Physician jobs in pharma: how you can make the switch

By Jonathan Ford Hughes | Fact-checked by MDLinx staff
Published October 6, 2022

Key Takeaways

  • If you're looking for a career change, a job in the pharmaceutical industry may be right for you.

  • You may serve on advisory boards, or fill a speaking role.

  • Pharma work may also involve research and clinical trials.

What should you do if you want to put your medical degree to good use outside of a traditional healthcare setting? Consulting for a pharmaceutical company might be the cure for what’s ailing your career. Have you considered any of these physician jobs in pharma?

We've put together this interview with a physician communication consultant who is an expert on the topic. Below is a condensed version for time-starved doctors.

Opportunities for physicians to consult in pharma abound, but not every opportunity is a good fit. That depends on your area of expertise and level of experience in that area.

Advisory boards

Pharmaceutical companies employ physicians for their advisory boards. These positions typically pay well, but specialists at the top of their fields often hold them. Advisory board physicians help determine the best applications for products or research new indications to be approved by the FDA.

If you manage to land an advisory board position, you’ll also build clinical trials, specify primary and secondary trial outcomes, review trial data and keep tabs on trial data for problems.

Speaking, research, and marketing roles

Big pharma needs doctors with good communication skills. Companies often will hire doctors to present to physicians at meetings about specific products. Pharmaceutical company size and level of physician engagement typically determine the availability of these positions.

Regarding those trials that physician members of advisory boards are coordinating: Somebody has to actually carry them out. Pharmaceutical companies will often employ physicians to do this.

If clinical work is something you’re looking to get away from, you could always put your communication skills to work. The government heavily regulates pharmaceutical advertising and marketing, and pharma companies are always looking for doctors who can understand their products and write about them in ways that don’t violate the law.

How to find physician jobs in pharma

Work your network if you want to land one of these jobs. Scroll through your contacts and LinkedIn connections to see who you know who’s working in Pharma. Having a connection already in the industry goes a long way in getting your foot in the door.

If you don’t know anyone, check out Physician Renaissance Network. There are also meetings you can attend and job boards to scan.

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