What do you do?
I am currently working part-time as Medical Director, covering Northern Europe and working part-time as a consultant.
What qualifications and experience do you have?
I am medically qualified with post-graduate qualifications in General medicine and Pharmaceutical medicine.
I also have a certificate in Company Directorship from the Institute of Directors.
BA BM BCh MRCP FFPM Cert IoD
What does your typical day involve?
A mixture of meetings with the UK company leadership team on management topics, meetings with my team to coach and guide them through their work, meetings on specific topics and work on promotional materials and meetings.
This type of day is interspersed with time away from the office at scientific congresses or other meetings such as meetings at the ABPI.
How has your career developed since you entered the industry?
I joined the industry as a medical advisor then became focussed on people management. From medical advisor I became Head of Medical Affairs, then Head of National medicine. I then moved overseas to be Medical Director in the Netherlands then the Nordics. Subsequently I moved to company Headquarters in Germany to be head of a global department.
Upon returning to the UK, I changed companies and am now Medical Director for Northern Europe.
When did you decide on a career in the pharmaceutical industry?
I worked for a year as a laboratory assistant in pharmaceutical formulation laboratories before going to medical school. During this year, I interacted with medics in the industry and became interested in the industry as a possible career path. I made the decision to go into the industry whilst I was a Senior House Officer.
Do you work mostly on your own or as part of team?
Over 75% of my time is spent with other people in different teams such as the medical team, brand teams and company leadership team.
What is it like socially where you work?
There is a friendly atmosphere where everyone knows each other by first name.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I am proud of the diversity of experience that I have. I really appreciate having new and varied challenges and my career has reflected this.
Do you think additional qualifications or experience would be an advantage for someone entering the industry now?
Companies will provide training on specific knowledge needed to be a pharmaceutical physician. The most important aspect is the persons approach and willingness to learn and work in a different environment.
What do you think the most important skills are for someone in your role?
Ability to enjoy adapting change which may be in the organisational structure, in the clinical development plan of the product you are responsible for, in the external environment
Ability to enjoy being part of a team and learning from others without being the leader of the team
What one piece of advice would you give to someone seeking a career in the pharmaceutical industry?
Medics are part of a cross-functional team with other disciplines and will often be in project teams led by a non-medic. This requires medics to collaborate with others who may not be healthcare professionals.
The biggest difference between working in the NHS and industry is that there is no pre-defined career path based on length of service. How a career develops in the industry depends on how someone performs and their areas of interest. You define your own career.
There is a great shortage of qualified occupational health nurses so it’s a great career to get in to.