India\'s quest for next generation of pharma professionals

15-Oct-2013

Tremendous growth in demand for pharmaceuticals in India has led the government to take action to boost the size of the human resource pool needed to match it

The Indian pharmaceutical sector, driven by increased knowledge skills, improved quality and increased demand (domestic and international), has witnessed tremendous growth over the past few years. India is now among the top six producers of pharmaceuticals in the world and ranks fourth in terms of total pharma market share in the Asia Pacific, according to India Brand Equity Foundation\'s (IBEF) Pharmaceuticals Report.The country requires a large pool of skilled manpower to meet the growing demands of the growing Indian pharmaceutical industry.

The origins of pharmacy education in India date back to 1899 in Madras where the first pharmacy institution was set up. In 1932, Prof M L Schroff, father of pharmacy education in India, started the undergraduate programme in pharmacy at Banaras Hindu University, which soon witnessed a rise in pharmacy schools around the country.

Pharmacy education has developed at a much faster rate in India since the late 1980s, spurred by rapid growth, privatisation and economic expansion in the sector. At present there are more than 1,500 institutions offering various pharmacy programmes at undergraduate, post graduate, diploma and Pharm D level, with a combined annual intake of more than 100,000 students.

The availability of vast pool of technically skilled manpower and well-established state of art research units has made Indian pharma a global destination for R&D activities

\'The availability of vast pool of technically skilled manpower and well-established state of art research units has made Indian pharma a global destination for R&D activities. With successful implementation of post graduate programmes in hospital settings and research institutions, the ecosystem is encouraging the private sector to engage in R&D and develop innovative products,\' said Rajeev Kher, Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.

The domestic pharma market is estimated to reach US$49bn by 2020. The projected human resource requirement to match this growth is estimated to be about 21.5 million by 2020.

The Government of India has taken a series of measures to meet the projected demand of pharma professionals in the future:

  • The Department of Pharmaceuticals has projected an investment Rs 3,000 crore ($478.4m) to set up 10 more National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) over the next few years to strengthen the human resource base.
  • Clinical Research Education and Management Academy (CREMA) is another institute, which exclusively provides courses specific to clinical research and healthcare management. It is amongst the first institutions dedicated to promoting high quality clinical research & healthcare management education.
  • Scholarship programmes are awarded to the meritorious students, which help inculcate a competitive spirit amongst students pursuing higher education. Some noteworthy examples include:
    • a. Central Sector Scheme of Scholarship for College and University Students
    • b. Post Graduate Scholarship for All India Council for Technical Education
    • c. AICTE, UGC and NIPER provide merit based stipend and fellowship grants to students pursuing higher education in pharmacy
  • The introduction of Pharm D programme along with the revised framework of Indian pharmacy education is expected to ensure quality human resources meeting global standards.

\'Healthcare is changing more rapidly than almost any other field. Demand drivers like increasing expenditure on health in the domestic market and strong growth in generic sales in regulated markets are expected to sustain demand of pharma professionals in the future,\' said Sudhanshu Pandey, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.

increasing expenditure on health in the domestic market and strong growth in generic sales in regulated markets are expected to sustain demand of pharma professionals in the future

\'Young pharmacy professionals in India can expect an increase in opportunities and jobs, which place an increased premium on skills in the near future as the industry experiences the next level of growth. The real task at hand is to sustain the predicted growth and incubate a strong educational structure that can produce world class pharmacy professionals,\' said Aparna Dutt Sharma, CEO, India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF).

The skill base has served well to meet the niche demands for R&D skills and manufacturing infrastructure in the country so far. With the roadmap for future growth in place, the country should be equipped to provide the next generation of pharma professionals. Sign up for your free email newsletter