Pakistan to Improve Pharmaceutical Education

I often reserve a favourite quote, which I use whenever I am confronted with matters that pertain to the modern education of pharmaceutical sciences in general: “Time, tide, and technology wait for none.”

Pakistan to Improve Pharmaceutical Education

To prepare pharmacists capable of providing high-quality health care to meet the diverse needs of society and to achieve excellence in pharmaceutical education, training, and research through well-defined planning and practice, it is better to think creatively, positively, and well about pharmacy professionals by responsible persons who can control and monitor pharmacy education in Pakistan.

I often reserve a favourite quote, which I use whenever I am confronted with matters that pertain to the modern education of pharmaceutical sciences in general: “Time, tide, and technology wait for none.”

Indeed, there is a nonstop drive that new technology exerts on modern education in general across the world. And with that comes the added pressure on higher education institutions to keep up with what I term the leading edge of technology, both in terms of teaching and research.

One can already see this phenomenon in the field of software, where things that are current and happening today become outdated in no time and thereby put pressure on both academia and the industry to keep pace. Similar trends are seen in other fields, especially in pharmaceutical education.

And this mantra of keeping up with the march of technology really applies to pharmacy, as it is a multidisciplinary profession encompassing specialty areas like pharmaceutics, pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmaceutical analysis, pharmacognosy, pharmacology, pharmacy practice, pharmacy law, microbiology, biotechnology, mathematics, and statistics. And by all accounts, the advances in new knowledge and technology in all of these realms have been colossal, to say the least.

Modern pharmacy educational institutions have to make sure that they inculcate the latest advances in all these areas in their undergraduates in order to make them viable for employment upon completion of their degrees. Undergraduates in pharmacy need to be subjected to rigorous coursework in all these areas so as to equip them for fruitful careers after graduation.

Those pharm. D. graduates who do make it to manufacturing and research jobs in the pharmaceutical industry receive inadequate pay, with only a few exceptions here and there. This has led to the fading relevance of the Ph.D. degree in Pakistan, especially when it comes to employment.

The current syllabus across the country (with some minor exceptions) does not cater to the latest advances in the field and is rapidly getting outdated, making it mandatory for pharmacy undergraduates pursuing a career. This really challenges the notion that the pursuit of higher education should be for the sake of higher education and not something that is thrust upon students due to the march of technology.

Since ancient times, pharmacy has been a profession that has had a considerable sphere of influence in the workings of human society. Therefore, in order to maintain that influence and relevance, pharmacy education needs to keep up with changing times and technology.

The pharmacy curriculum for undergraduate and research students should be as per international requirements and standards in order to ensure that our graduates possess the necessary knowledge, skills, and competencies for success in evolving pharmacy practice disciplines.

a curriculum that is constantly updated to meet the latest international standards of medicine.

Academicians of pharmacy in university study should be careful in developing the syllabus and curriculum for the students. Pharmacy students at the undergraduate level should be equipped with the calibre of both industrial and health care system pharmacy practices by ensuring:

  • Curriculum redrafting, authentication, benchmarking, and standardisation as per international standards
  • Entrepreneurship and business culture inculcation for the betterment of the pharmacists
  • Establishment of Model Pharmacies
  • Scholarships for Pharmacy Practice and Community Pharmacy Trainings and Certifications
  • Continual Professional Development and Growth Programmes and Certifications for Updating Professional Growth
This article is jointly authored by Muhammad Ahsan Ali (PharmD) and Dr. Barkat Ali Khan (PhD).