Moving into the Pharmaceutical industry


After working within community pharmacy for over 4 years, I felt it was time for a change in 2012. It was time for me to explore the pharmaceutical industry. I remembered from my time at Kings College University  the excitement I gained from working in the lab. But, was that where I wanted to go? I wasn’t sure, did working in the pharmaceutical industry as a pharmacist only offer lab work.  I became curious and knew I had to learn more. All I was certain of was that I wanted a change- I was tired of spending every day within four small walls! I wanted to actually have a break and be-able to have lunch without having a store manager saying you can only have lunch in the pharmacy. I wanted to be appreciated for what I did, I loved my patients and felt pharmacy was becoming too commercial.


I began to explore different roles within the pharmaceutical industry. I discovered and . I began to research what roles the industry offered a pharmacist, and I have tried to summarise them into the following:

Medical Regulatory Business Others
Medical information Regulatory affairs sales Management roles
Medical affairs Medical writing  Market access Health Technology Assessment
Medical science liaisons Auditor Medical advisors Health economics
Medical/scientific advisors Compliance – Qualified persons Marketing Clinical Research Associate
Drug safety Quality assurance roles Medical Reps
Medical writing  

Brand Management


Medical science liaisons



Once, I had explored the roles, I engaged with these opportunities. I made a list of their requirements, and compared these skills to what I already had and found that I had most of these skills already from working in a pharmacy- some skills I used in pharmacy everyday. These transferable skills, where ideal but, I still lacked industry defined knowledge.  So, I invested time in reading about the ABPI code of practice and learning about terms such as pharmacovigillance. I invested £600 pounds to pursue a diploma in PAGB OTC healthcare and spent more money joining PIPA  (a professional body) to pursue a course in drug safety. These investments did not guarantee a job, nor, did it mean I would be able to get one. But, I felt it was important, that I understood the industry I wished to work, I then began to apply, hoping that these additional skills would make me more attractive to an employer.


Don’t be afraid to fail!

I think, I applied constantly for 50 jobs, and waited for 6 months.  Some agencies, refused to put my application forward because, they stated the old cliché, and ‘you don’t have any experience’. Like seriously, which came first, the chicken or the egg? Somebody gave you a chance, that’s all that went through my mind. But, it was important that I continued to try and not give up. I finally had an interview, and was unsuccessful, again due to the same cliché. But, then I realised that during my interview, I lacked a certain degree of confidence to convince the interviewers that I am the right person. So, I invested even more time developing my communication and competency based interview skills. I studied the industry role, I wished to pursue and read about the future of the industry. To find out how to choose the right career in life science click here

Please take 5 minutes to watch the video below.



Ade S Tojuola MpharmS, MBA


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