Emerging Career Options For Pharmacists

Pharmaceutical companies are involved in the production of medicines, research in drugs, marketing of medicines in India and to the rest of the world. Pharmacists are key players in all areas of the pharmaceutical industry, opening several options for Pharmacists.

Various pharmaceuticals firms are involved in the production of an array of dosage forms such as tablets, liquid orals, injectables, and topical formulations. There is a great demand for pharmacy graduates to cater to the need for increased production of medicines. Pharmaceutical firms are also involved in the manufacture of biologicals such as hormones, vaccines and gene therapies. The pharmacist works to develop and evaluate such advanced products. Pharmacists are also involved in the manufacture of cosmeceuticals which are cosmetics with a biological function.

Each medicine needs to be tested for its quality, taken care by the quality control department in pharma companies. Pharmacists have excellent career options in the quality control area of pharmaceutical firms. 

The quality assurance department is one of the most important departments in any pharmaceutical firm. Quality assurance (QA) is a very broad field that refers to any facet that may affect a drug’s quality during its manufacturing, and sales. This department works to ensure the consistency in safety and effectiveness of pharmaceutical products till the end of shelf life. Pharmacists have an excellent opportunity in QA and are responsible for establishing best practices to maintain the drug’s quality.

Pharma professionals have opportunities in the regulatory affairs department of the pharmaceutical industry. This department is responsible for guiding the pharmaceutical company with respect to the development of the product and drafting a dossier for gaining marketing approval for the product as per regulatory requirements of various countries and also to manage the lifecycle of the drug approvals. 

Another key area where pharmacists can contribute is that of intellectual property (IP) creation and management. IP in pharmaceutical firms includes patents, designs, trademarks and copyrights. Patents play an important role in the growth of any pharmaceutical industry by providing sufficient incentives to the company for investing in research and development. It also grants them exclusive rights to market their drugs and prevent others from selling, copying, or manufacturing these drugs for 20 years from the date of application. Pharmacists can contribute to product life cycle management wherein they can provide strategic guidance to companies with respect to the evergreening of patents. 

Another major area related to medicines is marketing. Pharma marketing refers to the marketing of drugs and medical devices by private and public organizations to doctors, clinicians and consumers.  Medicines are unique products that cannot be directly sold to the end-user, but have to be sold by qualified personnel and only through medical practitioners.   Pharmacists are qualified to do this activity in retail as well as to the doctors and hospitals.  Due to an increase in expenditure on medicines, marketing is a top priority for the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmacists have many opportunities in the marketing sector of pharmaceuticals where they are involved in the distribution and sale of medicines. 

The research and development department of the pharmaceutical industry is involved in finding new drugs, developing new dosage forms for increasing patient acceptance etc. Pharmacists have opportunities in this sector. Pharmacists are also be involved in medical writing, for communicating the scientific information related to various drugs and products, to doctors. 

In the new age pharmacy Industry, the candidates need to have management skills in addition to core technical knowledge. 

Drug safety must be monitored and reported from initial testing to everyday use. The World Health Organization defines pharmacovigilance as “the science and activities relating to the detection, assessment, understanding and prevention of adverse effects or any other drug-related problem.” Pharmacovigilance has become an integral part of the pharma sector providing increasing opportunities for Pharmacists. 

One of the prime areas in the development of new drugs in clinical research. In clinical research, drugs are tested for their effects in normal human beings as well as in patients. Clinical research is important to develop diagnostic methods and new treatments or medical devices to ensure better patient care. Clinical research is carried out systematically and its design and execution require highly skilled health care professionals. The pharmacist is one of the key players in clinical research and thus this area opens various opportunities for pharmacists.

Post-market drug surveillance is an important area where pharmacists are playing an important role. It refers to the monitoring of drugs after they enter the market. It evaluates drugs taken by individuals under a wide range of circumstances over an extended period of time. This activity is important to understand previously unrecognized effects of drugs, positive or negative. Adverse drug reaction monitoring and evaluation is the main part of post-marketing surveillance. It also covers the use of unapproved drugs and issue related to orphan drugs. Thus Pharmacy is a profession with unlimited opportunities as newer avenues are opening up every day.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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