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Pharmacy profession has entered doctor’s clinics and hospitals as the “clinical pharmacist”. Clinical pharmacy is a branch of pharmacy where the pharmacist role is to provide patient care. Clinical pharmacist is an important part of the healthcare team. The pharmacist works in coordination with the doctors for the better patient healthcare. They have some very specific roles which aim at assuring patient safety. Some of the roles are as follows:
1. Patient medication history interview
2. Medication order review
3. Patient counseling regarding safe and rational use of drug
4. Adverse drug reaction monitoring
5. Drug interaction monitoring
6. Therapeutic drug monitoring
7. Participating in ward rounds
8. Providing drug information at the drug information and poison information centre
The roles of the clinical pharmacist mentioned above shall be described in detail in the forthcoming blogs. But for now let us discuss the academic qualification required for a clinical pharmacist. The basis qualification required in U.S is Doctor of pharmacy (Pharm D) degree. During this course the students are trained extensively in the biomedical, pharmaceutical, sociobehavioural, and clinical sciences. The clinical pharmacist after the completion of the bachelor’s course can undergo one or more years of post graduate training of general or specialty pharmacy residency program. The options available after Pharm D are many, a clinical pharmacist can choose to become a Board certified Pharmacotherapy specialist (BCNP), a Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist (BCOP), Board certified Nuclear Pharmacist (BCNP), Board Certified Nutrition Support Pharmacist (BCNSP), or a Board certified Psychiatric specialty (BCPP) through the Board Pharmaceutical specialties (BPS) which was organized in 1976 as an independent agency OF APhA (American Pharmacists Association). There are other sub specialties such as cardiology and infectious diseases. These are termed as added qualifications. In order to acquire them one must first be a Board certified Pharmacotherapy specialist and then submit a portfolio to the board of pharmaceutical specialties for review. A well developed system for the clinical pharmacy education unlike India. However things are expected to change in India with the advent of the Pharm D course in some pharmacy colleges.
The clinical pharmacist can work in private or government hospital or can practice independently as pharmacy practitioners. It is highly paid and well respected profession in the developed world like U.S, Europe, Canada, Australia etc. Even in the developing countries like Bangladesh, UAE, and African country the clinical pharmacist is a well known figure in the healthcare system. But the scenario in India is a bit different, clinical pharmacy is still in its rudimentary form and the profession is not well recognized. However the conditions are improving slowly in some parts of the country because of the effort made by private organizations like ACPI.

About the Author

Kaushal Pathak's picture
Author: Kaushal Pathak



supriya vavilapalli
thats true


Kaushal Pathak's picture

Hey ...
Thank you for the comment..:))

Devyani's picture

Due to introduction of PharmD we all expecting patient centered practice in India ............
It's very much true that ACPI is putting hard efforts to make aware pharmacists about their duties and role, but still pharmacy students are in dilemma for such patient care approach so do you have any idea for motivating pharmacy students about their capabilities??

My Page Link :

The Pharmacy Cares

Kaushal Pathak's picture

In this case I would just like to say that we are professionals so, it our duty that we do our job with utmost sincerity and dedication, never lookin back but ya learning from the past and go ahead with full confidence. It our team efforts which has brought us (pharmacists) to this level that we can proudly say that 'Pharma Sector" is recession free unlike other, I would jus say that... guyzz!! keep goin and keep rolling, team work is the key word and the day is not far when we'll be at par. GUD LUK TO OL PHARMACISTS.
this is a common statement for all pharmacist (community/hospital/clinical Pharmacist)

Tapanshah's picture

The biggest issue that pharmacy students have is a dangerous but curable disease called "Inferiority Complex". Pharmacists themselves believe that they are inferior to medical doctors.

What is taught at BPharm level in any university is sufficient for someone to go for further training in Pharmaceutical Care.

We study everything at BPharm level; however, we are not taught to use our knowledge in clinical settings.

PharmD will also not help until and unless good candidates join this course. It is very disheartening that many Pharmacists till date do not know meaning of Clinical Pharmacy. Many BPharms do not know what PharmD is all about.

