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 Table of Contents    
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 48  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 336-337

Restructuring postgraduate curriculum in pharmacology: Time to incorporate alternatives to animal experimentation

1 Department of Pharmacology, Gujarat Adani Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhuj, Gujarat, India
2 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, GMERS Medical College and Hospital, Dharpur, Patan, Gujarat, India

Date of Web Publication23-May-2016

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Gurudas Khilnani
Department of Pharmacology, Gujarat Adani Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhuj, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0253-7613.182878

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How to cite this article:
Khilnani G, Khilnani AK. Restructuring postgraduate curriculum in pharmacology: Time to incorporate alternatives to animal experimentation. Indian J Pharmacol 2016;48:336-7

How to cite this URL:
Khilnani G, Khilnani AK. Restructuring postgraduate curriculum in pharmacology: Time to incorporate alternatives to animal experimentation. Indian J Pharmacol [serial online] 2016 [cited 2023 Oct 2];48:336-7. Available from: https://www.ijp-online.com/text.asp?2016/48/3/336/182878


There are scientific, social, and philosophical reasons to refine, reduce, and replace use of animals with alternatives in education, research, and drug development.[1] In response, several countries have changed laws and regulations to promote development and validation of alternative techniques for drug innovation and research. Currently, over 50 alternative methods have been validated and approved by regulatory authorities.[2] Increasing awareness that these alternatives can provide cost-effective, reliable, and accurate information which can be used for drug research in a cruelty-free manner has increased the pace of development of such methods worldwide. As a consequence, large databases are now available online to retrieve current information on development of newer methods, sources of procurement, and funding agencies which provide loans and grants for development of nonanimal techniques.[3] Alternative to animals' module is already in use for training of undergraduate students in medical schools of Czech Republic.[4]

In India, scientific and regulatory bodies such as Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Medical Council of India (MCI), and Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) have laid stress on nonanimal experimentation and put restrictions on use of animals in education. Responding to these restrictions, the animal experiments are mostly abandoned during training of postgraduates (PGs) in pharmacology. Thus, skill development is greatly jeopardized. The faculty and PGs have developed an apathetic attitude (indifference, complacency, and diffidence) instead of awakening and responding to call and developing alternative strategies.[5] Therefore, there is a need to restructure PG curriculum in pharmacology to include topics on alternative methods in education and research (current concepts, strategies, methods, and tools for teaching-learning and evaluation). The MCI has already laid down general guidelines leaving formulation of detailed curricula by curriculum committees of medical colleges to acquire comprehensive knowledge, develop skills and attitudes.[6] Obviously, it is necessary to have a uniform curriculum across our country. Recently, Badyal et al . have suggested desired modifications of PG curriculum with emphasis on major overhaul of practical skill training program.[7] To sensitize and persuade PG pharmacology teachers to become “change agents” in bringing out desired change, a number of workshops are being organized by ICMR and Mahatma Gandhi-Doerenkamp Center for alternatives to use for life science education, Tiruchirappalli, India.[8]

A major objective of PG education is to prepare skilled pharmacologists to meet the needs of both academia and industry. I feel that time is propitious to include topics on “alternatives to animal experimentations” in PG pharmacology curriculum. [Table 1] shows a representative list of objective and competency wise contents related to alternative methods and techniques, for critical appraisal and further refinement by able readership so that these are incorporated in the PG curriculum in pharmacology.
Table 1: Suggested learning activities related to alternatives to animal experimentations

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Conflicts of Interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Badyal DK, Desai C. Animal use in pharmacology education and research: The changing scenario. Indian J Pharmacol 2014;46:257-65.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Balls M. Alternatives to animal experiments: Serving in the middle ground. AATEX 2005;11:4-14.  Back to cited text no. 2
Gruber FP, Dewhurst DG. Alternatives to animal experimentation in biomedical education. ALTEX 2004;21 Suppl 1:33-48.  Back to cited text no. 3
Cervinka M, Rudolf E, Cervinkova Z. Alternatives to animal experimentation in undergraduate curricula at medical schools – Analysis of current trends in the Czech Republic. ALTEX 2005;22:46-50.  Back to cited text no. 4
Dikshit RK. Postgraduate education in medical pharmacology. Indian J Pharmacol 2007;39:171.  Back to cited text no. 5
  Medknow Journal  
Available from: http://www.mciindia.org/RulesandRegulations/PGMedical EducationRegulations2000.aspx. [Last accessed on 2016 Jan 22].  Back to cited text no. 6
Badyal DK, Desai C, Tripathi SK, Dhaneria SP, Chandy SJ, Bezbaruah BK. Postgraduate pharmacology curriculum in medical institutions in India: Time for need-based appraisal and modifications. Indian J Pharmacol 2014;46:584-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Akbarsha MA, Pereira S. Mahatma Gandhi-Doerenkamp Center for alternatives to use of animals in life science education. J Pharmacol Pharmacother 2010;1:108-10.  Back to cited text no. 8
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  


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