The changing roles of pharmacists in community pharmacies: perception of reality in India

Pharm World Sci. 2009 Dec;31(6):612-8. doi: 10.1007/s11096-009-9307-y. Epub 2009 Jun 25.


Aim of the review: To summarise the state of community pharmacy in India including: the provision of patient care, pharmacy education, the pharmaceutical market, healthcare delivery, community pharmacy services, the professional role of community pharmacists, and future developments.

Method: Medline, Scirus, and Google Scholar databases and the journals "Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences" and "Indian Journal of Hospital Pharmacy" were searched up to the end of December 2008. In addition to these, other available sources were used to identify relevant articles.

Results: India has a fast growing pharmaceutical industry sector and a need for well educated pharmacists. Domestic sale of medicines is estimated to be $5 billion during 2006 and increasing. The supply of medicines to the population is undertaken by privately owned community pharmacies and sometimes also by hospital pharmacies. Community pharmacists are involved only in dispensing medicines. Community pharmacists have an opportunity to improve healthcare of the population, particularly of the disadvantaged section of the society that does not have the resources to visit clinics (both the poor and rural population). However, important barriers to the provision of pharmaceutical care exists, including lack of proper education and training of pharmacists, weak implementation of existing laws, and lack of recognition of the pharmacy as a profession by the other healthcare professionals.

Conclusion: The healthcare services in community pharmacies, currently insignificant, must undergo reforms to meet the changing needs of modern medicines users. The pharmacist's role in patient care is expected to grow as professional and educational standards develop. Although pharmacists' contributions to health care are not yet recognized, there is every reason to be optimistic toward making patient care in community pharmacy setting a success. For this, the educational system for pharmacists has to be adapted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Community Pharmacy Services* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Education, Pharmacy
  • Government Regulation
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • India
  • Marketing of Health Services
  • Patient Care Team
  • Perception*
  • Pharmacists* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Professional Role*
  • Professional-Patient Relations