Pharmacy courses evolved overtime to cater to the increasing demand of the pharma industry. Pharmacists can seek career option in various departments (namely: Production, Quality Control, Research and Development, Sales and Marketing, Medical Affairs, Regulatory Affairs, Market Access) within a pharma organization. The options vary from being subject intensive to getting commercially oriented. Knowledge of process and operations, industry and disease areas are critical for success depending on the department you choose. You can start your own company too or help someone to set it up.
Lot of pharmacists go on to become drug controllers and help bring in rules and regulations governing storage and dispensing of drugs. Pharmacy councils also have Drug Information Centres which need researchers to answer queries.
Pharmacists are required in all pharmacies to dispense medications. It can be community pharmacy, retail pharmacy or hospital pharmacy. Many pharmacists choose to be entrepreneurs and open their own retail pharmacy/chain of stores/dealership.
Academia: Teaching is an evergreen profession. Pharmacists with a passion for teaching contribute in educating and training future pharmacists. Many of my friends are in this profession and are doing very well.
Clinical Research Industry:
Clinical trial design, coordination and analysis requires a team of investigators, clinical research coordinators, pharmacists, and clinical research associates. PharmD course trains pharmacists to use their expertise and collaborate with investigators on pharmaceutical aspects such as drug composition, dosage, administration, contraindications, adverse effects and interactions of drugs under investigation.
These include companies providing services to the pharma industry.
Lot of organisations provide products that are consumed by pharma companies for taking strategic decisions across a product life cycle. Pharmacist can be an integrated part of such organisations to gather, organise and update information related to drugs which are subscribed by the pharma companies.
Market Research Companies:
Healthcare market research involves interviewing physicians, patients, subject matter experts and other stakeholders. Knowledge of drugs and diseases will definitely provide an edge to Pharmacists interested in primary research to do well in this profession by organising and gathering insights through various modes of research.
Research and Analytics Service Providers:
The Knowledge Process Outsourcing industry has opened up a lot of opportunities in desk research, primary market research, competitive intelligence, information sciences, medical, scientific and regulatory writing, training material preparation, patent analysis/research, forecasting, marketing analytics, digital analytics, advanced analytics, sales force analytics, business intelligence outputs, data integration and insights using Real World Evidence, health economics, market access, Medicaid/managed care and so on. There are short-term and long-term projects with onsite/offshore opportunities of engagement.
Pure play consulting is also an option where the research and analytical skills are used to provide strategic and actionable insights on the specific business problem.
Pharmacists with a flair for writing can definitely do a course in Journalism and get into Healthcare Journalism. It may be a niche segment, nonetheless suitable for pharmacists who understand the healthcare sector.
There are opportunities available in the public health field if you do a course in public health. There may be projects from WHO, UN, Melinda Gates foundation, etc. which might need pharmacists/on field researchers.
Overall, pharmacists can try any profession that combine drug, disease, healthcare industry knowledge and explore opportunities for overall development. I started my career as a medical representative, moved into brand management and then into the service sector. I have gained knowledge in various roles and it has helped me become a better professional who is customer oriented and understands their need. I have absolutely no regrets on being a pharmacist.