Role in Academia is a prestigious one. Pharmacists joining the academic sphere educate, train, assess and develop next-generation pharmacy students. One has to use and apply pharmacy knowledge along with expertise to teach them through a variety of teaching methods.

Role also includes administrative activities, conducting and supervising research activities, speaking in scientific venues, publishing research papers, advising students, arranging variety of activities (admission, alumni relations, placement coordination etc)

Professors have certain minimum requirements to be able to fulfil this role. Only those teachers with M.Pharm/Pharm.D or Ph.D qualifications recognized by the Pharmacy Council of India who have undergone B.Pharm course from an institution approved by the Pharmacy Council of India under Section 12 of the Pharmacy Act,1948 shall be recognised as pharmacy teachers.

Skills required: Interest in teaching and imparting knowledge, good oratory /explaining skills, good communication skills (writing), ability to work in a team, etc.

Clinical research provides scientific analysis of the impact, risks and benefits of medicines or a medicinal product. Clinical research, a knowledge-intensive and booming sector of the industry, helps find new and better ways to detect, diagnose, treat, and prevent disease. 
Clinical research, also referred to as Clinical trials in India, involves testing of drugs on research participants or volunteers. The Drug Controller of India (DCGI) is the top authority who grants approval for clinical trials. It is one of the sectors growing at an astonishing rate and opening up a wide scope of employment opportunities for trained professionals.
Usually Clinical research is often outsourced by Pharma companies to CROs (Contract Research Organisations). The CRO performs the clinical trials on behalf of the company in collaboration with the Site / Hospital or Site Management Organization (SMO). Thus, there are varied options available in Clinical Research – example: Clinical Research Associate, Site Coordinators, Biostatisticians, Research Site Manager, Clinical Data Manager, etc.
Strong technical knowledge, planning, execution, ability to work with a team, logical/analytical thinking, excellent communication skills are some of the skills required in this space.

Kindly read about Clinical Research – this will help us to understand Clinical Data Management better.

Clinical data management (CDM) is a critical phase in Clinical Research which leads to generation of superior quality, reliable and statistically sound data. CDM is to ensure the validity of clinical trial data and format them for statistical purposes.

This helps to produce a drastic reduction in time from drug development to marketing. CDM team is involved with the Clinical research team at all stages from commencement till accomplishment. In simple terms, Clinical data management is the process of data collection, cleaning/ validation and management of subject data in compliance with regulatory standards. Errors and missing records should be kept as low as possible to gather maximum data for analysis. For e.g. Subject data like age, gender, height, weight etc. cannot be missed out while collecting data. These demographic details will also be crucial while analysing and evaluating data. There are software tools used for managing such crucial data.

Strong technical knowledge, logical/analytical thinking, project management, computer knowledge, database maintenance including data entry, data cleaning and data validation, ability to work with a team, excellent communication skills are some of the skills required in this space.

The broad scope of digital health includes categories such as mobile health, health information technology (IT), wearable devices, telehealth and telemedicine.

Services ranging from mobile medical apps and software that support the clinical decisions doctors make every day to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), digital technology has been revolutionising healthcare in the past decade. Digital health tools have the vast potential to improve the ability to accurately diagnose and treat disease and to enhance the delivery of healthcare for the individual.

Digital health technologies use computing platforms, connectivity, software, and sensors for healthcare and related uses. These technologies span a wide range of uses, from applications in general wellness to applications as a medical device. They include technologies intended for use as a medical product, in a medical product, as companion diagnostics, or as an adjunct to other medical products (devices, drugs, and biologics). They may also be used to develop or study medical products.

Digital tools are giving providers a more holistic view of patient health through access to data and giving patients more control over their health. Digital health offers real opportunities to improve medical outcomes and enhance efficiency.

Domain knowledge, Information Technology knowledge, ability to apply the digital health tools prudently for better treatment outcomes, ability to work with a team, execution, analytical skills, excellent communication are some of the skills required to have a satisfying career in this field.

