Who are the programmes for?
These programmes are designed to meet the needs of those working in – or intending to work in – the specialty of pharmaceutical medicine, or those requiring a professional qualification pertinent to the field. The programmes will be of interest to qualified doctors and pharmacists, as well as specialist clinical professionals working in the pharmaceutical industry. They are also suitable for scientists working in industry, academia and licensing authorities, or in the public health service, who have an interest in translational medicine.
By gaining a wider perspective of pharmaceutical medicine, the programmes will help students to better evaluate and manage drug development processes. The programmes are intended to provide postgraduate level training for senior scientific or clinical roles within the field, for students who wish to increase their skills and knowledge, job satisfaction and to aid career progression.Careers in pharmaceutical medicine encompass three main groups of physicians: those working in the pharmaceutical industry, those with appointments within medicines regulatory bodies, such as the MHRA, and those working in independent research organisations dedicated to the development of new medicines.
A pharmaceutical physician may be responsible, with his or her team, for all the clinical development for one or more compounds. The development programme must evaluate effectively the risk/benefit ratio for a product, which can be a major challenge in a discipline which is by definition always working on the frontiers of science. It is essential that good communication be maintained across the world so that effective and efficient drug development can be conducted and safety surveillance can be maintained within companies and regulatory authorities.
Since 1976 physicians working in the pharmaceutical industry have been able to take the exam for the Diploma in Pharmaceutical Medicine (DPM). There is now an expectation that physicians will enrol into Pharmaceutical Medicine Specialty Training (PMST), which is designed to demonstrate that they are competent to practise independently and at a senior level. King’s provides four short course modules for the PMST training. In addition, it is possible to complete these modules and then continue to qualify with an MSc.
After qualification, pharmacists have a diverse range of career opportunities and the pharmaceutical industry is one popular sector. Although entry into the industry may occur through basic science, clinical practice or commercial avenues the progression of these individuals through to senior positions requires knowledge of pharmaceutical medicine. Studying for an MSc or taking one of the many tailored short-courses in pharmaceutical medicine will provide specific knowledge that will facilitate effective communication across the drug development teams in the pharmaceutical industry and promote the skills required to head full development programs.
Specialist Clinical Nurses
Nurses often make a career move into clinical research, taking on roles within a phase 1 or translational medicines unit where they play a key role in both looking after research subjects, collecting clinical data and supervising the proper conduct of the study. Others join the clinical research department of pharmaceutical companies where they will start as part of a team running a particular project, often rising to senior positions in clinical research management.
Clinical Research Scientists
Clinical Research Scientists will come from a variety of backgrounds, usually with a degree in a biological science. They would normally join either a pharmaceutical company or a contract research operation where they will be as part of a team running a particular project, often rising to senior positions in clinical research management as their career develops.