Thursday, 17 September 2015

Message to Indian Pharmacists: Opportunities in the Global Market

I'm very much thankful to His excellency Lt. Colonel PRASAD R TIRUNAGARU M. Pharm., MSC, R.PH for sharing this valuable information with us.

Lt. Colonel Prasad received his B.Pharm and M.Pharm degrees from Andhra University and Medical Service Core training as a combat pharmacist at the Academy of Health Sciences of US Army Medical department centre, Texas, USA. He was the first South Indian to be commissioned as an officer in the US Army. He was the first foreigner to pass the prestigious California State Board Exams in the world.

He has thirty five years of experience as a registered pharmacist in USA, as Assistant Chief and Chief of Pharmacy in various army medical centres. Specialties include clinical research in developing human genetic insulin, nutritional studies, in-patient and outpatient pharmacies, oncology, chemotherapy and nuclear pharmacies. Developed hospital formulary, clinical training modules for healthcare professionals.

Message to Indian Pharmacists: 

US Job Market: There is always great demand for registered pharmacists in USA, the pharmacists are highly respected, most trusted and well paid professionals. The average salary is $120,000 to $200,000 per year. 

Retail and Community Pharmacist: It provides majority of the pharmacist jobs in USA. The major function of the pharmacists is filling and dispensing medications by reviewing and interpreting physician orders, detecting therapeutic incompatibilities. They counsel the patients regarding drug usage, side effects and precautions, they also administer vaccines and drug information. They help physicians and healthcare professionals regarding proper usage, selection of medications and therapeutic guidelines. 

Hospital Pharmacist: Pharmacists play a very important role as a healthcare team member in the hospital providing high quality comprehensive pharmaceutical care. Specialties include outpatient pharmacy, inpatient pharmacy, oncology/IV Admixture. They dispense all required medication to the wards for patient administration. They provide clinical drug data, therapeutic information to all medical team members, monitor drug reactions and patient profiles. They help patients with drug counselling to optimize therapy. 

Clinical Pharmacist: Clinical pharmacists play a vital role in the applied therapeutics; they require 1-2 years of specialized programmes and training in various specialties, i.e., ambulatory care, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, geriatrics. They are well paid. They are part of every medical and therapeutic team in the hospital. Recently, State Provider Statues Bill became law in many US states. The Legislation provides that “A pharmacist may perform any patient care service delegated to the pharmacist by a physician”.

Industrial Pharmacist:This is a very promising field, specialties include drug discovery, drug development, manufacturing, clinical trials and marketing. Now, there is an exciting new world bioinformatics, genome therapy, stem cell research and promising nano-technology. 

Regulatory Authorities: US Food and Drug Administration and State Boards of Pharmacies have special and important jobs. FDA has several mission-critical medical and science positions at biological evaluations, drug evaluation and research, food safety, applied nutrition, toxicological research and drug inspectors, drug regulatory authorities at various state boards.

Immigration to USA: The important step is getting an immigrant visa to enter into USA. The choices are go for higher education or PhD in various universities. The other one is getting a dependent visa.

State Board Exams: All foreign graduates must obtain certification by the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Committee (FPGEC) before they can get an intern pharmacist licence. They must pass Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Exam. In order to practice as a registered pharmacist, you have to pass the North American Pharmacists Licensure Examination (NAPLEX). Rules vary from state to state, please check individual state websites.

Tips for Passing Board Exams

Pharmacy Law: It is a very important part of the State Board Exam. Laws are very strict and precise; each state has its own state board of pharmacy laws. 

Pharmacy Mathematics: Our students can easily get 100% , mostly drug dosing conversions, drug percentage calculations and drug formulations etc. 

Drug Identifications: They must be able to identify important medications by color, shape, markings on tablets. PDR has all the information. 

Trade and Generic Names: They need to learn generic and trade names for the top 200 drugs and more. 

Drug Interactions: It is very important to know pharmacological actions of various important drugs, their medicinal chemistry, actions on target organs, drug metabolism, excretion and side effects. 

Drug and Food Interactions: They have to know food and drug interactions of all critical drugs. 

Clinical Pharmacy: It is a very critical part of patient case studies, patient profiles and interpretation of clinical laboratory tests and adverse drug reactions.

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