The pharmaceutical industry is very different from the NHS in this aspect. There is no clear career path and time on the job or qualifications do not guarantee progression. You will be promoted within your company or in another company on merit and assessment of your managers. There is no minimal time in a role and in general movement upside and lateral are much more frequent than the NHS. Please also remember that it is much easier to lose your job and get sacked compared to the NHS , as you are an employee in the private sector and it is quite similar to a non-medical role within the private sector. Your personality, likability and ease of working with you have much more weight in the industry compared to the NHS. The result is you need to work on and prepare more for progress and promotion and, in many cases, you need to take the lead and be proactive and rather than waiting for promotion. T
o summarise, the sky is the limit. Once you are in the industry you do not require any further examinations or qualifications and it all depends on you, your work ethic, professionalism and personality. Luck obviously has its place.
There is no direct comparison to ‘consultant’ but a medical director or medical lead will be roughly equivalent.