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The Pharmaceutical Industry?

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Many peers have asked me the same question over the past few years: why do you want to work in the pharmaceutical industry?  This was often the natural response, after those around me discovered the summer placement and eventually pre-reg training I was to complete. I am far from surprised by the response I received, as a desire to enter the pharmaceutical industry is often a rare occurrence in a cohort of pharmacy students.  The more traditional outlook of a pharmacy graduate is working in either the community or hospital sector.  I myself had no intention of entering the pharmaceutical industry upon starting my degree.  My reasons to study pharmacy and my objectives after graduation, I am certain, would have mirrored the majority of the 200+ students in my cohort. Within the first few months of university life, I had found a subject matter I enjoyed, was intrigued by and wanted to explore further.  I found myself fascinated by the science behind the development of medicines.  Whilst many questioned the relevance to a future career in pharmacy, I often disagreed as I understood the importance.  My interpretation of a pharmacist is an expert in medicines.  The Oxford English dictionary defines an expert as ‘a person who is very knowledgeable about or skilful in a particular area.’  Without pharmaceutics knowledge, I would be unable to explain fundamental concepts and would resent being labelled as an expert.  Thankfully, the science of medicines and their development is a mandatory requirement as part of the GPhC MPharm course accreditation. As a future pharmacist, I believe a greater knowledge of the science behind medicines; can only be a positive feature in my career.  To understand how medicines work, from not only a pharmacology perspective, allows the best possible outcome for a patient. Why can I not chew this tablet? How come I don’t have to take this as often as my previous one?Can I open the capsule and sprinkle the contents on food? These are just a few simple and common questions which may be asked by patients.  Each of the answers to these is pharmaceutics based and without that knowledge, could not be answered.  The diversity of patients and variety of their knowledge means pharmacists’ understanding is critical, in being able to explain dosage form technologies to all.  This is also becoming increasingly pertinent in following NICE CG76 by increasing patients understanding as a means of improving adherence. The aspect of bringing the science of medicines development into a daily clinical environment is just one of the many reasons I personally have chosen an industrial pre-registration training post.  There often seems to be a great disconnect seen between the industry and community/hospital pharmacy.  This hopefully gives a brief awareness of how industry and clinical environments set out to achieve a mutual goal – to deliver the best possible patient care.

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