All of us should take up the responsibility to educate and motivate the Pharmacy Students about the role of Pharmacist in the healthcare system starting from clinic to pharmaceutical industry.

Pharmacy is a very wide profession and clinical pharmacy is just a part of it. It is not necessary that everyone would be interested in clinical pharmacy and in fact all of us must not be interested in clinical pharmacy since basic pharmacy research also is equally important.

Pharmacists have been playing their role in manufacturing and R&D; however, these roles being beyond the ability of normal human beings, including so called highly educated people, to understand, we are not recognized as much as other health care professionals are.

Clinical Pharmacy gives us opportunity to use our knowledge to improve patient treatment and also to get ourselves recognized as the ones who are equally important and knowledgeable as doctors.

I would recommend reading a book Evolution of Clinical Pharmacy which has recently been published. This book looks 40 years back in the US scenario of clinical pharmacy and reviews everything that happended in last 40 years. We can learn a lot from this book. Pharmacists in the US, 40 years ago, faced almost similar kind of problems that many of us do face right now when we try using our knowledge to treat patients whether we are in clinical settings or in the industry (clinical research).

I am working in clinical research industry since last 3 years and I can confidently say that not only in clinical settings in the hospitals, but also in the industry settings in clinical research, clinical pharmacists have huge potential to play a vital role.

We need to dare to question people who think what they know is the best and rather no one else knows anything about therapeutics. You may be resisted but if you persist, you will be accepted.

Please e-mail me at if you would like more information on clinical pharmacy.


You started with current need in pharmacy profession


The Pharmacy Cares

Kaushal Pathak's picture

yes mam, hope I do my best in enlightening on the same..
thank you

Zarrin Faria's picture

You have made goods efforts to explain the specific roles of clinical pharmacist of which many of us are unaware or are confused......Hope that these roles are recognised in India also in the near future...
Faria Zarrin
My Page :
My Team:

Kaushal Pathak's picture

thank you faria!!
M sure that we, the future pharmacy professionals and the contests like this will spread our words and voice at greater pace and fullfill our hopes

Eswar GsnkRao's picture

Dear Kaushal,
Right topic selected in the right time!
What are your expectations about Clinical Pharmacist Role in India?
And what is your opinion on the distance courses or some short term courses that became highly spreaded on Clinical Trials? Are they beneficial in this concern?
eswar :-)


ESWAR :-) 

Kaushal Pathak's picture

Clinical Pharmacy as I mentioned is in its rudimentary stage but is growing at an intense rate and I am sure that this will be one the most demanding branch in near future.
As far as distance learning and short term programs are concerned, these might only help one getting into the field but surely blocks your progress in long term and also narrows your opportunities because this field is not merely based on experience but also Adequate qualification and training.

Tapanshah's picture


Clinical Trials courses have nothing to do with Clinical Pharmacy. Clinical Pharmacy cannot be taught in a distance learning mode unless you work in a clinical setting.

I would say clinical research is a part of routine practice of any good clinician. Talking about clinical trials courses would be out of context while we talk about clinical pharmacy.

Many pharmacists think clinical research and clinical pharmacy are the same but they are not the same at all. Clinical Pharmacy is a practice of pharmaceutical care to provide individualized, optimized pharmacotherapy to improve patient outcome.

I may be giving you really a long answer for a very short question that you have asked but your question really made me unhappy since I got to know of one more Pharmacist who asked such a question.

In short, clinical trials courses are of no benefit for someone who intends to become a clinical pharmacist. It may be useful to someone who already is a practicing clinial pharmacist and is willing to do clinical research as well while practicing. Having said that, training in clinical pharmacy will be inadequate without training on research and evidence based practice.

Shiv Majumdar's picture

My Page :

Dear Kaushal,

Good topic.

As you know variety of courses are available related to clinical pharmacy. Although it is upcoming field then also somehow students have less approach for this compared to other courses. Moreover many foreign universities also gave their degree, but is it acceptable in India?


Kaushal Pathak's picture

Sorry sir, but I could not get the point behind the statement ' foreign universities also gave there degree'???

