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Careers in Pharmaceutical medicine can be very varied and can be challenging, exciting, fulfilling and rewarding. Whether you are interested in drug discovery, medicines regulation or medical affairs; working in the UK, China or Africa, you'll find something to suit you in pharmaceutical medicine.

FPMcareersdocpicFPM has produced a booklet 'Careers in Pharmaceutical Medicine' that contains information on the types of jobs available within pharmaceutical medicine, along with quotes from FPM members about what they do and why they recommend pharmaceutical medicine as a good career choice.

Download the booklet here.

We can arrange for hard copies of this document to be mailed to Faculty members if they are able to disseminate it themselves at events etc. Please contact Ben Cottam at




An elective in pharmaceutical medicine

In July 2019 Sam Waterson spoke to us about his experience of completing the UK's first medical elective in pharmaceutical medicine.

RCP Specialty Spotlight - Pharmaceutical Medicine

In May 2017 Pharmaceutical Medicine featured in the RCP's Specialty Spotlight web series. Dr Urmi Shukla, ST4 Pharmaceutical Medicine, and Professor Alan Boyd, FPM President, took part. Click below to view the video, or visit the RCP website for more information.



Find out more about careers and training in pharmaceutical medicine below

Entry into the specialty

New entrants generally start work within a commercial pharmaceutical company

Roles within regulatory authorities or clinical research organisations are also available

Posts are advertised in the BMJ or on pharmaceutical recruitment websites

A minimum of 4 years post-qualification training before applying is strongly encouraged

A higher level scientific degree (e.g. BSc, MSc or PhD) or business qualification (e.g. MBA, marketing diploma) are advantageous


  • Intellectual challenge of researching and developing new medicines
  • The challenge of dealing with new and rapidly emerging areas of science such as regenerative medicine, pharmacogenetics, personalised medicine or nanomedicine
  • The ability to have a wider influence on the medical treatment of patients than can be achieved through individual patient contact
  • The excitement and challenge of operating at the front line commercial interface
  • The stimulus of working cooperatively in a multidisciplinary team
  • The international scope of the work and the possibility for travel
  • The opportunities for extensive personal and career development
  • Very limited or no clinical contact with patients, unless in clinical pharmacology
  • The need to adjust to corporate life in a commercially driven environment
  • Flexible working patterns which can mean long working days with some nights and weekends away from home
  • NHS pension is likely to be more generous than pharmaceutical companies
Career progression
  • Career development opportunities are diverse
  • Career progression within the chosen area will likely be possible within 1-3 years
  • Career opportunities include marketing or business unit leads, medical lead for a therapeutic area, medical director and other senior leadership roles
  • Special expertise can be developed in pharmacovigilance (drug safety), pharmacoeconomics or drug regulation
  • Other options are to work outside industry e.g. as a medical assessor for the MHRA, medical writer, or as an independent consultant


Pharmaceutical Medicine Specialty Training (PMST)
  • Pharmaceutical medicine is a specialty that is recognised by the GMC
  • To receive a CCT in pharmaceutical medicine, trainees must complete a 4 year workplace based training program
  • Completion of Pharmaceutical Medicine Specialty Training (PMST) is not mandatory, but is supported by most companies
  • All trainees are required to pass the FPM Diploma in Pharmaceutical Medicine and complete Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP)
PMST Modules
Module 1 – Medicines Regulation
Module 2 – Clinical Pharmacology
Module 3 – Statistics and Data Management
Module 4 – Clinical Development Module 5 – Healthcare Marketplace
Module 6 – Drug Safety Surveillance
Module 7 – Interpersonal and Management Skills
Eligibility requirements for PMST
  • GMC registered and hold a licence to practise
  • Must have an appointment with a pharmaceutical organisation
  • 4 years post-qualification clinical experience in approved training posts


  • Requirements for revalidation are similar to those for doctors in clinical practice, except that patient feedback is not required in most circumstances
  • It is not mandatory to maintain a Licence to Practise and revalidate - however, many employers support revalidation and require that their physicians maintain a Licence
  • The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine is a designated body for revalidation, as are a number of pharmaceutical companies and organisations


Find out more about drug development and what roles pharmaceutical physicians play by downloading the poster - click on the image below














Careers Profiles

Two FPM members have also recently written careers profiles, which explain what they love about working in pharmaceutical medicine, how it differs from clinical medicine and what the challenges and benefits are of a career in the specialty:

Dr Rebecca Curtis, Medical Director, Nycomed UK

Dr Ulrike Lorch, Medical Director, Richmond Pharmacology Ltd

Dr Emma Hilton also recent wrote an article on careers in pharmaceutical medicine - link here

In May 2017 Pharmaceutical Medicine was featured in the RCP Specialty Spotlight

Watch the interview here


Advice from Faculty members on careers in pharmaceutical medicine

Whatever stage of your medical career you are at, if you would like to know more about what it is like to work in the pharmaceutical industry, FPM can arrange for you to have your questions answered directly by our members.

If you are interested in learning more please contact FPM ( and we will be happy to help you as best as we can.