Extensive workplace VS current status of Bangladeshi pharmacists

Extensive workplace VS current status of Bangladeshi pharmacists
Pharmacy is a multi-disciplinary subject. Here is a question, why it so called multi-disciplinary? Everybody will answer like, pharmacy is comprised of all aspects of drugs including its manufacturing, synthesis, quality control and quality assurance, marketing, handling, safety matters, patients care, invention, and public awareness for the rational utilization of drugs, etc. As I am writing for the general public and authorized person who should take the initiative for the development of pharmacy education and increase the scope of pharmacy in Bangladesh, I must clear the definition first. “Pharmacists are healthcare professionals with specialized education and training who perform various roles to ensure optimal health outcomes for their patients through the quality use of medicines.”

But in our country the definition of pharmacist and pharmacy is totally different. General public think that pharmacy is related to sell of medicines in a shop called dispensary. In case of educated people the definition is slightly different. Their perception about a pharmacist that pharmacist will employ in a pharmaceutical company. Although pharmacy education in Bangladesh started its journey in 1964 after the establishment of Department of Pharmacy in the University of Dhaka, we can not prove the real definition of pharmacy. We are walking with pharmacy for 56 years. Still, we are failing to reflect of the proverb “A doctor can save a patient but a pharmacist can save a nation”.

At present 13 public and 28 private universities provide Pharmacy education in Bangladesh. Bangladeshi universities offer 4 years B. Pharm. and 1 year M. Pharm. degrees. In 2010, the undergraduate course was further upgraded to 5-year with internship in hospitals and pharmaceutical industries in order to cope with the international Pharm. D. (Doctor of Pharmacy) program. Few universities are providing 5years B.Pharm professional course. An estimated data resulted that at present 1470 Pharmacy graduates are studying in private universities and 610 in public universities per year. At least 1500 plus graduates are coming out per year. The number will be increased with time. The enhanced number of out coming graduate Pharmacists demands the need for opening the new job arenas in Bangladesh, as many prospective fields of Pharmacy profession have not yet been introduced in our country.

Few universities are going to introduce 5 years Pharmacy course termed as Pharm. D. degree in order to cope with the international job requirement as well as to comply with international Pharmacy education level. The out coming pharmacists are focusing only pharmaceutical company(more than 95% opportunities for pharmaceutical industries) because it is the major option for them to build up his/her career. But now-a-days the job market in pharmaceutical company has been saturated.

In the beginning of my pharmacy education in universities I heard that from our teachers that, “The day is not far away, pharmacist will an important element of health sector”. But from my personal observation the day is far away only for our silence. We know about the overall scope of pharmacy including Pharmaceutical industries (Finished medicines, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients/APIs, and Excipients Manufacturing industries), Pharmaceutical Marketing ,Drug regulatory affairs, Hospital pharmacy (Government and private hospital), Academic positions (govt. and private universities) ,Pharmacy council of Bangladesh, Drug Administration (Directorate General of Drug Administration of Bangladesh),Drug testing laboratories(Chittagong ,Dhaka),huge opportunities in abroad (jobs, research, and teaching),Model  pharmacy.

It is an irony of fate that only we can access a little bit in Pharma industries, Pharma  marketing, teaching in university, research organization, higher education abroad, jobs in abroad. In fact, the out coming pharmacist only get the opportunity only  in the pharmaceutical company. In previous year. Our forward-thinking government has taken the initiative for opening the model pharmacy but the improvement is not noticeable. We hope to get more initiative like opening hospital pharmacy, emphasis on Community Pharmacy practice, creating job opportunity in district hospital through BCS cadre examination (cause B. Pharm Professional  is a professional course like MBBS).

Pharmacists all over the world are working in Hospital pharmacy, Clinical pharmacy, Community pharmacy, Retail and chain pharmacy, API and excipients’ based plant, Pharma sales promotion, New drug research in pharmaceutical company and other institutes, Ayurvedic, unani and herbal industries for better drug, Food industries , Chemical and cosmetic industries. Unfortunately, none of the above areas has not yet opened in our country. Introduction of some of the above areas may be   future prospects with new exciting job opportunity for graduate Pharmacists in near future.

Shakil Hossain
Shakil Hossain
Student, Department of Pharmacy
Pabna University of Science and Technology

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