The pharmaceutical industry is sometimes perceived negatively. Without knowing much about the industry, it can be all too easy to think of the pharma companies as “drug pushers”.

In fact, there are many exciting opportunities available for doctors within the industry, it is often merely a question of finding out more about what’s out there.

According to Science Daily, a pharmaceutical company:

is a commercial business licensed to research, develop, market and/or distribute drugs, most commonly in the context of healthcare. They can deal in generic and/or brand medications.

There are many different career paths that a doctor can follow within the pharma industry (as well as undertaking specialty training), including for example:

  • Clinical research
  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Medical advisor

Working in pharma is a great way to help patients on a larger scale than is possible working in a hospital environment.


A doctor can expect to work standard office hours, 40-50 hours per week as an estimate; with no on-calls. Extra hours may be required for key projects and a certain amount of travel; however a good work-life balance is achievable within the industry.

Salary can be variable, depending on company, level of experience and location. As a guide, £45k would be a realistic starting salary.


The leadership & management opportunities are great when it comes to career progression. Working within a company structure means you have scope to move between departments, learn about the commercial side of medicine and benefit from the training opportunities offered.

It is also a good choice for straddling the practice of clinical medicine whilst also diversifying your career.


Check specific pharmaceutical company websites for details on how to apply directly.

There are also specialist recruiters for the pharmaceutical industry, who you could contact for further advice.