Working life (pharmaceutical medicine)

This page provides useful information about the roles and responsibilities of doctors in pharmaceutical medicine, where they work, who they work with and what they feel about their role.

“During student and clinical training I thrived in research environments, finding clinical and basic science both invigorating and rewarding. As a specialist registrar I found the limited time and resources to engage in meaningful research frustrating. I became aware that much ground-breaking research was performed within the pharmaceutical industry and found myself increasingly attracted to a career in clinical research and development. I have now been doing this for six years and continue to find my job challenging, rewarding and intellectually stimulating.” (Pharmaceutical physician)

Specialists work in pharmaceutical companies, medicines regulatory agencies and clinical research organisations (some within hospital premises). They could also work in their own offices or in venues within the healthcare industry, the NHS, the government or academia. Work may be based within or outside the UK.

The working day is project-based, with the pharmaceutical physician acting as leader or team member. Meetings with colleagues, project teams or committees are common, as is working within learning and teaching situations and attending seminars and conferences.

Depending on the experience and expertise of the specialist, the project activities relate to:

The only constant is that there is no such thing as a typical day!

Basic hours are office hours. There is no shift work and few on-call duties. However, the hours worked may extend beyond the standard day to complete projects on time and to the highest standards. This could mean UK and international travel, out-of-hours meetings, meeting deadlines for reports and regulatory timelines.

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