Category: Fellows Posters
Pharmacy school graduates have several opportunities and postgraduate training programs available to them. In recent years, non-traditional careers in the biopharmaceutical and/or pharmaceutical industry have become increasingly popular. Pharmacists can begin industry careers by entering industry immediately after graduation, transitioning from another pharmacy setting, or by completing a postdoctoral Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) fellowship. Limited resources exist to gain insight into the features of the first positions for industry pharmacists who completed fellowships compared to those who did not complete fellowships. This study was conducted to assess key characteristics about the first positions obtained by pharmacists in the pharmaceutical industry.
A web-based survey was disseminated in November 2018 to the Industry Pharmacists Organization (IPhO) network of 12,000 industry pharmacists. Participants answered a variety of multiple choice, select all that apply, and short answer questions. The options utilized for the multiple choice and select all that apply questions were pre-selected at the discretion of the authors. The questions were related to the respondents’ pathways to industry, including year of graduation and occupation prior to first industry position (industry fellowship or other pharmacy occupation) and characteristics of the respondents’ first industry position including functional area, level of position, and compensation (including salary range and additional benefits). The results of this survey are descriptive in nature.
A total of 69 industry pharmacists responded, and within the dataset the graduation year spanned roughly 4 decades (1975 - 2018), with 43.5% (n=30) who graduated between 2010-2018. Of the 33 industry pharmacists who did not complete a Pharm.D. fellowship, 39.4% (n=13) worked in a community or retail pharmacy setting prior, while 33.3% (n=11) worked in the pharmaceutical industry as their first position. Medical Affairs (39.1%, n=27) was the most common functional area for both groups. Fifty-three percent of previous fellows (n=19) had the title of “Manager or equivalent” for their first industry position, whereas “Associate or equivalent” was the most common title (33.3%, n=11) for those who did not complete a fellowship. The most common salary range for previous fellows was $100,000-$124,000 compared to the salary for pharmacists who did not complete a fellowship, which was less than $74,999. However, salary differences may be attributable to graduation year, as baseline salaries have increased in recent years. Both cohorts of industry pharmacists confirmed that they had been offered additional compensation benefits including, but not limited to, 401K matching, tuition reimbursement, stock options, pension, and a signing bonus.
For pharmacists in the pharmaceutical industry, there is a large variability that exists regarding the characteristics of one’s first position and the path to get there. The popularity and adoption of fellowship programs have increased in recent decades, leading to a greater number of industry pharmacists beginning their career in the industry as opposed to coming from other areas of pharmacy. Subsequent research should aim to further characterize the roles and responsibilities for pharmacists looking to enter industry in order to facilitate the entry of competent providers into this profession.