Industry Pharmacist Success Stories

An Interview with Deb Mathews, PharmD

December 17, 2020

Deb Matthews

Deb Mathews, PharmD
Experienced Executive, Medical Affairs
VP, Medical Affairs
CTI BioPharma (start in Jan. 2021)
Consultant, Medical Strategy & Medical Affairs
Vaniam Group

When did you decide that you wanted to work in industry versus retail/hospital? Was there an experience that inspired that decision?

As I entered the workforce post-training, I went directly into Clinical Pharmacy. I was fortunate to receive a role at the University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center (UMSCCC) in Oncology, without the requirement for a residency or fellowship. During my time at UMSCCC as a clinical research pharmacist, I took advantage of every opportunity to learn, always taking on new projects, and remaining open to any atypical experiences. This opened the door for me to sit on the Institutional Review Board and to lead the P&T Committee, where I gained incredible exposure to a variety of research projects. After a few years, I transitioned into the HIV space, where I managed the pharmacy outpatient service for the largest community hospital in Miami. During my time as the Manager of the outpatient pharmacy service, I did everything from contract negotiations, to writing drug utilization reports, and even conducted a clinical trial measuring cost-effectiveness for pharmacy services. The totality of experiences inspired me to pursue a career within the industry where I felt I could make an impact on patient care on a broader scale. I began my career in the industry as a Medical Science Liaison (MSL) in HIV for approximately four years. As is often typical in this industry, when you are working hard, putting out good work and maintaining solid relationships across the spectrum, opportunities for advancement will often find you. As such, I was offered a management opportunity, becoming Manager and National Director of the HIV MSL team with GSK and Tibotec Therapeutics. My career has continued to grow and advance and I have enjoyed many roles in Executive Leadership, including the US Director of Scientific Training with AstraZeneca, US Medical Lead on Global Scientific Launch Team in Oncology, and ultimately VP, Medical Affairs for small biotech companies focused in Microbiome Research and Malignant Hematology.

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About the Author
Michel Okeke
Michel is a current third-year pharmacy student at Hampton University who has a passion for serving patients with cancer. He would love to combine his oncology clinical experience, business acumen and strategic mindset to create groundbreaking solutions to better serve these patients within the pharmaceutical industry.