A Future at the Forefront of Drugs Development; Financial Mail,careers Council
Byline: ALAN PLEWS
AS the millennium
approaches, developments in medicine have reached the threshold of a new revolution in genomics.
This is the branch of science where genes are used to produce drugs, and where genes are modified to cure illnesses within individuals.
At the forefront will be scientists working
for the British-based pharmaceutical industry, according to Libby Steele, head of recruitment of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.
She says: `The industry has played a leading role in improving healthcare through its research and development of new medicines.
`It has built up an impressive reputation based on a long history of success, which is measured not only in lives saved and its contribution to the country's economy, but also in providing job opportunities for the UK workforce.'
The industry employs around 75,000 in a wide
roles. Scientists work at the cutting edge of
technology, using and developing state-of-the-art techniques to provide the medicines of the future. It takes an average of about 11 years and [pounds sterling]200 million to bring a new medicine to the market.
Graduates and postgraduates from many disciplines make up the research teams, supported by technical staff. Their job is to discover new products from a variety of sources and to find out how they work.
Safety is a key feature of research into new medicines and a promising compound can be used in trials on humans only if it passes pre-clinical tests devised by scientists.
If it is successful, doctors and pharmacists work to develop the best way of delivering the medicine to the patient, through tablets, capsules, syrups, ointments or injections.
The next stage is for the medicine to be produced in large quantities.
Chemists have to devise ways to make the compound in bulk, while engineers design and build the necessary equipment. Analytical chemists carry out tests during manufacture to check that the product is made to the required standards of purity.
Once the medicine has passed the stringent tests required by the licensing authority, medical representatives keep doctors and pharmacists up to date with its progress and other new products, while marketing experts look at the best ways to promote its use.
Steele says: `Because of all this, the pharmaceutical industry requires not only highly qualified staff, but also a wide range of skills. With scientists increasingly exploring and understanding the human genome - the gene patterns that make up individuals - the challenges faced by this skilled workforce will expand dramatically.'
n Two free booklets on
careers in the industry have been published by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry: Careers for Graduates and Opportunities for School Leavers. Contact ABPI, 12 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY. A leaflet, Careers in the Pharmaceutical Industry, is also available.
JUST THE RIGHT FORMULA FOR SCIENCE GRADUATES
THE British pharmaceutical industry is a success story offering stimulating and well-paid careers.
Highly motivated, enthusiastic graduates are the lifeblood of companies such as Pfizer, which see such people as a resource upon which our future depends. …