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Over 200,000 people work in the pharmaceutical industry in the UK. Many are scientists, mainly chemists, biologists and pharmacists, others are engineers or manufacturing operatives, or may have qualifications in IT, finance, law, marketing or other specialisms.

It takes about 12 years for a new medicine to go through the tests that are required before it can be prescribed by doctors. During this time hundreds of different people are involved, and the medicine passes through a large number of tests. These are designed to check that the medicine will work in the disease it is intended for; and that it will be safe for people to take.

Most people know what a doctor does, or a nurse, dentist or vet. But many people are not sure what a research chemist, pharmacologist, health economist or drug safety officer does. Young people who enjoy studying science are likely to find it useful to know about all the alternative subjects they could study, and the careers they lead to.


National Careers Week 2022 7th - 12th March

Once again we are supporting #NCW22 with our extensive careers guidance resources to support informed career choices.

This year we have released new case studies about emerging priority job roles that support research, development and manufacture of medicines and vaccines for today and the future

Hear from a Pharmacometrician, a Clinical Pharmacologist and a Pharmacoepidemiologist.


Why work in pharmaceuticals?

The UK pharmaceutical industry has a dynamic working environment with the challenges, opportunities and incentives that you'd expect from one of the UK's biggest industries.

Learn more

Wide choice of job roles

Read over a hundred case studies covering just a fraction of the range of jobs in the industry.

Read the case studies