You can be working in commercial pharma labs or in the Research & Development unit, directly in line with the education you acquired. Some companies open special programs, various internships for graduates and even post-doc programs for young scientists with PhD in life sciences, eg molecular biology. Those are usually advertised in the career section of the company web site.
But there are plenty of positions where the work is mainly administrative with some business portion depending on the particular job title. You will get necessary skills only in practice but even for this you will find out that a lot of knowledge you gained during your university years will come in handy. Non-clinical development and compliance with GLP, GCP and GMP, Regulatory Affairs, Medical Writing, CMC (Chemistry, Manufacturing, Controls), design of clinical trials, statistical analysis plans and associated terminology and a lot more will need your understanding of what is actually written in the documentation and what is a subject to your input or quality check. Sometimes even people with completely different background work in these positions but depending on situation it can be risky, stressful or boring and tedious work when handling documentation you don't understand at all. That is why companies prefer these backgrounds as they know you will be able to bring additional value and also satisfy yourself with doing a meaningful work.
Another large area is the manufacture - industrial pharmacy. There you would find suitable junior positions in QC and QA. Experienced QA experts oversee the whole manufacturing process per product and are ultimately responsible for the release of the batch of the manufactured product to the distribution chain. These professionals are highly skilled in GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) and GDP (Good Distribution Practice)
People with medical background are maybe the most welcome in pharmaceutical companies and contract research organizations, so called CRO. Medical Doctors have multiple opportunities to pursue a career in this sector and, some people could think it is unfair, in many companies they are pushed forward more quickly than the others. However, we need to highlight there are two very distinctive categories of Medical Doctors; those with and those without some clinical certification. The certified docs with clinical background from cardiology, oncology, general internal medicine, neurology, ophthalmology, metabolic diseases and others can be placed into positions of Medical Monitors, Consultants or function in the management of departments of Medical Affairs or Clinical Development. MDs without practical clinical background are rather perceived similarly as their colleagues from the biomedical field. Registered Nurses also interest the pharma employers and they start on the same spectrum of positions as graduates from life sciences with a bachelor degree. Unlike the graduates from Chemistry, Life Sciences and Pharmacy they are not very welcome in the manufacturing but may be in the nonclinical laboratories.
Pharma and biotech firms usually need experienced lawyers and it can be difficult to find a job as a graduate from a law school. Nevertheless, especially large corporations open also entry level positions in the legal affairs or departments handling contracts. Contract Research Organizations represent higher chances than pharma firms. The typical range of responsibilities for a young associate would be a contract review and modification, checking compliances, review or preparation of Letters of Authorization, work in relation to maintenance of the company legal entities, and creation of various templates for other departments. Some work could also relate to the patent law.
Large international companies seek people with competencies also in some other language than English. This is most welcome in departments writing various national documentation and leading correspondence with state institutions or in sales and business development. At informal parts of face-to-face meetings speaking the language of your business counterpart can help to build a good relationship.
These jobs are not that visible as other but they are basically a backbone of the clinical development, marketing and collection of safety data. The way how the data can be obtained, compiled and utilized is strictly regulated. Each phase of the development, or rather the drug product life cycle, produces its own data; preclinical (a.k.a. nonclinical) testing, results from clinical trials, results from real life usage - also called real world data or real world evidence, and long-term safety monitoring. All these stages produce important data that need statistical analysis. The analyses support pharmaceutical products on their way to the market and their maintenance on it. The data processors must comply with data protection regulations and a lot of information must be anonymized or destroyed or can be kept just for a limited period. From the offices throughout the manufacturing, packaging and distributional facilities to the research centers and sometimes patients' homes too there is a need for extensive IT support, software engineers, biostatisticians and big data experts.
In this field you will typically find positions like Project Assistant, Bid and Proposal Specialist, Financial Analyst or various functions responsible for budget and project tools maintenance. In companies with their own product portfolio it will be mainly about product marketing, market access, sales, mostly business-to-business, co-working on strategies and cooperation with other teams. For the interview you should be ready to present your negotiation and presentation skills. These positions usually contain a great deal of travelling and you need to hold a driving license. You should be an advanced user of MS Office tools, especially Excel. You can hold any degree but graduates from Business and Economy schools with good records and at least partial practical experience from a part-time job will have an advantage. The area of the medicinal products is very specific and is recommendable to have some idea of it. Therefore, read something about the drug product life cycle, differences between OTC and Rx products, what therapeutic areas exist, types of products, especially in relation to the company of your interest.
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