Career Outlook for the Pharmacist
In Bangladesh, Pharmacy as a profession has become prominent because of having endless opportunities. Pharmacy as a subject is a multidisciplinary one and this is one of the main reasons for its versatility. A graduate of pharmacy is equipped with knowledge in various aspects of the life sciences and can therefore play a strong role in a multitude of sectors. Pharmacists are considered as the topmost experts in medicines. A career in Pharmacy offers security, variety, opportunity, satisfaction and many more excellent rewards.
In Bangladesh, the major scope for pharmacists is in the pharmaceutical industries. This industry is a booming sector in our country. Local companies in Bangladesh are to fulfill 97% of the local demand for medicines. As for the International market, Bangladesh plays an important role worldwide by exporting pharmaceuticals to more than 70 developed and developing nations. All this has been possible due to the professional knowledge, expertise and innovativeness of the pharmacists. University of Dhaka has played a pivotal role in the sector by providing graduate qualified pharmacists every year. The pharmacists of University of Dhaka go on to occupy important positions in the top pharmaceutical companies. They contribute to the nation by satisfying the country’s need for medicines and aiding in its overall growth. The salary in this sector is also pretty satisfactory. Industrial pharmacists often carry out their roles as part of a team. A holistic approach is needed to ensure the production of quality medicines. The areas where industrial pharmacists involve themselves include but are not limited to:
• Production of Pharmaceuticals
• Quality Control
• Quality Assurance
• Research and Development
• Marketing (Local & International)
• Business Development etc.
Another major area where pharmacists are involved is the Academia. Recently, due to the commencement of pharmacy departments in a large number of private universities, pharmacists who enter the academia can easily find suitable positions for exercising their knowledge. It is a highly rewarding occupation as the pharmacist finds himself/herself in charge of equipping the future generation with the knowledge and skills that are essential to be a successful pharmacist. The academic pharmacists are also deeply involved in research and particularly in the University of Dhaka, the largest public university in the country, the scope for pharmaceutical research is the largest as research facilities and opportunities here are the finest in Bangladesh. In addition to working in their own labs, the academia also work cooperatively with other professionals at the Centre for Advanced Research in Sciences (CARS), a recently established world class research facility at the University of Dhaka, and the Biomedical Research Centre, University of Dhaka. The faculty members of University of Dhaka have been carrying out research in various disciplines which include, among others: medicinal and natural product chemistry, molecular biology and biotechnology, pharmacogenomics, pharmaceutical formulation and bioavailability studies, pharmaceutical marketing, pharmacoeconomics, cosmetology and various aspects of food sciences and neutraceuticals.
Pharmacists can also hold positions in the drug regulatory bodies of the government. Here in Bangladesh, they can take up positions in the Directorate General of Drug Administration (a government organization, under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, which is the licensing and regulatory authority of drugs and medicines) and Drug Testing Laboratories. At present, about 27 graduate pharmacists are working there as Superintendent of Drug, Assistant Director and Deputy Director. But the pharmacist need not limit himself/herself to these areas only. Overseas, the doors are open to a wide range of arenas for the pharmacist. In developed countries, pharmacists are involved in every aspect of the healthcare delivery system, starting from the synthesis of novel drugs to their formulation as medicines to their distribution in the community and in hospitals and even to their final administration to patients.
In many countries, Community/Retail Pharmacists play an important role in the community by helping patients assess their condition and by offering advice on medicines and their proper usage. They assist the public by informing them about all facets of healthy living and making sure that patients obtain the optimum benefit from medicines. Their primary role is the dispensing of medicines to patients and they check prescriptions to make sure that they are devoid of errors. Face-to-face interaction with patients is involved and both the patient and community pharmacist derives satisfaction from this. They are therefore highly respected members of the community. Attractive salaries await those who enter the community pharmacy sector. However, there is currently a scarcity of community pharmacists worldwide. Pharmacists from Bangladesh have the potential to fill in those positions but for this they have to sit for a registration/licensure examination. Upon obtaining a license as a retail/community pharmacist, he/she can practise in the state and/or country for which the license holds valid. For example, several pharmacists who passed from the University of Dhaka now work as registered community pharmacists in United States of America.
Hospital Pharmacists are involved in buying, preparing, testing, supplying and monitoring of the effectiveness of medicines used in the hospital. They often act as integral members of healthcare teams (that include doctors, nurses etc.) for proper drugs and disease management. They provide information on medicaments (such as their side-effects) to make sure that the medication selected is the right one for the patient. Areas of specialization for the Hospital Pharmacist exist in the form of proving drug information on safe use of a drug, rational use of drugs, nuclear pharmacy, toxicology evaluation, intravenous therapy monitoring etc. In Bangladesh, many hospitals have already started hospital pharmacy practice where many pharmacy graduates are working with full potential.
The sectors and areas of specialization for pharmacists are increasing as the healthcare system develops with time. Increasingly, pharmacists are taking on bigger roles in the health sector and community. So, for anyone who is interested in attaining a challenging and rewarding job, pharmacy is the profession to be in.