Public health is increasingly gaining importance in this century, more so in recent times. Beyond management of well-known ailments and lifestyle diseases, healthcare professionals across the world and more recently in India, are looking at ways to improve public health in order to make a change in the overall healthcare system. Epidemiology and Biostatistics, are therefore emerging as new branches of study in the life sciences arena.
a) Epidemiology is the study of diseases in populations. The three main aims of epidemiology are:
  • to describe disease patterns in human populations;
  • to identify the causes of diseases (also known as etiology);
  • to provide data essential for the management, evaluation and planning of services for the prevention, control and treatment of disease.
In an epidemiological study, the investigators try to determine if any factor is associated with the health effect. Therefore, epidemiologists try to compare groups of people who are alike except for the risk factor under evaluation. The work of Epidemiologists include:
  • developing or refining methods of measuring and evaluating disease occurrences;
  • develop and recommend public health policy;
  • study or research chronic diseases, infectious diseases, disease outbreaks, injuries, occupations, and environments, among other functions.
b) Biostatistics is the branch of statistics related to medical and health applications. Biostatistics supports the methodologies used in epidemiological investigations and research. The responsibilities of biostatisticians include:
  • develop and apply statistical methods to scientific research in health-related fields, including medicine, epidemiology, and public health.
  • designing studies and analysing data from research problems.
  • help formulate the scientific questions to be answered, determine appropriate sampling techniques, coordinate data collection procedures
  • conduct statistical analyses to answer those scientific questions.
In order to embark on a career in epidemiology and biostatistics, one needs to specialise in the study of this particular branch of study either through post graduate and doctoral studies or a certificate course at least. One needs to have a keen interest in research studies, analysis & statistics and public health & administration to have a satisfying career experience.
Healthcare consulting is the process of sharing expertise, giving advice, and guiding healthcare organizations and / or healthcare service providers to make business decisions that promote growth and benefit their customers, patients and other external stakeholders.
The Healthcare consultant collaborates with clients to create and implement strategies to help them resolve their challenges and achieve their goals efficiently, effectively, and professionally. Healthcare consultants need to have the necessary knowledge and background on healthcare laws, regulations, and policies to effectively help organizations and hospitals run their businesses efficiently and effectively.
This can be done as an independent consultant or working in consulting organisations which employ several consultants.  Depending upon the size of the organisation, one can work on a multitude of fields within the healthcare sector or become specialised in a particular area of the sector. Some areas within the industry for which consultants are engaged include strategic business decisions, sales & marketing, regulatory functions, payer / insurance provider strategies, technology, supply chain, public health, hospital management etc.
Consulting can be a prestigious and rewarding career for the right person. It demands high energy levels at work, ability to think creatively and analytically, strong communication and networking skills and excellent mathematical skills. Besides, one should be able to constantly enhance and update their skills to remain relevant in the changing environment.

Health Insurance is an interesting area which is not evaluated by many pharmacists.
There is a career for pharmacists in this sector. Freshers start with jobs as ‘Underwriters’ and thus play a vital role in evaluating health insurance policies. One needs to examine documents to find out the degree of risk from applicant’s financial worth and medical health (manage risk assessment), manage the turnaround time and quality of underwriting cases, field investigation (visiting applicant/ patient/corporates). One can also learn how to go about in cases of calamity, evaluate the possibility of losses in such cases or excessive insurance.
Skills required are technical know-how, ability to read and interpret medical reports, good communication skills.

