Do you like to know more about common medicines and their uses? Do you run and get medicines for your neighbor whenever someone falls sick? Have you often spent time in any known local pharmacy just to browse through the medicines or to know their uses? Do you want to set up your own medicine shop in the future may be like anyone in your family or just to serve others in times of need? Then you may love to be a Pharmacist. Explore us to find out what Pharmacists do, how they do it and how to become a Pharmacist.
Pharmacists work at pharmacy stores, clinics, hospitals, dispensaries, Health Management Organizations (HMOs) etc. for dispensing medicines according to physicians’ prescriptions. They may also provide pharmacological information to patients and customers by answering questions related to healthcare and counseling patients regarding drug therapies. They are responsible for maintaining stock as well as storing and handling it properly.
Why become a Pharmacist?
As a Pharmacist, you will be working at pharmacy stores, clinics, hospitals, dispensaries, Health Management Organizations (HMOs) etc. for dispensing medicines according to physician’s prescriptions. Your job may include providing pharmacological information (information related to uses, effects, and modes of action of drugs) to patients and customers by answering questions related to healthcare and counseling patients regarding drug therapies. You will need to interpret physicians’ orders and thereby detect therapeutic incompatibilities or suggest similar drugs in store. You need to make sure that all the medicines are well-packed, compounded and properly labeled.
You will be ordering and purchasing medicines and various medical supplies such as bandages, vaporizers, etc. and will be responsible for maintaining stock as well as storing and handling it properly. You may need to pre-pack orders for bulk medicines and respond to telephone calls and queries. You need to assist customers by answering simple questions and locating items from storage locations. If your work is related to alternative medicine, you may have to prepare, mix or amalgamate proper ingredients in accurate quantities according to dosage instructions received from alternative medicine practitioners like homeopaths, Ayurvedic doctors, Unani practitioners etc or from manufacturing facilities.
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Popular specialization in Pharmacist career
- Hospital Pharmacists work in hospitals. They work in coordination with the nurses to make sure that the right medicine in the right dosage is dispensed for the patients. They read doctors’ and surgeons’ prescriptions and dispense the medicines as per the prescriptions. They also maintain the stock of medicines in the hospitals in which they work.
- Retail Pharmacists work in retail medicine stores. They read doctors’ prescriptions and dispense the medicines to the buyers as per the prescriptions. They also dispense over-the-counter drugs (drugs or medicines which do not need a doctor’s prescription. They maintain the stock of medicines in retail stores.
Also read: Pharmacist Salary in USA
What does a Pharmacist do?
As a Pharmacist, you will be engaged with one or more of the following roles and responsibilities: –
- Receiving written prescriptions or refill requests from customers/patients/ nurses, interpreting prescriptions and dispensing appropriate medications.
- Maintaining proper security and storage conditions for drugs.
- Assisting customers by answering simple questions and locating items from storage facilities.
- Answering telephones and responding to questions or requests.
- Operating blood pressure meters or monitors, identifying and using first aid equipment, giving injections, booking orders, identifying and arranging medicines.
- Ordering, labeling and counting stock of chemicals, medications, or supplies and maintaining as well as updating digital/virtual inventory databases.
- Receiving and storing incoming supplies as well as verifying quantities against invoices.
- Checking for outdated medications or supplies or expirations in current inventory and informing supervisors about stock needs and shortages.
- Cleaning and helping to maintain equipment or work areas and sterilizing glassware when required.
- Establishing or maintaining patient profiles with lists of medications taken by individual patients, when working in a hospital/nursing home.
How to become Pharmacist – Eligibility Criteria
After class 10, you can do the following:
- Finish Class 11-12 with Physics, Chemistry, and Biology/Mathematics along with any other subject as per the scheme of studies
After Class 11-12, you can go for:
- B.Pharm. in Pharmacy
- B.Pharm. in Pharmaceutical Sciences
- B.Pharm.Tech. in Pharmaceutical Technology
The cost of studying a pharmacist course in India varies depending on the college or university, the location, and the level of education. Generally, the cost of a Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm) degree ranges from INR 50,000 to INR 2,00,000 per year, while the cost of a Master of Pharmacy (M.Pharm) degree ranges from INR 60,000 to INR 3,00,000 per year. Private colleges and universities tend to have higher tuition fees than public institutions. Additionally, students should also factor in additional costs such as textbooks, laboratory fees, and living expenses while estimating the overall cost of studying a pharmacist course in India. However, there are scholarships and financial aid opportunities available for eligible students that can help offset some of the costs.
Also, read: Best Pharmacy College in India
You will get job opportunities as an Assistant Pharmacist in a hospital pharmacy store or retail pharmacy store.
You need to register yourself with a State Pharmacy Council as per the norms under the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) if you want to carry out your own business as a druggist (means open up a medicine shop) or practice as a pharmacist with a retail pharmacy or hospital pharmacy. You also need to renew your registration regularly after paying an annual fee.
Salary of Pharmacist
Salaries vary according to job profiles and the kind of facilities you get to work at.
In entry-level jobs: You may get about Rs. 12,000 – Rs. 28,000 or more per month.
Salaries increase with your work experience and as you get promoted.
After having 1-6 years of experience, you may expect about Rs. 15,000 – Rs. 30,000 per month or more.
After having 6-12 years of experience, you may get about Rs. 20,000 – Rs. 35,000 or more per month.
In senior-level jobs, with 12-20 years of work experience, you may expect to get about Rs. 25,000 – Rs. 1,60,000 or more per month.
Higher salaries are offered at Government Hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
Career Progression in Pharmacist Profession
You can certainly progress to become a Pharmacist, then a Senior Pharmacist and finally a Store Manager/Chief Pharmacist in any retail pharmacy or a hospital pharmacy.
What do industry trends say – future prospects
The future of this pathway looks decently bright. By 2025, medical spending in India is expected to grow by almost 9 to 12% making India one of the world’s top ten in this zone. India’s pharmaceutical industry is projected to expand at a rate of 22.4% compounded annually. This should take it to the mark of 55 billion US Dollars by 2020. By 2020, India should be the 6th largest market globally in terms of absolute size. Presently, the industry is expanding at a healthy rate of 9-10% year-on-year. The workforce requirement in India’s Healthcare sector is predicted to grow to 74 lahks by 2022 from 35.9 lakhs in 2013 to meet the market demand. The anticipated demand for practicing Pharmacists will be 377,000 by 2022 from 300,000 in 2017.
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