‘We encourage self-learning’
Pulin Shroff, Managing Director, Charak Pharma, opines on his organisation’s approach towards budding pharma students and importance of events like Indian Pharmaceutical Congress (IPC), in discussion with Sachin Jagdale
What are the criteria set by you to decide the right candidate for your company?
Future work force is an umbrella term. Today, pharmacy graduates are doing an excellent job in the pharmaceutical sector, right from R&D to quality assurance (QA) to production to sales and marketing. I believe that once the basic foundation is laid for any intelligent pharmacy graduate and he/she gets the fundamentals of the subject right, there is no holding back when it comes to career development.
In an earlier era, pharmacy graduates tended to gravitate to R&D, QA and production related careers, but now we see more and more of them aggressively getting into sales and marketing. Towards this end, they are also enrolling themselves into management courses and coming out with flying colors. That gives them the confidence needed for a career in pharma marketing.
A good deal depends on the individual’s aptitude and personality. Generally, the more extrovert and articulate among pharmacy graduates opt for and shine in sales and marketing, while the others prefer to stay behind the curtain in production and R&D units.
We in Charak go entirely by the individual traits, capabilities, strengths and weaknesses of a given candidate while selecting him/her for any particular role in the company. As I said earlier, extroverted and expressive personalities automatically choose the marketing arena and that is true for most pharma companies.
Project work is an important part of any pharma curriculum wherein pharma students need to work with pharma companies for a particular period. What kind of support/opportunity Charak provides to such students?
Charak will welcome with open arms any pharmacy student or graduate who takes the initiative and approaches us with a clear cut objective of learning a particular skill or aspect of job content that will help him/her in long term career building. We have had many such examples in the past and will continue to encourage pharmacy students in the process. The choice of a given area of training depends on the aptitude and strength of the individual as well as the appropriate fit from the company side, but we invariably manage to find a suitable slot for such aspirants.
Pharma students are generally keen on working with pharma companies making conventional medicines. What are the benefits these students will get if they work with ayurvedic companies like Charak?
I presume that by conventional you mean allopathic—don’t forget, ayurvedic medicines are equally conventional. Well, let it not be assumed that only allopathic manufacturers follow strict principles of pharmacy in R&D, QA and production. Many ayurvedic companies of repute do the same, and we at Charak certainly do it with utmost care and commitment. We invite you to our factory to see for yourself how our pharmacists are second to none in the allopathic sector when it comes to applying the principles of pharmacy in our context. After all, the fundamentals of pharmacy as a science remain the same irrespective of the material that goes into the final product.
What kind of post recruitment training you provide to the pharma students?
Our post-recruitment training is of two types—on the job and off the job. On the job, our pharmacy graduates get to learn and do everything that is relevant to making world class ayurvedic formulations for both domestic and international consumption. Our senior pharmacists literally hand-hold the juniors till they get the techniques right.
Off the job, we encourage self-learning and development by the individual through online info packages. We also encourage bright students to take up further studies seriously while staying committed to their job responsibilities. We give them the opportunities and they will have to prove their ability to balance on the job performance and off the job learning.
Would you like to suggest any changes in the current pharma curriculum?
I am not an academician to answer this question in depth but as is true for most curricula in technical education in India, emphasis should be placed more on practical aspects of learning and training than on theoretical concepts. The latter may be reserved for those who are keen on pursuing academic careers in the years ahead.
On the global map how strong is the Indian pharma education system?
This too is a question best answered by academic experts, but my personal take is that the proof of the pudding lies in the eating. Our graduates deliver international quality research products and meet international time lines for production and delivery, so they must be as strong as the best in the world.
Has Charak ventured into pharma education field?
At present our focus is on high quality R&D, QA, and production of Ayurvedic products that will satisfy any global regulatory authority as well as any practitioner of Ayurveda anywhere in the world. In a manner of speaking, our systems and procedures should be as educative as any special curriculum one might like to design for teaching per se.
In your opinion what is the importance of events like Indian Pharmaceutical Congress (IPC) for the pharmacy students?
This is the day and age of the ‘catch them young’ slogan. Right from talent shows to reality shows to real life situations, the young and the able are being encouraged to step out of their cloistered educational premises, into the big wide world out there to see for themselves how other illustrious personalities have worked hard to achieve whatever they have, and in the manner they have. This is precisely what happens in IPC, and therefore, its importance is self-evident. Participating in the IPC is a great inspiration to any sincere and hard working pharmacy student and he/she should grab the opportunity with both hands. And yes, we at Charak thank you and the IPC for giving us an opportunity to share our side of the Indian pharmacy saga with the future pharmacists of our glorious country!