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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 476-477  

Invited commentary: Restructuring post graduate syllabus in pharmacology

Department of Pharmacology, M. P. Shah Government Medical College, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India

Date of Web Publication25-Jun-2014

Correspondence Address:
Anupama Sukhlecha
Department of Pharmacology, M. P. Shah Government Medical College, Jamnagar, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Sukhlecha A. Invited commentary: Restructuring post graduate syllabus in pharmacology. Med J DY Patil Univ 2014;7:476-7

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Sukhlecha A. Invited commentary: Restructuring post graduate syllabus in pharmacology. Med J DY Patil Univ [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 Sep 17];7:476-7. Available from:

Over the years, many medical graduates are opting for MD Pharmacology course. The reason being that, there are various career options for MD Pharmacologists, for example academia, pharmaceutical industry, medical writing, pharmacovigilance and so on. They can also get involved in preclinical and clinical research including clinical trials.

There are PG curriculum guidelines by various universities in India. [1] However, the syllabus, training and assessment of Pharmacology are not uniform all over India. The training in MD Pharmacology provides little practical training in healthcare settings, in industry or at regulatory agencies. The contents of the syllabus are not updated. The examination pattern is theory oriented with less of practical approach. [2] Hence, there is a need to restructure PG syllabus in India.

An Indian study says that "Most of the medical institutes in India are not equipped with required infrastructure. The faculty members are not fully trained in recent advances. A collaborative and positive research atmosphere is lacking in majority of the institutes. Very few institutions in India provide funds for registration and/or travel to attend or present scientific research at conferences. For postgraduate courses, a research project and dissertation are mandatory. However, the PG dissertation topics are repetitions of previous studies leading to few noteworthy scientific contributions." [3]

  What Can Be Done? Top


There should be a common syllabus with accreditation all over India. It should cover not just knowledge but also skills and attitudes. Infrastructure in institutes can be improved. Training to write rational prescriptions and to audit hospital prescriptions should be given to PG students. They should be also be trained on pharmacovigilance and adverse drug reporting. Bioassays can be included, but the curriculum should be modified to accommodate recent advances also. The PG students should be posted in hospital wards (for at least a month in each year). [4] The course needs to emphasize that research will survive only if it is beneficial to patients and society.

Training programs

Training in research methodology including statistics should be mandatory for postgraduate students (and teachers). There should be a chance of taking up observer-ship/internship in research organizations and pharmaceutical industries. There can be industry-academia collaborations. These should provide hands-on practical experience in the industry and clinical trials setting with various clinical researchers and investigators. PG students should be trained on ethics by experts. Training to write applications for grants needs to be imparted. [5],[6]


Methods like bioassay can be a part of formative assessment. Departmental seminars and journal clubs should have assessments of the PG students. Log books can be maintained so that there is a record of academic activities of a PG student. Teaching skills of a PG student should be assessed. Presentation in conferences and publications can be given credit points.

Newer methods for drug evaluation can be included for MD exams. The written examination could include therapeutic case scenarios. Keeping in mind the emerging role of pharmacologists, the practical examination could evaluate additional skills such as writing protocol, taking informed consent from patients, filling forms to submit to ethics committee, role play as an ethics committee member etc. The accumulation of a fixed number of credit points could be a prerequisite for taking the final examination. [5]

  Conclusion Top

Clinical pharmacologists have a big role to contribute for health needs of society. They can guide clinical pharmacists, conduct ethical clinical trials and contribute to drug development. At present, the postgraduate pharmacology curriculum is deficient in both quality and quantity. A modification in the curriculum can correct these deficiencies. University summative exam can include methods that save time and resources and at the same time are relevant to current needs of society. Training through collaboration with clinical disciplines, pharmaceutical industries and research organizations can prepare our clinical pharmacologists for today and the future.

  References Top

1.Postgraduate curriculum in MD (Pharmacology and Therapeutics). Maharashtra University of Health Sciences Nashik. Passed by Academic Council (Resolution No. 365/2006). [Dated 2006 Jun 28].  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Gitanjali B. The M. D. (Pharmacology) examinations: A call for better standards. Indian J Pharmacol 2004;36:339-40.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Chakraborty A. A survey on postgraduate pharmacology education in India. Indian J Pharmacol 2010;42:253-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
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4.Imran M. Pharmacologists' participation in teaching hospitals for shaping future clinical research in India. Perspect Clin Res 2012;3:149-50.  Back to cited text no. 4
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5.Kshirsagar NA, Bachhav SS, Kulkarni LA, Vijaykumar. Clinical pharmacology training in India: Status and need. Indian J Pharmacol 2013;45:429-33.  Back to cited text no. 5
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6.Ghosh RK, Ghosh SM, Datta S. Training of postgraduate pharmacologists in India - The need for alignment with the emerging roles in the pharmaceutical industry. J Postgrad Med 2010;56:168-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
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