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APhA CEO Blog

Traveling abroad to help improve pharmacist training in India

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January 13, 2016

Last month, I had the opportunity to connect with pharmacists and student pharmacists in India. I visited Mysore to speak and participate at the Indian Pharmaceutical Conference, a gathering of about 7,000 pharmacists and students at Jagadguru Sri Shivarathreeswara (JSS) University.

I traveled at their invitation to be a sponsored keynote speaker to present the current state of pharmacy practice in the United States and how pharmacy associations are supporting the needs of pharmacists and the health care system. They were interested in hearing about our progression in pharmacy education and practice and the impact pharmacists are making.

This annual conference is convened by the equivalent Indian organizations to our American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, APhA, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

In short, Indian pharmacy is on the same journey as we are, but is only now spooling up better standards and PharmD training. Most of the 1,500 pharmacy schools in India train 2-year technician-equivalent pharmacists who are currently permitted to open pharmacies, and many do.

Meanwhile, a growing number of schools in India are moving to PharmD and higher standards, while others are seeking regulations that would better control dispensing of important medications in a country where sanitation is still a challenge for many.

India is a place of contrasts and contradictions. It was a long trip and made me grateful for our blessings, and more committed than ever to helping pharmacists get plugged into health care.