At ProClinical, our specialist medical affairs recruitment team are seeking experienced candidates for a range of medical and physican roles within the pharmaceutical industry including medical director, medical affairs, medical science liaison (MSL), medical writer and medical information roles.
Medical affairs and physician roles are often varied and dynamic, and candidates have to bridge the gap between research, clinical development, scientific publications, health outcomes, biostatistics and medical education. Working in medical affairs involves supporting and planning the research, development and launch of pharmaceutical products.
Medical affairs professionals have to ensure that companies market products in a fair and ethical manner, ensuring that they also make a profit. Jobs in this field typically span marketing, medical and business intelligence functions. The diversity of roles gives individuals the opportunity to either pursue a career in management, or transfer their skills into specific medical positions such as clinical researcher or medical affairs physician. ProClinical has placed candidates across all areas within this field and has in-depth experience of the industry.
What do medical jobs in pharma entail?
The role of medical affairs is to educate and provide medical and scientific information to physicians, key opinion leaders, regulatory agencies, professional groups and healthcare professionals. The purpose is to enhance a company’s reputation in the scientific industry. By complementing the work of research and development departments, medical affairs professionals advise on the best use of a company’s products, therapies, devices, technology and diagnostics. There is huge opportunity for career progression within this field.
Medical information jobs support internal and external parties including patients, medical professionals, sales and marketing teams by providing compliance and product information, reference checking published literature and company data. Gaining experience in medical information can often be a great way to progress your career in other medical jobs in the pharmaceutical industry.
What day-to-day responsibilities are there?
Given that medical affairs jobs are so diverse, the roles and responsibilities are also very varied. A typical day might involve taking part in the production of a scientific publication, or assisting in creative solutions to improve a company’s business and services. Medical affairs professionals are often required to travel internationally for 20-30% of their time, and sometimes up to 50%.
What types of roles are available and what do they entail?
ProClinical receives vacancies from small and large pharmaceutical companies such as Glaxo SmithKline, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. Roles vary from information officer jobs to management positions and specific medical physician jobs that are usually not patient-facing, and fall into three areas:
- Clinical research physicians
- Pharmacovigilance physicians
- Medical affairs physicians
Generally speaking, a pharmaceutical physician leads medical teams that develop particular products or groups of products within a specific therapy area. They are medically-qualified doctors who are concerned with human health throughout the study, diagnosis and treatment of illness, injury and mental & physical impairments.
Clinical research physicians are typically involved in phases one to three of clinical trials, supervising the care of patient volunteers, designing and writing clinical trial protocols and providing medical advice to internal and external scientific groups.
This role differs to a pharmacovigilance physician, who is involved in collecting, monitoring and evaluating information on suspected adverse patient reactions, gathering information from pre-clinical phase to post-marketing surveillance studies, and putting together the summary of product characteristics (SmPC) that are packaged with medicines.
The third type of role we often recruit for is a medical affairs physician. This role has a specific interest in marketing (from phase four of clinical trials onwards), providing medical input for marketing strategy, supporting sales staff, giving medical information to doctors and reviewing the wording of drug advertising.
What skills and experience are required?
Our experience of placing candidates in medical affairs gives us a strong idea of the skills and experience that are required to succeed in this field. Candidates applying for these jobs have to be meticulous and organised because they are expected to juggle priorities and workload to keep up with the demand and responsibilities that come with the job.
A scientific degree is necessary and many candidates require additional qualifications for career progression in medical affairs, often an MSc, PhD or MBA. Other skills that are required vary based on the type of medicine or therapy area. With an additional MD qualification, individuals can progress to become physicians within the three areas outlined above: clinical research, pharmacovigilance and medical affairs.
Given that a physician is part investigator, part counsellor, and part scientist, they must also have a very strong grasp of chemistry, biology and mathematics, and must be able to analyse information and solve problems. Additionally, most physicians should exhibit excellent interpersonal skills to communicate effectively with internal colleagues and with patients and their families.
What opportunities are there for career progression?
Medical affairs roles usually follow a defined career path, together with regular international travel and an excellent salary and benefits package. Promotion to Senior Physician usually takes two to three years, while promotion to Medical Manager requires at least five years, usually within a specialist therapy area.
How can ProClinical help?
Not all medical affairs and physician vacancies are advertised and because of a general shortage of qualified candidates, companies are usually open to targeted speculative applications. By sending us your CV, we can notify you about suitable opportunities as soon as they become available. ProClinical maintains relationships with small and large pharmaceutical companies and is connected with companies that would be willing to accept speculative applications. We are highly experienced in medical affairs recruitment across the UK and internationally, and we regularly receive new vacancies for permanent and contract positions. Uploading your CV to our candidate database can help speed up the job search process as we aim to match the right people to the right jobs.
Confidentiality and discretion
Our specialists never send unsolicited CVs or contact potential employers without your permission. Our recruitment consultants are fully trained and operate with the highest level of discretion throughout the whole job application process.
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When you register with ProClinical you will be added to our database and when a suitable medical affairs role arises we will get in touch. Register now.
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If you’re actively searching for a particular job, browse our current vacancies below and apply for a specific role. We often have vacancies for management positions together with specific physician roles such as Clinical Research Physician, Medical Science Liaison (MSL), Medical Affairs Manager, Medical Writer, Medical Affairs Specialist and Medical Information Officer jobs.
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