, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 1-5
Date: 23 Aug 2012

Pharmaceutical Medicine in the UK

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Abstract

Pharmaceutical Medicine has been thriving in the UK for well over 40 years. In spite of this, in the UK, Pharmaceutical Medicine was only officially recognized as a medical specialty in its own right in 2002. Today, the career of a pharmaceutical physician could develop in several ways, including working as a clinical pharmacologist, clinical research physician, medical advisor or drug safety physician, and can involve a number of different potential employers including pharmaceutical companies, industry regulators and clinical research organizations. Once a pharmaceutical physician is experienced, there is also the option of becoming self-employed. Entry criteria to the specialty include a minimum of 3–4 years of clinical experience. A number of universities in the UK, such as Cardiff University, the University of Surrey and King’s College London, offer training for the developing pharmaceutical physician. Moreover, professionally, pharmaceutical physicians are well supported principally by the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the UK, and also by other organizations such as the British Association of Pharmaceutical Physicians and the British Medical Association. Governance/quality control of the specialty is a role shouldered to a large extent by the Faculty, working closely with the General Medical Council. In common with other physicians, pharmaceutical physicians will also be expected to revalidate every 5 years. The benefits of joining the specialty are numerous, including the opportunity to really contribute to new drug development and in so doing improve the lives of many patients, the opportunity to travel and the chance to interact with leading clinicians around the globe. Remuneration for an appropriately qualified pharmaceutical physician can be generous; at least equivalent to that of a successful private practitioner. In the UK, Pharmaceutical Medicine can be an exciting and tremendously gratifying career choice.