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Industrial pharmacy is an area of the pharmaceutical field that specialized in creating drugs and medications. Industrial pharmacists use the latest methods, technologies and processes to develop new and groundbreaking medications. They are also responsible for determining if medications developed by pharmaceutical companies have both the right ingredients and the correct amount of these ingredients. It’s a field in which pharmacists can make a real difference in the lives of people who use medications to treat a variety of illnesses and conditions.
Responsibilities and Duties
Industrial pharmacists research drug compounds and develop new medications based on research. They test medications for efficiency and safety, oversee the production process to ensure medications are produced accurately, and they engage marketing and promoting new drugs to consumers, hospitals and doctors' offices. An industrial pharmacist may also be responsible for conducting clinical drug trials and evaluating the results of these trials to gauge a drug’s effectiveness and to determine potential risks or side effects. As part of a drug trial, industrial pharmacists collaborate with other pharmaceutical companies, local and federal governments, and a variety of health care professionals to ensure trials are conducted safety and within federal or state guidelines for drug testing.
Pharmacists must have a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from an accredited college or university. To gain admission to a doctorate program in pharmacy, applicants must complete course work in anatomy and physiology, general biology, general chemistry, microbiology, organic chemistry, physics, immunology, biochemistry, statistics, calculus, economics and the liberal arts. While obtaining a bachelor’s degree is not a requirement for all doctorate programs, most undergraduate degrees in biology, chemistry and biomedical sciences can fulfill these requirements. Once admitted to a doctorate program, students study topics such as the principles of pathophysiology and drug action, patient-centered care, pharmacy law and ethics, diagnosis labs and monitoring, pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacology, integrated pharmacotherapy, patient safety, medical informatics and health care systems.
Pharmacists must be licensed by the state in which they intend to practice. Licensing requires successfully passing two comprehensive exams. The first exam is a skills exam that tests pharmaceutical knowledge. The second is an exam on pharmacy law. Because laws may differ state to state, this exam tests an applicant’s knowledge of the laws in the state in which the applicant is seeking licensure.
Career Outlook and Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average median wage for pharmacists was $111,000. The job outlook for pharmacists is excellent. The BLS predicts job growth to increase by 25 percent between 2010 and 2020. This is due in large part to the growing number of Baby Boomers who will reach retirement age in the next decade. As this generation grows older, the resulting increase in medical conditions and the need for pharmaceutical treatment will rise.
Laura La Bella has worked as a marketing communications writer and editor in the fields of advertising, development and higher education for more than 15 years. She has authored more than two dozen nonfiction books for young adults, covering biographies of socially relevant people, timely social issues and career paths.
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