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A Trainee Life in the Pharmaceutical Industry, by Samjhana (Dec 2016)

Version 2

It has been five months since my training in STRIDES SHASUN Ltd[1] began and it has been a tough and eventful time.

I have chosen “Pharmaceutical Analysis” as the main field for my Master Degree at the PES College of Pharmacy in Bangalore. To complete my Master, I have to produce a project, which is primarily related to soft gelatin drugs[2]. My HOD at the College had contacts with one passed-out student, working at STRIDES, who referred me for this traineeship so that I can fulfill my project. As this is part of my studies, I will not be paid.

STRIDES is a very reputed pharmaceutical company in India. It has 15 manufacturing facilities in 6 countries (of which 5 in India) and marketing presence in 50 countries. Our branch mainly handles research and development of new drugs as well as already existing drugs by following USP (United States Pharmacopoeia) guidelines. The entire branch is divided into 5 smaller groups and each group handles different formulations. I am working in the department in charge of soft gelatin capsules analysis.

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The company is located in Karnataka, almost 20 km away from our flat in Bangalore, but by bus it feels like it is 30 km…. Most of the time, I don’t get a seat, as the bus is always crowded. It takes around 2 hours to reach the office in the morning when there is no traffic, but it takes almost an extra hour while coming back due to the rush hour at that time.hy21crowded_bus__2117631g

Crowded city bus in Bangalore

My department staff is quite helpful and friendly. Supervisors are assigned to look after the trainees, so that we can both learn and do the work properly without causing any trouble. There are many freshers working in the company so most of my colleagues are not much older than me and I have made many new friends. Both the employees and the supervisors are helpful. They encourage us to learn new things. The employees of the company have their lunch in the cafeteria of the company but as we are only trainees we have to go out to have lunch and come back for work. Usually I have my lunch with my two classmates. There are many people in the company from all over India but sadly I am the only one from Nepal.

Usually the day starts with discussion with the specific team leader about the work that has to be done on that day. They explain to us what we should do on daily basis as we perform an analysis on different drugs everyday. Then, we start preparing the reagents and the samples required for the day. We usually use automatic instruments for the analysis. Some of the samples can be analyzed within a short period of time whereas some samples take a whole day. We use standards provided by the company with which the results of the samples are compared. Some parameters should be within the limits provided in the USP. If the sample results are within the limits, then the sample passes the test. But, if it fails then the entire formulation is changed and it is analyzed once again. We also have to maintain records of the test results, which are then validated by the other analysts. Once a product passes each and every condition, it gets approval for launching into the market.

Samjhana using a Dissolution Apparatus & standing before a High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC).

So, this is my daily routine as a trainee in the pharmaceutical industry. I am learning a lot with this experience, especially by daily practicing all the automatized instruments that I had studied in theory during year 1 of my Master. I also got a better idea of what is a working environment (compared to College), its challenges (complexity, concentration, speed, productivity) and benefits (team work, self-achievement, intellectual development, social contacts). Working in this field is both exciting and tiresome but it definitely convinced me that I have made the right choice.

My course will get over by June-July 2017 depending upon the completion of my project and the exam dates, which will be provided by the University. So, once I pass my Master, I will be interested in applying for a job in the R&D sector of a pharmaceutical company. I can apply for positions like Quality Assurance (QA), Regulatory Authority (RA), Lecturer, Quality Control (QC), Pharmacovigilance (PV) and many more.

Based on this first job experience and the valuable advice/support from my colleagues at Strides, I will look for a company that would offer me a good career development and decent remuneration, in line with the high education level that I was so fortunate to get thanks to SEA and my generous sponsors. I am really grateful for that.

[1] Strides Shasun Ltd is a major Indian pharmaceutical company with a key focus on development and manufacture of IP-led (IP= Intellectual Property) niche generics and bio-pharmaceuticals. It is also among the world’s largest manufacturers of specialty soft gelatin capsules.

[2] The subject of my Master project is “The Chromatographic Method Development and Validation of Amantadine and its related impurities in Soft Gel”. The Amantadine drug is an anti-viral agent specifically inhibiting influenza A virus replicatio, an anti-parkinsonian agent, used to treat extrapyramidal reactions and post therapeutic neuralgia. This drug comes in the form of soft gelatin capsules.

 

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