Healthcare Investment Banking refers to services when bankers advise companies in the biotech, pharmaceutical, medical device, healthcare service/facility, and healthcare IT markets on mergers, acquisitions, and debt and equity capital issuances.
Under its investment banking services, banks/institutions categorise healthcare as one industry and the healthcare team execute all types of transactions (M&A, debt, equity, and more).
Investment banking analysts, Equity research analysts and Venture capitalist fund analysts focussed on the healthcare sector is an opportunity which is emerging in a big way in banks and financial institutions. For students with a life-science background, these are therefore, non-traditional career paths.
Equity research analysts monitor a set of companies within a given industry, speak with institutional investors and management teams, create and update financial models, and write equity research reports. Teams that concentrate on healthcare industry related companies are referred to as healthcare equity research analysts.
Venture capitalists (VCs) raise capital from Limited Partners, such as pension funds, endowments, and family offices, and then invest in early-stage, high-growth-potential companies in exchange for equity (i.e., ownership in the companies). Then, they aim to grow these companies and eventually exit via acquisitions or initial public offerings (IPOs). As one would imagine, Healthcare VCs specifically invest in healthcare industry related companies / projects from their fund.
While all the above roles can generally be done by non-healthcare background individuals, having knowledge of the industry and its functioning as well as the basic life sciences background is a big advantage for such roles. However, gaining an entry into such functions will need additional skill sets and higher educational qualifications. Additionally, one needs to be very strong in their analytical, mathematical and research skills with a passion for deal-making and negotiations.
One of the most critical verticals of the pharmaceutical industry is the Production and Manufacturing component of the industry.
Drug manufacturing is the process of industrial-scale synthesis of pharmaceutical drugs as part of the pharmaceutical industry. The process of drug manufacturing can be broken down into a series of unit operations, such as milling, granulation, coating, tablet pressing, and others.
In order to be successful in the Production role, one has to understand all the processes in detail as well as have the ability to execute large scale production consistently batch after batch. It is important that the production personnel are extremely shrewd and focussed on delivering a high-quality end product that matches the standards laid down by the company. They should be well versed with the various techniques of production and also keep themselves updated on the advancement in processes and technology within the industry. Nuances of this department can be learnt only through hands-on experience on the shop floor and as time passes one should learn to adapt to the needs of the situation at breakneck speed.
This is a fairly broad term for a wide range of sub functions. Every organisation relies on the marketing and selling of its products to increase its profitability and market share at the marketplace. Hence this activity of sales and marketing takes on significant importance in any organisation. The various functions under this department include:
  • Product management and marketing
  • Sales
  • International marketing
  • Digital marketing.
a) Product Management or Brand Management:
This is a critical component of the marketing department. The entire portfolio of the company is divided into various categories (depending upon the nature of business) and each one of them is handled by Product / Brand Managers. In essence, therefore, the Product Manager is responsible for anything and everything regarding the product. This can be enlisted as :
  • Research on the plausible brand names when a molecule is conceived to be launched by the company to every aspect in the product’s making and finally the launch at the marketplace,
  • Continuous communication with the R & D or the Production team as well as the costing and packaging team and the medical team
  • Ensure that the product to be launched is RIGHT in every aspect; not just in efficacy but in look, feel and price at the marketplace.
  • Plan every minute detail of the promotion and launch of the product once it is ready
  • Formulate and strategize for every activity at the market place post the launch of the brand into its entire life cycle.
A successful Brand Manager, therefore, is a good communicator, has the ability to take the initiative and lead a team, is creative, has planning and scheduling skills, is capable of working in conjunction with varied departments and can perform under extreme pressure.
b) Sales Function: Working in coordination with the marketing department is the Sales function of any organisation. The sales team is the one who brings in revenue for the organisation and is responsible for the image of the brand as well as the company at the marketplace. The team comprises the personnel at the ground level beginning with the sales / medical representatives to the Managers at different levels – all of whom ultimately is the responsibility of the Country Sales Manager. Generally, one grows through the ranks of this team to reach the pinnacle of the sales function.
The sales team :
  • Coordinates with the marketing and accounting team at the corporate office as well as the various partners of the distribution network at the marketplace.
  • Serve as the ambassador of the product or the company to the customer.
  • Understands the pulse of the market and is the primary source for information on competitive market practices.
