THE WAY I SEE ITDermatology to drug developmentHowMonicaShaw moved from the NHS                                           ...
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Dermatology to Drug Development


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Advice and information from Monica Shaw who moved from the NHS into the private sector.

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Dermatology to Drug Development

  1. 1. THE WAY I SEE ITDermatology to drug developmentHowMonicaShaw moved from the NHS As part of theAbout six months ago I resigned from my job as Pharmaceutical Industry code of practice, whicha dermatology senior house o cer to work as outlines do’s and don’ts for the pharmaceutical clinical developmenta medical adviser for a drug company. When I industry and handles any complaints by doctors, department, I amtold friends I was leaving the NHS, most were other companies, or the general public. Although concerned with phaseencouraging, a few were disparaging, but all had it’s much smaller than the Oxford Textbook of III and IV trials andlittle idea of what my new job would entail on a day Medicine, it contains guidance on every situation have input into studyto day basis or what it might o er me. faced by the pharmaceutical industry during their interaction with members of the healthcare protocols and designDermatology to drug development profession. In particular, my job helps to ensureI came across an advertisement in the BMJ which that the company does not exaggerate ordescribed a job concerned with multicentre misrepresent data and that our representatives areclinical trials and the development and marketing trained to present the data appropriately.of newly produced medicines, with attendanceat medical conferences; there were no nights Backroom teamon call. The catch? I would have to leave clinical Representatives are the face of the pharmaceuticalmedicine and join the pharmaceutical industry. industry; as doctors we are sometimes lessUp until then I had a limited understanding of the aware of the huge number of people that workindustry, which I had acquired through lunchtime behind them. As well as marketers and salesmeetings where our focus was on the free pens. managers there are people who focus on drugOver the next couple of weeks I looked at the discovery, licensing, safety of medicines, clinicalvast amount of information available on the web. development, health economics, and informationDoctors within the pharmaceutical industry were for the public and for doctors. Through interactinginvariably helpful and gave me personal insights with them I have gained new skills, in particularinto their experiences. Within six weeks of that business and management knowledge that I hadadvertisement, I had joined a recruitment agency, not been exposed to before. Being pitched to by anhad my interview, and was o ered a post as a advertising agency was certainly a new experience.medical adviser. Work with patient groupsWorking at the cutting edge of new medication Although I no longer see patients, the industry isThe pharmaceutical industry has a variety heavily involved in delivering better health care.of jobs, including working in phase I units, I am currently participating in a working grouptrial development at all phases, helping to for the Association of the British Pharmaceuticalmarket drugs already licensed, and monitoring Industry, which, in conjunction with Diabetes UK, ispharmacovigilance. Working for a medium sized producing a national scheme to encourage patientspharmaceutical company has enabled me to work to ask about their diabetes several areas and keep any two days from beingthe same. I am concerned with multiple products Continuing educationacross the cardiology, diabetes, and respiratory Unlike my old job, I am now based in an o ce, butspecialties. I enjoy keeping up to date with these on average one day a week is devoted to visitingtreatment areas and have a greater awareness of consultants and general practitioners to discussthe evidence than when I was practising. As part trials, going to medical conferences, or attending FURTHER INFORMATIONof the clinical development department, I am training courses. The Faculty of Pharmaceutical • givesconcerned with phase III and IV trials and have Medicine now aligns higher medical training with a comprehensive list of jobs,input into study protocols and design. I also help that of every other specialty. I am therefore in the companies, and pharmaceuticalallocate resources to clinicians wanting to set up process of applying for a national training number newstheir own investigations. in pharmaceutical medicine, and at the end of • Faculty of four years (via an exam) I should be awarded a Pharmaceutical MedicineEnsuring accuracy of promotional materials certi cate of completion of specialist training. • BritishA major part of my job is supporting the marketing The only absolute requirement for a job in the Association of Pharmaceutical Physiciansteam. This is the area that was really new to pharmaceutical industry is to be registered withme. I was unaware that all advertisements, the GMC and have two years’ experience. Research Monica Shawrepresentative training manuals, sales aids, or business experience are not necessary, but Medical Adviser,meetings, and even pens must be reviewed by a the industry does look for highly motivated, hard- Merck Pharmaceuticals,doctor before being released. I now assess these working individuals. It may be an option for doctors West Draytonitems according to the Association of the British looking for a less clinically oriented pathway.BMJ CAREERS 17 MARCH 2007 99