Medical Affairs

We understand the connection and separation between the Medical and Commercial functions, in addition to the challenges faced by stakeholders who recruit in this area. With many years of experience operating at the highest level in Life Science recruitment, our consultants at Pharma Partners are experts within the field of Medical Affairs. This means that we are uniquely positioned to engage effectively with this market.

The types of roles we recruit for include, but are not limited to, the following:

Medical Information Manager

Senior Medical Information Officer / Scientist

Regional Medical Liaison

Medical Science Liaison

Senior Medical Advisor

Associate Medical Director

Head of Medical Affairs

Medical Director

VP Medical Affairs

Medical Manager

Medical Science Liaison Manager

Medical Science Manager

Medical Advisor

Scientific Affairs Adviser

All Functions

Clinical Research

We appreciate the importance of Research Physicians in drug development to ensure pipeline molecules make it through to commercialisation. With a combined 25 years of experience operating at the highest level in Life Science recruitment, Pharma Partners are experts within the field of Clinical Research.  Our level of understanding, and our ability to identify the right experience, means that we are well positioned to engage effectively with this market.

The types of roles we recruit for include, but are not limited to, the following:

Clinical Research Physician

Senior Clinical Research Physician

Principal Investigator

Director Clinical Research

Chief Medical Officer

All Functions


We understand the importance of continuous Drug Safety protocols for both development and post-marketed products. With a combined 25 years of experience operating at the highest level in Life Science recruitment, Pharma Partners are experts within the field of Pharmacovigilance.  Tying in with other fields, we are well positioned to engage effectively with this market.

The types of roles we recruit for include, but are not limited to, the following:

PV/Drug Safety Associate

PV/Drug Safety Officer

PV/Drug Safety Manager / Senior Manager

PV/Drug Safety Associate Director

PV/Drug Safety Physician

Head of PV

Senior Drug Safety Physician

Vigilance Physician

Associate Medical Director Pharmacovigilance

Safety & Risk Management Director

Vigilance Director

PV Director

All Functions

Introduction to industry

Challenging, exciting and varied, pharmaceutical medicine can be a rewarding place for a physician to build a career. Whether you’re interested in working within drug discovery and development or clinical research, you’ll have the ability to put your skills and talents to good use within a field that’s making a significant impact on patient’s lives. As medicine constantly evolves with new research and studies being completed all the time, there’s also a huge demand for people to help keep this progress moving.

What do pharmaceutical physicians do?

Pharmaceutical physicians can find themselves working in pharmaceutical, biotechnology and clinical research organisations, as well as regulatory bodies and academic institutions. Ordinarily, when you start in the industry you’ll find yourself in a role within medical affairs, clinical research or drug safety. Roles can vary from focused localised drug development processes and product launches, through to much larger-scale regional and global activities. Sometimes, pharmaceutical physicians will have little to no form of direct patient contact. Despite this, the products and medicines that they contribute to can impact the lives of millions of people across the globe.

Entry requirements to work as a pharmaceutical physician

When recruiting physicians from clinical medicine or academic backgrounds, the majority of employers within the pharmaceutical industry will ask for certain entry criteria to be met. In the UK, these criteria would usually be:

  • Medically qualified
  • Full GMC registration with a license to practice
  • A recommendation of 4 years’ post qualification clinical experience
  • A higher scientific degree (e.g. MSc or PhD) or business qualification (e.g. MBA) may be considered an advantage for certain roles
  • Specific and in-depth therapy area expertise may be required for certain roles.

Retaining a License to Practice is not compulsory. However, for revalidation purposes (in order to remain fully GMC registered as a UK Pharmaceutical Physician), many employers require physicians to maintain their license and most will endorse and support revalidation financially.

Medical Affairs

The role of a medical advisor

A pharmaceutical physician working in medical affairs will enjoy a hugely varied role. The breadth of their work will often depend on the role itself and the size of the company they are joining.  Given that a physician has had the first-hand experience of a clinical setting, they will play a key role in translating and clarifying clinical data for colleagues working across many different areas of a business. This role is crucial as a medicine moves from the latter stages of clinical development through its pre- and post-marketing phase.

The day-to-day work of a medical advisor

Core elements of a medical advisory role would include:

  • Working directly with clinicians in relation to the investigator or company-sponsored research
  • Training marketing and sales teams on a product or disease area
  • Providing on-going medical input into brand teams
  • Reviewing submissions to health technology organisations
  • Presenting material to advisory boards
  • Helping to approve materials for medical marketing purposes
  • Ensuring copy and publications are scientifically accurate
  • Interacting regularly with colleagues in teams such as marketing, clinical research, health economics, pharmacovigilance, sales and regulatory affairs
  • Acting as a medical expert for a designated therapy area or product when interacting with the brand team, and formulating a medical strategy
  • Reviewing and signing-off of product promotional materials in accordance with the regulatory codes of practice
  • Establishing and maintaining relationships with external contacts such as Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), patient organisations and professional bodies within the therapy area
  • Delivering scientific and clinical presentations to customers where required
  • Working with pharmacovigilance teams to understand the safety profile of a product
  • Working with clinical research teams in relation to potential project management of Investigator Initiated Studies (IISs) and the subsequent study follow-ups.

Career progression for a medical advisor

One of the best things about choosing a career as a medical advisor is the clear pathway of progression. For example, many professionals choose to move upwards to more senior medical affairs roles and ultimately global director, chief medical officer, or director of regional or global strategy for a specific product or therapy area. A role in medical affairs may also have crossover with or lead to a position within the area of pharmacovigilance, which you can discover more about here. 

Clinical Research

The role of a clinical research physician

Clinical research plays an integral role in advancing medical knowledge and the quality of patient care, and the role of a clinical research physician is therefore highly rewarding. Usually, such professionals will work within the clinical development teams of a pharmaceutical company or a Clinical Research Organisation (CRO), where they will focus on guiding a product through the development stages of clinical pharmacology. With the exception of initial trial stages, direct patient contact is rare for clinical research physicians. Instead, they will work within a team to design and implement clinical trial plans. Once the trial is underway, there will then be a responsibility to carry out on-going trial safety monitoring work. This means ensuring Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and other compliance procedures are adhered to, in addition to ensuring the integrity of clinical trial data.

The day-to-day work of a clinical research physician

Depending on which phase of development the clinical research physician is focused on, typical responsibilities may include:

  • Ensuring that clinical trial related procedures are conducted and completed in line with ICH-GCP guidelines
  • Working with the principal investigator to record and deliver trial research data
  • Reporting any Adverse Event (AE) or Serious Adverse Event (SAE) data in line with ICH-GCP guidelines
  • Working directly with on-site clinical research associates to ensure trial and data integrity, including conducting site monitoring visits
  • Attending regular meetings
  • Reviewing investigator brochures and draft trial protocols
  • Being present at ethics committee meetings
  • Reviewing the medical records of potential study volunteer candidates
  • Reviewing medical and laboratory reports as required
  • Handling potential patient complaints in line with a company’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  • Developing a patient recruitment plan and working with the trial recruitment team to implement that strategy.

Career progression for a clinical research physician

A clinical research physician usually progresses by taking on wider and more decision-making responsibility for a group of trials or a project. Alternatively, they may become a development subject matter expert for a particular therapy area or product at a company. Similarly to medical affairs, a career in development may see a pharmaceutical physician progress to a research director who is responsible for project teams or a regional or global therapy area director who will oversee part if not all of a drug’s development cycle.






All Functions

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