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Your career

Could you imagine a world without medicines? Probably not. But it’s only been in the past 60 years that the modern medicines that we rely on today were discovered and developed.

In 1940, Alexander Fleming led the way into modern medicine after he discovered a type of mould that killed some microbes. This led to the development of penicillin and the world’s first antibiotic.

Since then, advances in medical knowledge and scientific technology mean that people all over the world are living longer and healthier lives. It is partly due to the pharmaceutical industry that many of the world’s most devastating diseases have been wiped out. Patients with conditions that once would have meant a death sentence, now have a chance of treatment, thanks to modern medicines.

The pharmaceutical industry is a major employer

As well as helping to treat disease, the pharmaceutical industry is a major employer. Currently, in Britain, the industry directly employs around 67,000 people with many more in related industries. The great thing about working in pharmaceuticals is the scope of careers to choose from, and not just for those with an interest in science. Skilled personnel including chemists, biologists, lawyers, pharmacists, engineers, software developers, sales and marketing experts and information specialists are all working together to make a difference to millions of lives.

Find out what people working in different areas do by looking at case studies of people working in the industry, or get an overview of the different areas in Working in the industry.

Whichever stage you are at in your education, we have careers information tailored to your needs:


Case study

Industrial Placement (Medicinal Chemist)

James, Industrial Placement Medicinal ChemistI am in my fourth year of a five-year Masters degree in Chemistry and Drug Discovery at Strathclyde University. I am 10 months into an industrial placement year in a pharmaceutical company.