Career Options in Pharmaceutical Industry

Medicines form a major part of a person’s life. From a simple cold to something as big as heart ailment, drugs are tools for clinical doctors to help the world be healthy and disease free. It is no wonder that technology and all available resources are used for research and development of new drugs and treatments, and distribute them to each and every human alive. In fact, India is the world’s third largest producer of pharmaceutical drugs, with a total market size of $21.04 USD for the financial year 2009. Such a large market naturally requires scientific and technical resources, which is provided by pharmacy colleges all over the country. These colleges offer courses in pharmaceutical sciences and other related domains to provide the manpower for the Indian pharmaceutical industry, which has the growth potential of 10 to 12% every year, regardless of the global economic recession. If you have a penchant for Science subjects, a variety of career options in pharmaceutical industry awaits you

Courses in Pharmacy

There are a range of courses available in pharmacy. Students have a variety of degree and diploma to choose from. In the undergraduate level, apart from the usual 4 year Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy and 2 year Diploma in Pharmacy, one can also pursue a 4 year Bachelors of Technology or B.Tech in a technical area of pharmacy. Masters and doctoral level studies can also be pursued to have a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. Here are popular courses in pharmacy that you can consider studying:

Pharmacoinformatics Pharmaceutics Regulatory Toxicology
Medical chemistry Process Chemistry Traditional Medicine
Pharmaceutical analysis Pharmacy Practice Pharmaceutical Management
Pharmacology & Toxicology Clinical Research Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
Pharmacognosy Phytopharmacy Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Phytomedicine Biopharmaceutics Pharmaceutical Formulations
Industrial & Physical Pharmacy Forensic Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Microbiology

Eligibility Criteria for Pharmacy Courses

Students aspiring to pursue a pharmacy course can begin just after high school. A number of post graduate courses are also available that students who did not graduate with a pharmacy degree can pursue. Here are the eligibility criteria for each course level:

Undergraduate level:

  • Must be between the ages 17 to 25 years
  • Must have 50 to 60% marks (depending on college) in the 12th standard board examination with subjects of English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology

Post graduate level:

  • Must have a graduation with 50 to 60% marks (depending on college)
  • Bachelors in pharmacy or M.B.B.S. or a Master’s degree in a related field like life sciences, chemistry, bioinformatics, biochemistry, biotechnology, molecular biology and microbiology.

Doctoral level:

  • Must have a post graduation in a pharmaceutical subject with 60% aggregate marks
  • Must have a valid GPAT / GATE / NET-JRF score

Top Pharmacy Colleges in India

Pharmacy colleges in India are regulated by the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) and the AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education). With around 460 colleges all over the country, it is important for an aspirant to select a good college to study in.  The following top 10 list is chosen according to a survey conducted by the Career 360 magazine:

Rank Name of college Location Course Offered Entrance Exam
1 National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) Mohali Post Graduate: MBA (Pharm.), M.S. (Pharm.), M. Pharm., M.Tech. (Pharm.)

Doctoral: Ph.D.

Post Graduate: NIPER Joint Entrance Examination and GPAT / GATE / NET

Doctoral: NIPER Joint Admission Test

2 University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Panjab University) Chandigarh Undergraduate: B. Pharm

Post Graduate: M.Pharm

Doctoral: Ph.D.

Undergraduate: PU CET Test

Post Graduate: GPAT

Doctoral: Merit based

3 Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences Manipal Undergraduate: B. Pharm, PharmD

Post Graduate: M.Sc. in Pharmacology, M.Pharm, PharmD Post Baccalaureate, M.Sc. in Advanced Pharmaceutical Sciences

Doctoral: Ph.D.

Undergraduate: Manipal Entrance Test

Post Graduate: Manipal Entrance Test

Doctoral: Merit based

4 Bombay College of Pharmacy Kalina, Mumbai Undergraduate: B.Pharm

Post Graduate: M.Pharm

Doctoral: Ph.D. (Tech.)

Undergraduate: Maharashtra UG CET

Post Graduate: Maharashtra PG CET

Doctoral: Merit based

5 JSS College of Pharmacy Ooty Undergraduate: B. Pharm, PharmD

Post Graduate: M.Pharm

Doctoral: Ph.D.

Undergraduate: Merit based

Post Graduate: Entrance test conducted by university

6 University College of Pharmaceutical Sci (Kakatiya University) Warangal Undergraduate: B. Pharm

Post Graduate: M.Pharm

Doctoral: Ph.D.

