No you don’t need a PhD to pursue a career in the Pharmaceutical Industry!

Professor Luigi G Martini FRPharmS, FEIPG, Chief Pharmaceutical Scientist for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

Nor do you need to have done an Industrial pre-registration programme either! These are the two most commonly cited questions, or should I say myths, which are often directed at me.

So I have taken the opportunity in this blog to dispel a few myths as follows:

1) You do not need to have a PhD to work in industry, but it does help if you want to work in Research and Drug Discovery. However, there are many roles in Product Development, Manufacturing and Commercial which exist for pharmacists.

2) You do not need to undertake a pre-registration year in industry, and with only 11 such programmes in the UK, they are highly competitive and thus restricted with respect to demand. In fact, pharmacists who have trained and worked in community and hospital are highly regarded by the industry.

3) There has never been a better time to join the industry with pharmacists being highly desired for career paths in Medical Affairs, Regulatory Affairs, Pharmacovigilance and Quality Assurance.

For me, the biggest challenge for many pharmacists is our mindsets! We forget that the Pharmacy Degree is a highly regarded and respected qualification and being a Pharmacist is an internationally recognised profession and vocation.

There is no rule or commandment which states that you can only practice in community or in hospital, or in fact in Industry. We should consider our Pharmacy Qualification as a passport which enables us to access the multitude of career pathways afforded to Healthcare Professionals, such as ourselves. I recently met my first Patent Attorney who trained initially as a Pharmacist!

So ‘how do you get into industry?’, is another question which is often asked of me and my answers are always the same; Do your research, find out about the industry and the various job opportunities that exist, apply for internships, work experience and placements that are on offer.

What is important is that you when you apply and undergo an interview is that you understand what medicines the company have marketed, what medicines are in development and what challenges the company and the industry is facing in general, such as the impact of Brexit. What is important to understand is that You are NOT alone!

The Industrial Pharmacists Forum (IPF) is a sector interest group of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and is Chaired by Sue Kilby and Co-Chaired by Janet Davies and Janet Halliday. The IPF is there to represent, to help, to advise and to educate pharmacists about the Pharmaceutical Industry and to encourage pharmacists to pursue careers in this sector of practice.

So don’t just sit there – open your mind to a world of opportunity that your pharmacy qualification affords you!

If you would like to know more about career opportunities in lifesciences and pharma industry please feel to reach out to me the Chief Scientist, to Dr Claire Thompson Deputy Chief Scientist or Dr Colin Cable Assistant Chief Scientist for the RPS on science@rpharms.com.

Luigi Martini will be presenting at our event ‘Your Career Options: Take The Next Steps’, along with other leaders from across the profession. Attending our event will enable you to explore and consider the various career paths available to you, understand how your skills can translate to new and emerging roles and equip you with the skills you need to make an informed next step in your career, book Now.

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