With the introduction of competency-based medical education (CBME) curriculum for undergraduate medical training in India from 2019 onward, paradigm changes in overall MBBS curriculum, teaching–learning strategies, and assessment approaches have been witnessed. The changes are noticed in theory, practical, and clinical curriculum alike. The same are reflected in the curriculum of experimental pharmacology also. The age-old traditional curriculum involving pharmacy preparations and animal experiments has been revamped to include more of clinical and applied pharmacology.
This revised, amended, and refurbished curriculum mandates delivery through innovative and interactive experimental and small-group teaching approaches. As the curriculum is new for most of the teachers, so are the approaches to be adopted to deliver such a curriculum in experimental pharmacology. A pharmacology manual, based upon new CBME curriculum, was the need of the hour, and the release of 3 rdedition of “Practical Manual of Pharmacology for Medical Students” by Dr. Dinesh Badyal is well timed.
The book has been published by Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers, and considering the vastness of the topics covered, the book is reasonably priced. The book is divided into five sections with 37 chapters, covering areas such as clinical pharmacy, ethics, communication skills, computer-assisted learning, and clinical pharmacology.
To begin with, the book details the certifiable competencies in pharmacology. A logbook template has been added and details of all pharmacology competencies (including knowledge based) of the curriculum which are covered in the book have been indicated. Throughout the book, ample space has been provided for attempting exercises by the students and those exercises are well written. The certificates and details given at the beginning of the book coupled with ample self-practice opportunities justify the use of book as a combination of logbook, manual, and notebook.
Dr. Badyal himself is an authority in medical education too, and he has used the abilities perfectly by introducing a complete new section in the 3 rdedition – “Teaching–Learning and Assessment.” In this section, many innovative and newer teaching–learning and assessment strategies such as small-group discussion, self-directed learning, demonstrate-observe-assist-perform, objective structured practical examination, reflections, debates, and seminars have been discussed comprehensively. I am sure faculty will immensely welcome this “add-on” package and the same will help them to adjust to the newer techniques.
Section-wise, the first section on clinical pharmacy in the book deals with usual area of pharmacy practice including pharmaceutical calculations, information about different dosage forms and formulations of drugs, and calculation of drug doses. Although the section deals with traditional experimental component of pharmacology, every effort has been made to align it with applied and clinical aspects of pharmacology so as to make this section more interesting and useful. The technique of injecting drug through different parenteral routes has been described in minute details. This combination of theoretical and practical component details at one place will definitely help the students to inculcate psychomotor and technical skills easily.
Second section of the book deals with simulation-based and experimental pharmacology. Simulation-based teaching and computer-assisted learning (CAL) in pharmacology have been dealt-in with great details in the book. Development of module for technical training and assessment via simulation in pharmacology has been explained with example. This will prove handy for teachers, who are finding it difficult to develop modules for simulation-based teaching by using skill laboratories. CAL is now a norm in pharmacology, but its scope has been widened in the book by including self-practice exercises on National List of Essential Medicines and development of hospital formulary, thus introducing students to the field of literature search using computers.
This section also introduces students to the basics of animal experiments and research, in general. Ethical aspects in human research have also been touched in this section. The section in itself will generate curiosity among students to search more on these topics, thus developing an attitude of enquiry-based learning.
Third section is dedicated to clinical pharmacology and includes topics such as primary and secondary pharmacokinetic parameters, drug interactions, adverse drug reaction (ADR) monitoring, therapeutic drug monitoring, new drug development, and pharmacoeconomics. The highlight of this section is the precise and crisp way in which the concepts have been presented. The details will supplement the theoretical knowledge of the student as well as help them to sharpen the skills of prescription writing. Case-based learning and problem-based approach have been used meticulously in this section, thus adding to better conceptualization of the topics. The illustrative presentation of steps of choosing a P-drug and the approach to critically analyze drug promotional literature are going to help students to inculcate critical thinking skills, besides grasping the concerned concepts effectively.
As said above, the fourth section is the “cherry on the cake.” In fact, this section can help teachers of other branches of medicine also, to get oriented to innovative teaching–learning and assessment strategies and the concept of blue-printing. It will also help students to prepare themselves in advance for the small-group teaching sessions. No additional hand-outs will be required to be distributed to them, so as to acquaint them with the methodology of teaching–learning to be adopted.
Last section is the beautiful compilation of some of the mandatory pro forma needed for training at undergraduate level. Suspected ADR reporting form, and medicines' side effect reporting form (for consumers), along with the contact details for ADR reporting will serve as ready reference.
Overall, the book is very useful for students and faculty of pharmacology for undergraduate medical training, and I will recommend this book for every medical undergraduate.