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Pharmacy is an important part of the paramedical services, and involves the study of the origin and chemistry of drugs, their preparation and their action and uses in living systems. Dispensing and counselling skills, as well as pharmacy law and ethics, form an important part of the profession.

In today’s world, the complexity and potential side effects of the thousands of drugs available in the market have compelled both health professionals and the general public to rely on the specialised knowledge of pharmacists. This has encouraged a massive growth in the pharmaceutical industry.

Fields of Work
Hospitals: In government and private hospitals as well as dispensaries and community health centres, pharmacists dispense medicines, medical supplies and health accessories. They study the use, composition and effect of the drugs, which are, in turn, tested for strength and purity. Pharmacists also advise the medical staff on the selection and side effects of various drugs.

Pharmacists work in drug manufacturing companies and pharmaceutical companies, where they are involved in the manufacture of various medicines and drugs. They make sterile solutions and compound the actual mixing of ingredients to form powders, tablets, capsules, ointments and solutions. This involves working in medical analytical laboratories which form an essential part of the industrial manufacturing units.

Teaching and Research
Pharmacists are essentially involved in conducting scientific research in medical laboratories. They have to make use of present knowledge about the properties of various drugs and medical compounds, and on it they have to build their own formulae for effective medicines, which are manufactured thereafter. Pharmacists with postgraduate degrees, or doctorates, can also opt for teaching in various colleges and other institutions.

Job Prospects
Job prospects for pharmacists exist mainly in the areas of manufacturing distribution, retailing and dispensing of drugs.

Candidates who have completed a diploma in pharmacy can work in hospital pharmacies and medical stores as retail chemists, sales representatives, wholesale dealers and manufacturing chemists for cosmetics. They can also be involved in repackaging drugs and chemicals.

Candidates with B.Pharm. degree can also work as manufacturing chemist, analytical chemists, drug inspectors and analysts. Pharmacists can also find employment as Custom Appraisers and work in the Bureau of Drug Price Control as Narcotic Inspectors, and as Probation Officers in banks.

A Masters’ degree in pharmacy qualifies the candidates to work with pharmaceutical companies as manufacturing executive, analytical executive and product development executive. Moreover, he/she can be involved in teaching and research activities.