Dear Colleagues! This is Asrar Qureshi’s Blog Post #699 for Pharma Veterans. Pharma Veterans welcome sharing of knowledge and wisdom by Veterans for the benefit of Community at large. Pharma Veterans Blog is published by Asrar Qureshi on WordPress, the top blog site. Please email to email@example.com for publishing your contributions here.
This series of posts gives ideas about what opportunities new graduates can find in pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical Industry is a large industry; it employs a fair number of people in various departments.
Doctors have long been associated with Pharma Industry. Several of them started their own pharmaceutical industries internationally, and in Pakistan; but they are not our focus in this post. We shall focus on the opportunities that become available to doctors.
Like pharmacists, doctors also have a natural alignment with pharmaceuticals. They have the medical knowledge, and they know about drugs. Pharmaceutical customers are doctors and doctors can communicate with them better presumably. Let us see what positions can become available for them.
Marketing – Most doctors opt to become marketers, and the industry also accepts them, and relaxes the condition of business degree for them. They would join as Assistant Product Manager in larger companies, or even as Product Manager in smaller companies. As discussed earlier, Marketing is a promising area, and people who perform well can hope to achieve good growth early. There are plenty of examples where doctors who joined at APM/PM have risen to the position of Director Marketing. Couple of them have become CEOs also.
The doctors are at an advantage when they enter marketing. In terms of knowledge, they are miles ahead of all others. With little training, they are more capable of understanding the marketing potential of products. Their communication with customers who are their peers/seniors/juniors is better and, therefore, they have greater chance of success.
Medical Affairs – The more developed pharmaceutical companies have a medical affairs department, whose job it is to ensure that all technical information that goes out is valid, authentic, and correct. Pharmaceutical companies make promotional materials which promote use of drugs in various indications. The claims are backed by studies or other sources of information. Medical Affairs goes through the content and verifies that the claims are correct. This is an exclusive job for doctors.
Pharmacovigilance – PV, as it is usually called, is among the latest regulatory requirements in Pakistan, though internationally it had been there for decades. Pharmacovigilance is also referred to as Drug Safety because it relates to the detection, collection, assessment, monitoring, and prevention of adverse effects with pharmaceutical products. Medication errors, the misuse/abuse of a medicine, and drug exposure during pregnancy and breastfeeding are also monitored. The job of PV is preferably designated for doctors, though a pharmacist may also fill the slot.
Clinical Research – Various forms of clinical research are carried out in Pakistan. It may be an arm of an international study, or it may be a local trial of a generic product. Post Marketing Surveillance studies, seeding trials and other tools of research are employed by various companies. Doctors are taken as Clinical Research Associates and they can hope to grow further in medical affairs.
Business Development – BD is not the exclusive domain of doctors but plenty of doctors are working in this area. Business Development is about in-licensing, out-licensing, identification of new potential molecules, business diversification etc. Pharmacists compete head-to-head with doctors in this area.
Training – For many years, pharmaceutical companies had been hiring doctors as training managers, and for good reason. They were giving technical training to the salespeople. Two changes have occurred lately; the emphasis on training has reduced, and the companies prefer sales trainers rather than technical trainers. Having said that, it is still an opportunity of sort.
Patient Education Programs – Chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac problems, age-related disorders, require patient education and counseling. Pharmaceutical companies hire a corps of doctors/pharmacists to work in this area.
Sales – Not an exclusive domain for them, but doctors are still hired in sales of technical products such as specialty products, anti-cancer, immune modulating, transplant drugs, and so on. Sales is usually not preferred by doctors because they feel uneasy going to other doctors as salespeople.
The sum up is that pharmaceutical industry offers multiple, interesting, and promising opportunities to doctors.
To be Continued……
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