who is who in your department!

My successor, wrote jokingly to me Mr Bhagavan it is difficult to work in place of you as I cant even match with peons here.

Hence, once, we cultivate and impart good professional habit demonstratively in the students, they continue to be so and it is a great sight to look at the pharmacist. (see my blog: Produce pharmacists with initial shine and glow http://www.ijopp.org/article/40')

Well M'm there are many more issues that needs to be addressed and trimmed like:



Health system,

Community pharmacy,


Marketing ....

- as these have grown in their style earning their livelihood in the cause (sorry, name) of Pharmacist.

Anyway thank you again M'm for your response and appreciation.

Regards, Bhagavan PS

Bhagavan P.S. B Pharm

Rtd. Dy Dir.(Pharmacy),Govt of Karnataka, India
Prof. J. Vijaya Ratna's picture


I am not angry at all. I can see that you are focusing your torch into a dark corner so that darkness is dispelled. I am only trying to get clarity on what activities we have to exactly do. Please give your opinion on whether the activities I suggested are likely to help in building the image of the pharmacist or not.


Whenever I take students outside, first warning I give them is to wear a white coat. I do not allow students to present seminars if they do not wear a formal attire. I warn them that their attire and behaviour reflects on their college.

Please don't mind me if I am abrupt Sir, because I try to squeeze this into so many other activities (as I am sure you are also doing).

Thank you

Vijaya Ratna

Prof. J. Vijaya Ratna's picture


I understand that by saying "pharmacists are failing because they do not have freedom"; you mean that pharmacists in most colleges are not being trained properly and they lack competence and professional capabilities. Though there is a lot of truth in what you say it is difficult for people to accept it. But people are taking steps towards making students more competent.

Some good things that I am noticing in some places:

Students are encouraged to speak, to participate in public events, in rallies, in seminars

Students are encouraged to visit industries and hospitals

Some bad things that I am noticing in many places:

Students (Even Pharm D students) are not given exposure to hospital

Students do not carry out practicals, but they write records

Students do not study standard textbooks, they study what are called manuals

As a result of many wrong practices, even teachers do not know proper procedures of practicals.

I will better stop here before this negative list becomes too long.

But I think eventually things will work out for a better future.

Vijaya Ratna

Ph. Bhagavan P S RPh's picture

You are right madam. Competence cannot be imparted or learnt in theory class. Students will acquire competence only when they are driven into live situation.

We have live examples of doctors in medical colleges.

The competence of a doctor in non-clinical department in clinical practice cannot match a doctor in clinical department and vice-a-versa.

there is no need to set practical exercises artificially when the live systems are available to study and address.

What is needed is guidance on how to approach, listen, analyze and come out with tangible solution.

Theory encourages the student to go in isolation to study alone whereas filed exercise encourages him to involve in group discussion.


A novel I read cannot be discussed, as others may not have read it.

But a movie, sports, politics, social problems can be discussed as all have viewed or experienced it and each can have views in different angles.

Thank you madam

Bhagavan P.S. B Pharm

Rtd. Dy Dir.(Pharmacy),Govt of Karnataka, India
Prof. J. Vijaya Ratna's picture


Diploma students enter B.Pharmacy in the second year of B.Pharm. I have seen many such students. My experience is that they are strong in pharmacy subjects but lag behind in communication.They lag behind wherever calculations or physics is involved. I used to take III B.Pharm students to our dispensary for patient counseling activity. I always found that Diploma students were taking the lead and helping their class mates, this is because they have already had a few months of training in hospital work. They know more about medicines than B.Pharm regular students.

I also noticed that Diploma students have a more intense desire or drive for achieving heights in career. I can tell you one more finding. I took the same students who counseled in our university dispensary to do counseling in our government hospital. After the day was over, my students told me, Madam, counseling in this general hospital is much more satisfying, because patients are asking us with a lot of anxiety about medicines and are listening intently, which is not the situation in university dispensary.

I agree with you that better exposure to real life situations will make the students better. In fact teachers also need that type of training. Those who are teaching industry oriented subjects need training in industries and those who are teaching hospital oriented subjects need training in hospitals.

Vijaya Ratna

Ph. Bhagavan P S RPh's picture

Thank you madam,

I appreciate your honest observation and admission.

Your observation is absolutely correct

Communication is the back bone for pharmacy deliverables

Hurdles in professional practice is common in all professions

But, regular exposure and skill training puts them on comfort track and zone both wrt deliverables and communication

Further, there are areas where professional freedom could be exercised like: Drugs logistics (Selection, procurement, stock management, stock auditing, distribution, dispensing), Prescription feedback Etc

The study of data like disease statistics, mortality , morbidity, epidemic and endemic health problems etc will help in delivering better professional service.

Hence I strongly recommend:

1. 2nd year D Pharm should be made 80% field practice with only 20% theory

2. Pharmacy practice subjects of under graduate course should also have more field exercise and less theory

3. The seminar sessions should be on live systems, cases and Clinicians and hospital /clinical pharmacists should be invited to seminar sessions on therapeutics, pharmacy practice and clinical practice and logistics

4 Seminar on drugs logistics is not happening or the need is being ignored. This should be given due importance as it is a basic role of the pharmacist in the health system

5. I was told by many that PharmD students are not posted to OPD, Stores and Dispensary. As your students have expressed it is with the patients in OPD student will get more freedom to interaract than in wards.

What is actually needed is an open mind to change with the field system and field need on the lines of engineering courses.

Thank you madam

Bhagavan P.S. B Pharm

Rtd. Dy Dir.(Pharmacy),Govt of Karnataka, India

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