Post Graduate: GATE / PGECET

Doctoral: UGC-CSIR / NET / GATE / SLET

6 L.M. College of Pharmacy Ahmedabad Undergraduate: D.Pharm., B. Pharm.

Post Graduate: M.Pharm

Doctoral: Ph.D.

Undergraduate: GUJCET Pharmacy (Gujarat University Common Entrance Test for Pharmacy)

Post Graduate: GATE / GPAT

6 Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Dr. Harisingh Gour University) Sagar, Madhya Pradesh Undergraduate: B.Sc. Pharmaceutical Chemistry, B.Pharm., Diploma in Pharmacy

Post Graduate: M.Pharm.

Doctoral: M.Phil, Ph.D.

Undergraduate: Entrance test conducted by university

Post Graduate: Entrance test conducted by university

Doctoral: GATE / NET / 2 part University Entrance Test

9 Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) Mumbai (erstwile UDCT) Undergraduate: B. Tech in Pharmaceutical Technology

Post Graduate: M.Pharm, M.Tech in Pharmaceutical and Fine Chemicals Technology, M.Tech in Pharmaceutical Technology

Doctoral: Ph.D. (Pharmaceutical Science, Pharmaceuticals and Fine Chemicals Technology)

Undergraduate: AIEEE / MHT CET

Post Graduate: MHT-CET

10 Pharmacy Group BITS Pilani Undergraduate: B. Pharm

Post Graduate: M.Pharm (specializations in Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry)

Doctoral: Ph.D.

Undergraduate: BITSAT

Post Graduate: Online test conducted by BITS

Doctoral: Ph.D. Qualifying Examination

Pharmacy Entrance Exams

Most colleges conduct admission tests to select candidates. In the undergraduate level there are only a few colleges that require an entrance test, many take students according to their high school academic performance. But, in the post graduate level, a technical entrance test is conducted that requires students to have knowledge of pharmacy at the Bachelors level. At the doctorate level, students need to take the National Eligibility Test (NET) that is conducted by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Other entrance tests are can also be taken. Here are the popular pharmacy entrance exams in India that one can consider taking:

Exam Level Name of Exam Conducting Body Month of Issue of Forms Exam Month
Undergraduate level Manipal Entrance Test for B.Pharm and PharmD Manipal University February April – May
Admissions (Entrance Test) Dr. Harisingh Gour University April June
February May – June
Post Graduate Level NIPER Joint Entrance Examination NIPER June July
GPAT (General Pharmacy Aptitude Test) All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) January May
Manipal Entrance Test for M.Pharm, M.Sc. and PharmD Manipal University May May – June
Doctoral Level NIPER Ph.D. Joint Admission Test NIPER May June

How to Prepare for Pharmacy Entrance Exams

Pharmacy entrance tests at the undergraduate level are similar to medical entrance tests. The syllabus will cover science subjects of Chemistry, Physics and Biology. Books for preparing for B.Pharm entrance tests in India are:

  • B. Pharm (Bachelor Of Pharmacy) Entrance Exam Guide by Gupta
  • Fast Track Preparation For AIEEE All India Engineering/Pharmacy Entrance Exam by Bhasin Sl, Ghosh D

In the post graduate level, students need to study the technical aspects of pharmacy thoroughly. Go back to your undergraduate books. Focused self-study is the best way to succeed. Coaching institutes like Resonance and IMS provide tuitions for the GPAT exam.

Career prospects in Pharmacy

The pharmaceutical industry in India is highly organized andhas more than 20,000 units all over the country. Every year pharmaceutical companies come out with new drugs and are in the process of conducting clinical trials for others. In fact the country exports the highest volume of generic medicines all over the world (according to a report published in January 2011). It is therefore evident that the scope for a pharmacy student is wide. With big companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Astra Zeneca, Sun Pharmaceuticals, Ranbaxy, Zydus, Nicholas Piramal, Bayer Healthcare, Vivo Biotech, Unilever, Cognizant, Proctor and Gamble, GSK and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, doing good business, one can expect to get numerous opportunities for growth in this field. A diploma holder in pharmaceuticals can work in the medicine retail sector. A Bachelors holder can work in the marketing and quality assurance divisions of pharmaceutical firms. If a student has completed his Master’s degree in a pharmacy course, he has a range of career options from working in clinical research in a drug development company to getting employed in a drugs regulation company. Students with a doctorate in pharmacy can work in senior research positions and also become professors. Salaries are varied according to the level of education and expertise. With such a booming market, a recession proof industry like pharmaceutics can only be profitable.