The Role of Industrial Pharmacists in Drug Development

6 min

Industrial pharmacists play a vital role in developing and supplying medical drugs. The proc...

Kate Onissiphorou

By Kate Onissiphorou

Industrial pharmacists play a vital role in developing and supplying medical drugs. The process of drug manufacturing involves multiple stages, from initial drug development to public launch and sales. Pharmaceutical companies need the input and services of pharmacy professionals to steer all these stages toward success. Consequently, industrial pharmacists are responsible for refining the production process of medications that cure and prevent diseases. 

If you are a pharmacist who wants to specialise in industrial pharmacy, an exciting career trajectory awaits you. But how can you decide whether industrial pharmacy jobs in the UK are suitable for you? To know the answer, you must understand what exactly industrial pharmacists do on their jobs and how much salaries they earn. Read this article for a detailed overview of how industrial pharmacists shape the drug development process and the remuneration they can expect from their jobs.

What is Industrial Pharmacy?

Industrial Pharmacy is a branch of pharmacy concerned with the discovery, development, manufacturing, and marketing of pharmaceutical medicines. It includes all the stages of drug production, beginning with early research and leading up to their safe distribution in the healthcare industry. Industrial pharmacists work in drug manufacturing companies to optimise the processes of formulation, quality maintenance, and regulatory compliance of pharmaceutical drugs. 

Role of Industrial Pharmacists in Drug Development

A trained pharmacy professional is needed by most industrial pharmacy companies for effective management of various parts of the drug manufacturing process. A skilled pharmacist can combine their knowledge of pharmaceutical medicines with the latest technological methods to develop safe medications for patients. 

Here are the three main responsibilities of an industrial pharmacy technician:

Drug Discovery

Industrial pharmacists collaborate with teams of medical researchers to develop new formulations of pharmaceutical drugs. They also work on enhancing and perfecting the composition of drugs to create higher quality, and safer medications for patients. This is a lab-based role where pharmacists use their knowledge to discover the most stable, effective, and cost-friendly versions of therapeutic drugs for further development. 

Drug Manufacturing

Industrial pharmacists work on optimising pharmaceutical manufacturing protocols to ensure the timely delivery of high-quality medicines. They are responsible for overseeing different stages of the drug manufacturing process, conducting risk assessments, and implementing safe production strategies. They also collaborate with other professionals and industrial staff to mitigate manufacturing hazards such as equipment failures, cross-contamination, or packaging mistakes that could hamper product integrity. 

Quality Management

Industrial pharmacists use their knowledge of pharmaceutical medicines to maintain the quality and safety of manufactured drugs. They play a critical role in determining and implementing quality control measures during different stages of the drug production process. This involves activities such as safety testing, inspections, and conducting regular audits of drug development plants. Ultimately, they are responsible for ensuring that the finished products released by a pharmaceutical company meet relevant ethical and regulatory standards of the time. 

How to Become an Industrial Pharmacist in the UK

Here are some steps that you need to follow on your path to becoming an Industrial Pharmacist in the UK:

Educational Qualifications

A pharmacy professional needs to have a background in science, with a special focus on biology and chemistry. After obtaining a high school diploma, aspiring pharmacists need to get a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from any university accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).

Pre- Registration Training

Before you are eligible to work in a real pharmacy setting, you need to complete a minimum of a year of pre-registration training approved by the GPhC. This training allows budding pharmacists to gain practical experience working in a fully functional pharmacy. Here, you are expected to learn the day-to-day skills used by pharmacists under the guidance of a senior pharmacy professional. 

GPhC Registration

After completing your pre-registration training, you will need to take the GPhC registration assessment to become a registered pharmacist. Once you pass this exam, you are now eligible to apply for pharmacist positions in healthcare institutions, retail pharmacies, and related industries. As you are looking to specialise as an industrial pharmacist, look for job roles that allow you to work in drug development, or manufacturing environments within pharmaceutical companies.

Specialisation and Continuous Learning

The field of industrial pharmacy is constantly evolving, and pharmacy professionals need to periodically update their knowledge to stay effective in what they do. After gaining some years of work experience, you can pursue a master's or specialised training in industrial pharmacy. There are many short certifications and skill enhancement courses that you can take to develop yourself as a specialist in industrial pharmacy or related fields. Besides these, soft skills training which includes effective communication, collaboration, marketing, and problem-solving in business are also essential for your long-term success. 

Salary of an Industrial Pharmacist

Industrial pharmacist salaries can vary due to factors such as level of education, work experience, location, industrial sector, and type of employer. It may also be affected by the specific responsibilities of the job position you take, as different job profiles demand a distinct set of qualifications and skill sets. 

According to 2024 statistics, average industrial pharmacist salaries in the UK range from £28,000 to £60,000 per year. The most common hourly wage rate for industrial pharmacist jobs was calculated to be £25.94 per hour.

Generally, entry-level industrial pharmacist jobs’ salaries are lower when compared to professionals with more experience in the field. Also, technicians with advanced degrees, additional certifications, and an impressive work history can command higher salaries in the market. 

Navigate Pharmacy Specialism with Quad Recruitment

The dynamic nature of the pharmaceutical industry allows it to offer a variety of job roles to a diverse range of medical professionals. However, navigating this job market for specialised pharmacist positions can be challenging. If you are looking for industrial pharmacist jobs that match your specific skill sets, Quad Recruitment has a solution for you. We understand the complex landscape of pharmacy careers and support skilled pharmacy professionals in finding the best jobs within their industry. 

Whether you are an entry-level pharmacist looking for your first job in a healthcare organization, or a highly experienced professional who is targeting managerial roles, Quad provides a platform that can guide you toward fulfilling job opportunities that further your career aspirations.