Hence, to excel in this function one needs to be agile, alert, vigilant in addition to having good communication, persuasion and convincing abilities. One should also be proficient in documentation, logistic management and in numbers so as to track the sales of every SKU of the product portfolio.
c) International Marketing:
The sales and marketing function described above is mainly for any local or domestic market. Broadly, when the same role is performed at the global level it would be referred to as international marketing. When a company markets the products internationally, the personnel involved in the team are generally responsible for the sales and marketing functions. The person should be completely conversant with the geographical territory in which he/she will be operating, should be knowledgeable of the preferences of the customers in that region as well as should be aware of the distribution and regulatory policies of the region.
While this function demands all qualities necessary for the sales and marketing role described above, it is important that he/she also has the ability to spot the business opportunities ahead of competition and is able to create the need for his / her product range.
d) Digital Marketing:
This role is a sub function of the broad marketing function of a company. Changing times call for new adaptations and digital marketing in healthcare is a perfect example of the same. While it is difficult for traditional marketing of healthcare products to be completely replaced in the Indian market, digital marketing is now seen to ably complement the traditional marketing by representatives. This mode of marketing is mainly done to have direct contact with the customer (who is very knowledgeable) and address the specific needs or requirements.
In order to perform this role well, one needs to be additionally tech savvy and should be able to integrate the marketing tools used for promotion in an effective way, both in terms of content quality and costs.
Market research in the Pharmaceutical industry provides clear understanding about the market, target group viz. Doctors, Surgeons, Patients, Hospitals, Para medical staff, Trade, Competition etc. and thus improve the overall healthcare market experience. Targeting the right customers is crucial and thus market research helps.
Market Research involves systematic collection of data from the target group and analysing the data to uncover market insights.
Market research is conducted at various stages. For example:
  • Before launching new products and/or services; exploring the market for the same.
  • To develop marketing/business plans.
  • To identify how a current/existing product is performing in the market,
  • To expand in to new geographies/ markets,
  • To create advertising and communication plans,
  • To identify any problem areas in other departments within the company (e.g. production)
Someone with curious/ inquisitive and analytical bent of mind can think of exploring this field. One needs to be open about collecting data skilfully/ truthfully, have good communication skills and focus on the details required by the clients/ pharma companies. Ability to interpret data and understand information collected is an added skill.
Medical Coding is an interesting field for freshers and involves the transformation of healthcare diagnosis, procedures, medical services, and equipment into universal medical alphanumeric codes.
For Medical coding, the diagnosis and procedure codes are taken from medical record documentation such as transcription of physician’s notes, laboratory and radiologic results, etc. It can thus be an interesting field for freshers.
Qualities /Skills required for a Medical Coder are: Good listening and communication skills, attention to detail, comprehending/ understanding the medical terminologies, computer knowledge, ability to work with a team.
Pharmacovigilance (PV) is defined as the science of collecting, monitoring, researching, assessing and evaluating information from healthcare providers and patients on the adverse effects of medications, biological products, blood products, herbals, vaccines, medical devices, traditional and complementary medicines.
The purpose of PV is to identify new information about hazards associated with products and preventing harm to patients. No degree of care and caution at the pre-clinical and clinical testing stages can guarantee absolute safety, when a drug is marketed and prescribed to large populations. Continuous monitoring of drug effects, side effects, contraindications are essential to maximize benefits and minimize risks. Since clinical trials involve several thousands of patients at most, less common side effects and ADRs are often unknown at the time a drug enters the market. Post marketing PV uses tools such as data mining and investigation of case reports to identify the relationships between drugs and ADRs.
While pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies must monitor and proactively estimate and manage drug risk throughout a product’s lifecycle, the drug regulatory agencies have the responsibility of having a well-established PV system to monitor ADRs during the drug development phase and later during the lifetime of a marketed drug.
With the challenge of maximizing drug safety and maintaining public confidence becoming increasingly complex in this century, the PV function has become an important public health issue as every stakeholder is faced with a number of challenges. As India remains the largest producer of pharmaceuticals, it is also emerging as an important clinical trial hub in the world; hence the PV role is getting more prominence and continues to grow, evolve and improve.
To be successful in the PV role, one thus needs to be strong in their fundamentals and be updated on the latest developments in the area of drug research. Besides these one has to be good at liaising, communicating and collaborating with multiple stakeholders.