Tapanshah's picture


Many foreign universities, moreover British and Australian, do offer courses in Clinical Pharmacy in an off campus mode. You may find courses like:

- PG Certificate in Clinical Pharmacy
- PG Diploma in Clinical Pharmacy
- Master of Clinical Pharmacy
- Doctor of Clinical Pharmacy

These courses are good to do and are offered to only those Pharmacists who work in hospital settings and are willing to become clinical pharmacists. These courses are very useful if you have a very good local mentor who essentially needs to be a senior clinical pharmacist or a doctor. In this case, you would study theory from the university that offers the course, and learn practice from your mentor locally in the hospital that you work.

Rober Gordon University, and Queen's University Belfast, UK have got really good courses in clinical pharmacy. They are definitely expensive.

As far as the acceptance of these courses is concerned, you basically need to be a registered pharmacist in India to practice pharmacy profession and must have the courage to practice clinical pharmacy. You may need to take the permission from the hospital authority to let you intervene with the patients. Legally, you cannot prescribe in India at present; however, you can certainly be the decision maker about what should be prescribed by a doctor.

I have much more information than what I have provided here about your question. Please contact me if you would like more information.

Juhis's picture

what is the scope of a clinical pharmacist in india?
are there good opportunities for people to step up in this field?
Juhi Sharma
Team Infinity

Kaushal Pathak's picture

looking at the services which clinical pharmacist can provide, I will say that it has wide range of scope in India and is definitely an upcoming branch growing with a good pace. Due to easy availability of patients and english speaking trained professional(Pharmacist) it has made India a hub for clinical trials. And clinical pharmacist has got upper hand in clinical research because of his meticulous hospital/clinical exposure and the knowledge of therapeutics which one acquires during PG like MPharm (pharmacy Practice)

Harsh Agarwal's picture

Hi Kaushal..good work..keep lightning the spirits..
Just want to ask "What are the scopes for a person in India who is a reg. pharmacist from Australia but without PG in Clin Pharmacy"?

Carizma Sha's picture

wat r d recommended qualifications after completing bpharma to pursue a career in clinical pharmacy?

Kaushal Pathak's picture

hello garima!! Well, as far as India is concerned..we can opt for MPharm in Pharmacy Practice as available in reputed Pharmacy colleges like Jamia, Manipal(MCOPS), NIPER etc

Ankita Desai's picture

With the advent of big MNC's hospitals like Wockhardt, Fortis or Piramal Health-care hospitals the responsibilities and the career options for Clinical Pharmacists in India are at a recieving end.

Best Wishes,

Kaushal Pathak's picture

Ya that true but the number of jobs available are very few as compared to the passouts every year....

SAGAR's picture


their is lots of opprtunities in this field now.

but require actual knowledge regarding subjct........

Tapanshah's picture

I would like to mention in addition to what Kaushal has mentioned is the fact that in the US, Pharmacists have got recognition to get specialty through BPS in one more area and that is Abulatory Care Pharmacy. One can also have "Added Qualification (AQ)" post BCPS in the areas of Cardiology, and Infectious Diseases and they may be regarded as PharmD BCPS AQ (Cardiology or Infectious Diseases).

Since the BPS recognizes the specializations only in the following areas does not mean that Pharmacists do not practice in other settings. It only means that BPS provides recognization only for the following specializations:

- BCPS: Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist
- BCOP: Board Certified Oncology Specialist
- BCPP: Board Certified Psychiatry Specialist
- BCNP: Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacist
- BCNSP: Board Certified Nutrition Support Pharmacist
- BCACP: Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist

Clinical Pharmacists are also very actively involved in Critical Care Medicine practice with or without a fellowship of American Society of Critical Care Medicine identified as FCCM.

For all those interested in clinical pharmacy must visit and also obtain membership of American College of Clinical Pharmacy.

I believe, I have every bit of information available in the area of clinical pharmacy right from education to practice at global level. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Thanuja Bachala's picture

what is the approach for the students in India pursuing M.Pharmacy to go on clinical pharmacy area?


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