Pharmaceutical Administration and Policy

Read on to learn about jobs and the career outlook in pharmaceutical administration. Get information on degree programs in this field, most of which are at the graduate level and focused on government and industry.

Is Pharmaceutical Administration and Policy for Me?

Career Overview

Pharmacies handle products that directly affect public health; therefore, industry regulations are important. The field of pharmaceutical administration and policy is concerned with the safety of pharmaceutical care, as well as the effects of pharmaceutical drugs. It involves developing, modifying and evaluating pharmaceutical systems, along with the ethical and safe dissemination of pharmaceutical medicines. Pharmaceutical policy deals with the legal, economic and social issues related to pharmaceutical care and research.

Pharmaceutical administrators work to ensure that policymakers, pharmacists and consumers have the information they need to make decisions regarding the implementation of new health programs or regulations, changes in regulations or improvements to their health. Pharmacy directors and managers are responsible for staying current on laws and regulations, equipment, patient treatment plans and on-site sterilization processes. If you'd like to pursue a career in pharmaceutical administration and policy, you'll need to acquire business and leadership skills, as well as knowledge of industry codes and regulations.

Job Options

Careers in pharmaceutical administration are generally governmental, academic and industrial positions, particularly in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. You can pursue an administrative position within a pharmacy, pharmaceutical company, insurance company, hospital or other health care facility. Marketing research and sales, as well as administrative roles within pharmacy associations, are other possible career options. Specific job titles can include policy analyst, pharmaceutical researcher or health care manager.

Career Outlook

Salaries and employment outlook depend on education and career choice. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects above-average job growth for medical and health services administrators at 23% and better-than-average job growth for pharmacists at 14% between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reports that the expanding health care industry, combined with an aging population, is likely to contribute to job growth for these workers. The BLS also anticipates 36% growth in employment for postsecondary health specialties teachers (including pharmacy instructors) and 11% growth in employment for top executives (including the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry) from 2012-2022.

The median annual salary for medical and health services administrators was $90,940; for postsecondary health specialties teachers, it was $85,030; and for pharmacists, it was $119,280 as of May 2013, per the BLS.

How Can I Work in Pharmaceutical Administration and Policy?

Education

Degrees in pharmaceutical administration and policy are most commonly available at the graduate level as a Master of Science or a Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmacy Administration. An institution may also offer an Executive MBA in Health Administration concentrating in pharmaceutical management. At the master's level, you may choose a concentration, such as quality assurance and regulatory affairs or pharmaceutical marketing, depending on your career objectives.

Some programs are for pharmacists who want to advance to administrative and leadership positions. Executive MBA in Health Administration programs in pharmaceutical management may include courses in pharmaceutical marketing, health policy, pharmacoeconomics, strategic management and corporate finance. Master's degree programs focus on the skills needed to assume leadership roles within industrial or institutional settings.

Earning a doctorate may lead to a career in pharmacoeconomics, pharmacy education or pharmaceutical research. A Ph.D. program may look at challenges in the pharmaceutical industry and pharmacy practice, as well as how to develop solutions. Programs may focus on teaching, research and public service, as well as how to make sound decisions in business and industrial settings.

Requirements to enroll in a master's or Ph.D. program in pharmaceutical administration vary according to the program and can range from a bachelor's degree in pharmacy, business or public affairs to a professional degree.

Coursework

Studies in this field often combine pharmacy courses with courses in business, law, public affairs, statistics and communications. Specific coursework often addresses topics in health care delivery, biostatistics, microeconomics, health behavior and administrative pharmacy, as well as social policies and drug effectiveness. An institution may offer a joint master's program in pharmaceutical administration and pharmacy residency.

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