Why are pharmacists needed in industry? And what exactly can they do there? (Guest blog)

These are questions that many pharmacists and pharmacy students ask themselves when considering the next move in their career – including myself, when, many years ago, I was close to finishing my studies. For those who participated in Industrial Insights during the FIP world conference of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists in Glasgow this week, the answers literally came to them. For the third time , FIP’s Industrial Pharmacy Section offered a full day program dedicated to one topic: What are the opportunities for pharmacists in industry?

I had the pleasure to be part of the previous events that were held between 2013 and 2015 – and was happy to see the reputation of this event increase every time we have organized it. Having started in Dublin with about 35 participants, the number of people signed up this year was more than 120 people! We were warmly welcomed in an extraordinary Location: the Glasgow Science Center proved to be the right place for interesting presentations and fruitful discussions.

Our collaborator of Industrial insights, the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the UK, then enabled discussions between the participants – and really made them think about strategies on how to bring the best molecule to the market. The interactive game “From Molecule to market” once again proved that collaboration and communication is key in every step of drug development – and the definite ice breaker for the teams to kick off their ideas and to network over lunch time. And once again, I was delighted to see how many bright minds there are all over the world.

What happens after the launch? Insights into the various positions a pharmacist can hold in Medical Affairs, Marketing or Industry Associations like EFPIA was followed by a keynote and panel discussion about the presumably biggest change within our industry - We are going digital! Claudia Rijcken, founder of, showed us the opportunities and threats digitalization will bring. My personal take home: there are fantastic opportunities that lie in the digital era, but we need to ensure that the right people are there to explain them to patients – and also to our fellow industry colleagues. This however requires education for ourselves as well! Starting from universities, and not stopping in our continuous development, our goal must be to be at the top of change, and guide patients through the digital journey – be it in community or in industry.

Once again, I have seen that one day is hardly enough to cover all aspects and all opportunities a pharmacist can find in the industry. Inspiring talks, innovative ideas and intense discussions arise as soon as pharmacists get together and let me get home with new motivation to bring things forward within my own company.

Special thanks go to EFPIA  for their sponsorship to make this event take place and for the Glasgow City of Science and Innovation for donating us the location that could have not asked for more; vibrant, exciting and innovative.

Kerstin Neumann

Kerstin Neumann is an industrial pharmacist with over 10 years or experience in the field of medical information....
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