It used to be that medical doctors would only accept work in hospitals and clinics. However, due to the rising demand for new treatments and pharmaceutical products, a new breed of physicians has emerged: the pharmaceutical physicians. A pharmaceutical physician is one which is tasked to lead and advise on the development of new treatments and the research of existing pharmaceutical products. These doctors usually give advice on medical research, pharmaceutical product development, registration of drugs, safety monitoring of drugs, evaluation, and marketing of medicines among patients.

So, what roles are actually played by the physician in the pharma sector? Physicians usually work in all aspects of the drug development process in the following areas:

Clinical Pharmacologist or Phase I Physician

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This physician works with other research scientists such as biochemists, chemists, toxicologists and pharmacologists. Clinical pharmacologists usually do tests on healthy volunteers or subjects with a particular medical condition to assess safety and tolerability of drugs. They also perform pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic drug studies. This is a starting position for pharmaceutical physicians, as they are able to gain early exposure to drug development.

Clinical Research Physician or Phase II/III Physician

Serious doctor with touchpad.

This position enables the doctor to be involved in the design and monitoring of clinical trials that study the effects of new drugs on patients suffering from a certain medical condition. In Phase III large, multicenter clinical trials, clinical research physicians are also involved in evaluating safety and efficacy. Their study results are then submitted for international product registration. Clinical research physicians often work with clinical research associates (CRAs), managers and other health professionals in clinical trials, regulatory affairs, pharmacoeconomics and statistics.

Medical Adviser

Female Doctor Showing Digital Tablet

This physician works alongside marketing and sales professionals to deal with the commercial operations of a pharmaceutical company. Medical advisers in Medical Affairs deal with Phase III-IV clinical trials and Investigator Initiated Trials. They continually look for new drug indications, new routes of administration and new formulation changes. They also generate data on the cost-effectiveness of medications.

Pharmacovigilance or Drug Safety Adviser

Cheerful doctor on the phone in her office

This physician focuses on the safety and risk management of medicines. He or she usually has sufficient industry experience in medical affairs and clinical research.

Medical Science Liaison or Field Medical Adviser

Doctor collaborating with a businessman.

This position is similar to that of a medical adviser’s except that it is field-based and focuses on marketing support. Regional medical advisers usually assist businesses in reviewing evidence with purchasing organizations so that drugs may be included in formularies.

Medical Director

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This physician usually heads the medical department consisting of other physicians, health professionals and admin staff. He or she usually heads the provision of medical information to the general public, the monitoring and setup of clinical trials, and the submission to regulatory bodies for marketing approval.

In summary, pharmaceutical physicians are at the forefront of medical progress because they are involved in the development and research of medicines. They deal with rapidly emerging fields of medicine and are able to contribute their expertise and knowledge to patients needing medicines. They become experts in the medical community and are able to lead clinical research programs that can save more lives in the future.

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