Public Health and Hospital Management is an important aspect in healthcare industry. It covers the administrative and managerial capacities, organisational structures and systems needed to finance and deliver health services more efficiently, effectively, and rightly to the community.
There are separate hospital management courses which enables freshers to explore and understand this area better. To explain in an easy manner – Hospital management is concerned with the administration, coordination, planning, staffing, evaluating and controlling of various health services for the general public. They provide quality healthcare to people and manage costs too. They have to manage doctors/physicians, surgeons, all the para-medical staff and various departments and at the same time manage expectations and meet healthcare needs of people/patients.
Key skills needed are: great communication skills (written and verbal), inclination to solve organisational problems, ability to work in a team, etc.

This is a critical vertical of the pharmaceutical industry – an essential crux to maintaining quality levels in selection of key ingredients /raw materials and also during production and manufacturing.
Quality control involves a number of techniques to ensure identity of right raw materials/drugs, its strength, quality and purity. Quality assurance involves the development and implementation of a system that provides certainty in a product’s quality and safety.
The laboratory analysis might range from simple chemical tests to complicated ones from the respective Pharmacopoeia (e.g.IP, USP, BP, etc). This department’s responsibility is also to develop analytical methods, conduct stability studies, perform In-process quality control (IPQC) in the Manufacturing/ Production department so that regular and random checks are carried out during production and ensure quality drugs/products are being manufactured consistently.
Efficacy, Safety, Quality and Compliance are the key factors in QC. In order to excel in this department, one has to be focussed, active, work accurately, systematically, be responsive and have an eye for detail to identify any flaws/errors/defects in the screening of materials or during manufacturing.

We know medicines play a critical role in a human’s life and thus going through the regulatory system is of utmost importance.
Regulatory Affairs is an essential body to approve drugs, maintain drug/ product compliance and their records. Right from all stages of drug development till its marketing, all activities are highly regulated.
Throughout the drug development stages, pharmaceutical companies have to abide by an array of strict rules and guidelines in order to ensure quality, safety and efficacy of the drug in humans. Regulatory Affairs also ensures the maintenance of the marketing licence and leads life cycle extension activities such as broadening the indication of the drug, change of formulation, changes in the dosage, etc.
In this highly regulated environment, regulatory professionals have to work with the authorities and different departments within the company in order to meet regulatory commitments with the health authorities. Regulatory Affairs is a great career choice for those who can do the documentation, keep a track of the ongoing activities for each drug, have good communication skills and team work to deal with all the departments.
The R&D department is responsible for the development of a manufacturing process by which the intended product will be manufactured. Based upon the R&D trials / studies, a protocol would be developed which is unique and not breaching any existing patent.
R & D involves new product development/innovations, improving current products/brands as per market demands.
Thus, it involves keeping a track of new and developing trends, and understand what competition is doing. R & D department is thus crucial for companies to maintain competitiveness in the market. One needs to have strong conceptual knowledge, information about formulation processes and standards. Should work as per protocols, be focussed, have ability to document details. Documentation is important from a regulatory point of view.
Planning, execution, verification/ validation are key parameters needed.
Retail pharmacy is defined as the selling of medicines against prescriptions in a retail shop. Essentially in India, it is referred to as a chemist shop. To run a chemist shop in India one needs to be a licensed pharmacist.
Retail pharmacy in India is still not as big as it is in the West. However, with privatisation of hospitals and e-pharmacies also emerging in a big way across the country, retail chain pharmacies seem like a lucrative business proposition. Thus, if one wants to become an entrepreneur, retail pharmacy is certainly a good option.
To be successful in this business one needs to have the proper vision of identifying the need and adapting oneself to the changing needs and practices of the market. Besides adequate resources, one should be skilled at people management, communication, inventory control and managing finances.
Supply chain management is “the strategic management of activities involved in the acquisition and conversion of materials to finished products delivered to the customer”.
Effective pharmaceutical distribution relies on good system design and good management because distributing and storing medicines, supplies, and equipment is complex and important.
The pharmaceutical procurement system is a major determinant of pharmaceutical availability and total pharmaceutical costs. An effective procurement process helps ensure the availability of the right medicines in the right quantities, at reasonable prices, and at recognized standards of quality. When it comes to distributing medicines, the primary goal is to maintain a steady supply of pharmaceuticals and supplies to facilities where they are needed, while ensuring that resources are being used in the most effective way. The distribution cycle begins when pharmaceuticals are dispatched by the manufacturer or supplier. It ends when medicine consumption information is reported back to the procurement unit.
Considered as an integral part of the manufacturing process, the supply chain management role encompasses coordination with varied departments within the organisation to ensure the manufacturing to delivery of finished goods at the market place takes place in a smooth manner. Operational management skills, communication with internal and external stakeholders, planning ability are a few of the many key requirements to succeed in this function.