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​Transition into the Pharmaceutical Industry

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The Pharmaceutical Industry

The UK is the 3rd largest exporter of pharmaceutical medicines and with world-class R&D facilities, the industry funds more healthcare-related research than every other source combined. There are opportunities for Physicians to join pharmaceutical companies, independent Clinical Research Organisations, (CROs) and regulatory bodies such as the MHRA.

The pharmaceutical industry offers a challenging, multi-disciplinary and commercial environment that requires high calibre Physicians who uphold the highest standards of their profession. Apart from selected areas of research, pharmaceutical medicine is involved in clinical evaluation programmes that support licensing and marketing requirements.

Moving from the NHS/Academia into the Pharmaceutical Industry

A career within the Pharmaceutical Industry is a fantastic career pathway for experienced Physicians wanting to operate in either a more commercial environment or to impact on wider patient populations at the cutting edge of medicine.

For Physicians, a great resource is The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine. This is a professional membership body committed to advancing clinical medicine through the highest ethical standards and offers a great insight into the Pharmaceutical Industry for Physicians. As a Physician you can also complete the Pharmaceutical Medicine Specialist Training to be recognised by the GMC as a Registered Pharmaceutical Physician.

Transition into the industry is best achieved at SHO/Specialist Registrar level, or from an academic setting working on clinical trials. Pharmaceutical companies often look for candidates with current experience in therapeutic areas relevant to pharma company product portfolios.

Life Sciences organisations look for individuals who are passionate about healthcare and patient outcomes, have an analytical mindset and can operate in a dynamic work environment with a commercial mindset, particularly within Medical Affairs roles.

Pharmaceutical companies look closely at a candidate's record of employment over the most recent 2-3 years and generally require a minimum of 4 years post graduate experience. Medics with a recent history of short-term locum roles often find it difficult to move into the industry. Medics at Consultant level can be deemed too specialised by many pharma companies and often, like GPs, may find the move financially detrimental in the short-term. The caveat here is for Consultants who have strong therapeutic area expertise and who have acted as an investigator in clinical trials, who can often enter the pharmaceutical industry at an advanced level, particularly within Clinical Development. Some pharma companies and particularly CROs have job opportunities that require a strong clinical background with particular specialism and are prepared to offer a commensurate salary and benefits package.

Physicians join the pharmaceutical industry in “entry level” roles and are promoted to senior, leadership and progress to Medical Director level with increasing pharmaceutical and CRO industry experience. There is no definitive level of experience for promotion and much depends on the requirements laid down by each company for a specific role. As a guide, promotion to a senior role (Senior Medical Advisor) typically takes around 2-3 years and gaining ABPI Final Signatory status, a role such as a Medical Manager or Head of a Business Unit usually requires at least 3-5 years' experience and roles at Director level require several additional years' experience.

Medical Directors with wide-ranging experience and expertise sometimes elect to work on a freelance consultancy basis offering 'interim' services to one or more companies to help meet short-term or immediate needs.

Cpl Life Sciences run a webinar series on the career pathways available to Pharmaceutical Physicians and Pharmacists once they are in industry, allowing you to connect and network with leading figures within the Life Science industry that have progress into Senior Leadership posts.

See the full report here

For further insight into the pharmaceutical industry and potentially making the transition, please contact the Medical team at Cpl Life Sciences on +44 (0) 1189 522799 or e-mail: [email protected]