- The pharmaceutical industry is an extremely stable industry, since everyone requires medical attention at some point in their lives, regardless of their age.
- Location plays a very crucial role when it comes to this profession. Majority of the prominent companies establish their manufacturing units outside the city, hence it’s necessary to relocate to a smaller place or travel frequently.
- Everyone pursuing this career starts right from the bottom and works his/her way up the hierarchy, gradually. Hence, patience and persistence are two very essential traits an individual should possess.
- This profession provides opportunities for high income but in the later part of the career.
Name – Sunil Acharya
Profession – Regional director of quality system and compliance at Abbott
Gender – Male
Age – 56 years
City – Mumbai
Industry – Pharmaceuticals
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Mumbai and have been brought up in this city. I completed my schooling, my graduation, and post-graduation all in Mumbai. I’ve worked here throughout too.
What is your family background like and who would you say, had a remarkable influence on you growing up and how?
I was born into a middle-class family. We were a family of five, my parents, two of my siblings and me. My father was a businessman and my mother, a homemaker. We were a happy middle-class family.
I’d say a few of my uncles had an exceptional influence on me when I was young. All of them were from the medical background, which magnified my penchant for pursuing this profession.
Please give me a summary of your career.
Since everything was pretty foreign to me when I’d just started out, I worked as a management trainee for “Johnson & Johnson” for a certain period of time.
Next, I served as an officer at “Cipla” after which I worked with “Rosh Products Limited” as an executive before I advanced towards becoming the assistant manager there. Following this, I joint “Uni-Kem”, where I was given the responsibility of a deputy manager. I was then elevated to the position of a senior manager.
After this, I started working at “Zydus” as the deputy general manager.
After a while, I seized the opportunity of working at “Abbott” as the general manager before being promoted to the post of a regional director, which is my current job role.
Which institutes are the best to pursue a Bachelor of Pharmacy?
Bachelor of Pharmacy is a requirement to enter my line of work in the pharma industry. Though, there are different careers within the pharma industry such as Sales, Marketing, Finance, HR etc.
To pursue B. Pharma., in my opinion, Mumbai University is a superlative institute offering various pharmaceutical courses. Along with this, “Bombay College of Pharmacy” and “KM Kundnani College of Pharmacy” are two commendable institutions where you can pursue your degree from. Their academic productivity, industry interface, number of projects provided are some factors that make them better.
Also, there are colleges in different cities where you can secure this degree from if the location is not a hindrance for you. You can probably forage for the best pharmacy colleges in the city/country of your preference on the internet.
How much does it cost to do B.Pharmacy?
The cost of bachelor’s in pharmacy is generally about 3 lakhs in all. As for your master’s, it’ll probably come up to the same figure.
However, there are no coaching institutes or tutorials that can coach you when it comes to these degrees. You’ve to direct all your attention towards what’s being taught or explained in your lectures. It’s very crucial to prevent your focus from wavering at any point in time since you won’t have any extra assistance.
If you’re planning on attending a university in a different city/country altogether, you’ll have to take into consideration the lodging and boarding expenditures too. However, I’m not very familiar with the fee structure in that case.
How does one manage to enter this field?
After completing your school, where you must’ve opted for science, you’re expected to appear for an entrance exam for pharmacy. When you get into a particular college based on your merit, you’re supposed to pursue your Bachelor’s in Pharmacy, followed by your Master’s. These two degrees will take about 5 years to complete.
After you’ve pursued these degrees, you’ve to start applying to different companies. Sometimes, the college that you’re pursuing this degree from offers placement opportunities too.
What is the salary after doing B.Pharmacy?
Starting out – 6 lakhs per annum
5 years of experience – 25–30 lakhs per annum
10 years of experience – 60 lakhs per annum
15 years of experience – 80 lakhs per annum
20+ years of experience – 1 crore per annum
The above figures may vary from person to person. The pharmaceutical industry is doing phenomenally well currently since everyone needs healthcare.
Describe your work, please.
Since I’m currently occupying the highest position in the hierarchy of the company, my responsibilities include calling for and attending innumerable meetings, receiving updates from the juniors, making them aware of anything that may be lacking or missing in their research or updates, guiding and counselling them on what the next steps should be, etc.
I spend about 8–10 hours at the office and work from Monday to Friday.
In your opinion, what are some benefits that would encourage an individual to consider a pharma career?
First of all, this industry can never die out or just disappear. Everyone, at some point, requires medical/healthcare attention, regardless of whether one is a senior-citizen, teenager or a middle-aged person. So, the stability that this career offers is incredulous!
Once you’ve established your mark in this industry, there’s no looking back since it assures ample growth. This growth is not only in terms of your position in the company, but financially too. I think two of these factors are people’s chief priorities at the end of the day.
Your work-life balance depends upon what department you’re working in since this industry comprises various functions. If you’re talking about support functions like the quality and regulatory department, you can have a good balance between work and personal time.
Can you mention a few challenges that you would want someone to be aware of if they’re considering a pharma career?
Everyone opting for this profession starts out right from the bottom and works their way up the hierarchy eventually.
If you’re the kind of a person who wants everything to happen effortlessly or hurriedly, it’s not going to work out in this profession.
Location/traveling shouldn’t be a hindrance for you if you’ve opted for this course. Most of the prominent companies have their manufacturing sites outside Mumbai. Only the head offices of the majority of the companies are located in Mumbai. Hence living in a big city is inconvenient and even impossible in many cases.
Next, every department in the industry has different work requirements or work hours. If you’re part of the finance and marketing department, you won’t have much time for yourself.
What are some relevant skills that are currently commanding a premium in your job profile?
You ought to be well versed with the latest developments in the pharmaceutical industry. You’ve to possess management abilities, all the relevant skills required of you, abundant knowledge, etc.
What kind of a person, do you think, would be content in the pharma sector?
If you don’t have a problem with residing elsewhere to work for your company, that is, if the location is not a hindrance for you, I’m sure you’ll be content in this career.
You should also be committed to your work no matter what. It might be strenuous since your work may overshadow your life initially.
If you’re not in a hurry to climb to the top and take things as they come your way, you won’t face any conflict/problem as far as this field is concerned.
For an extrovert or a go-getter, sales or marketing would be an ideal department to work in. For someone who’d prefer working from the confines of the office and reading up plenty, finance would be great. So, try to identify what category your personality would fit into.
Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?
I would’ve loved to become a doctor, however, due to unexpected circumstances, I had to maneuver my way around things, explore and find my interest in something else.
Nonetheless, I’m assuredly content with the way things are turning out, so no regrets or complaints from my side!
What advice would you offer to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path similar to yours?
Keep your head on your shoulders. Figure out what you want in life. If you want to create a name in this profession, be patient, that’s the only piece of advice that you should follow and more importantly, manifest in your thought process.
If you liked this article, you may also like to check out our conversation with Mr. Probir Kumar Thakur (Team Leader in Quality Control).