As I entered pharmacy school, I always thought that I would be working in a position at a retail pharmacy just like all of the other pharmacists in my family had done. Some of them had ventured into the field of hospitals and long term care, but industry was not an option that I had ever considered, until my first professional year of pharmacy school. At that time we were introduced to the different fields that a pharmacist could work in and the idea of working for a pharmaceutical company captured my attention. I could not believe the multitude of job opportunities available in the industry, and how much of an impact pharmacists could have working there.
After graduation I was fortunate enough to obtain a role as a fellow in Global Medical Affairs at Becton, Dickinson, and Company through the MCPHS University Fellowship Program. This unique fellowship allowed me to not only be in the industry, but also to practice once a week in a clinic under an academic preceptor. Because it was a medical device company and not a pharmaceutical company, I was able to learn the differences between drug approvals and medical device approvals. I had never heard of 510K approvals or CE mark processes and was intrigued at how the medical device field differed. I also had the opportunity to sit on promotional review committees and work in new product development and clinical trials. Shadowing MSLs in the field and then eventually being able to deliver presentations myself was also very exciting. Throughout my two years, I established a working relationship with endocrinologists and diabetes educators worldwide. I also was able to establish professional relationships with BD colleagues from around the world.
Upon completion of the fellowship program, I didn’t actually think I would end up in charge of all of the clinical needs for BD’s diabetes care in Canada. Because this is a regional rather than a global role, there is no medical affairs division and so I became part of the marketing team. Marketing is more of the business side of the company, something I was not exposed to in my previous role. Since I have started working, I have been exposed to financials, budgets, and working on business plans which is an asset to my position. I am still working on medical affairs tasks including reading and working on clinical trials, providing education to the sales team, attending and planning conferences, presenting at the national sales team meetings, heading up the social media content, and working with marketing agencies across Canada to create collateral for the team. Although it is very busy, I know that this regional experience will really help me in my future endeavors.
I’m not sure if my future here is in Canada, or whether I might move back to the states or to a global role. I just might say that I know that my move ‘internationally” has given me invaluable experience that I will be able to apply to my future roles. I am one of the first pharmacists to work in the BD Canada office and I am showing that there is a lot of learning that other countries have to do about PharmDs and fellowship programs. I consider myself fortunate to have completed a fellowship program that helped prepare me for a position outside the United States.
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