New Jobs in Pharma: Government Jobs


By Russ Ward (@russcward)

Contining our week on New Jobs in Pharma, well talk today about government job opportunities.

When you talk about government jobs in pharma, most people might assume that youre talking about working for the Food and Drug Administration. Well – the best answer there is “maybe. First, because theres a lot more options than that. And second, because the FDA may not offer you a very wide selection.

The FDA has historically been what some would call short-staffed. As of last year, the agency employed nearly 12 thousand people full time – but only about a quarter of them worked for the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the body responsible for the review and approval of drugs – and within CDER, just over a thousand employees make up the review teams that evaluate applications for new drugs. This all comes out of a budget of $290 million per year. These numbers are dwarfed next to the payrolls and budgets of the drug companies that theyre checking.

However, an additional few interesting ideas spring to mind for where new FDA jobs may open up in the near future. The promised guidance on social media appears to be coming in parts – Jean-Ah Kang announced this at the CBI Social Media Tools conference last month; perhaps there are opportunities for social-media advisors? Generic versions of biologic drugs are looming ever larger on the horizon: doesnt it make sense for the agency to be snapping up underemployed scientists who have experience working for biotechs?

But again, think beyond the FDA. Other opportunities may exist in a variety of specialties. Research organizations abound, and even if youre not a scientist or technician, there may be positions available for professionals. The most well known is probably the National Institutes of Health, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, but there are dozens of agencies working on healthcare topics – from national to state to local, from disease-specific to age-specific.

As with any job, consider your skills and your passions and see where and how you can help the countrys work. Here are some useful links to help you on your way.

Want to work for the FDA? Check this out.
Want to work at the NIH? Look here.
Not sure where in the US Government you want to work? Try here.

And for more details on these topics, check out:
Wikipedia page on CDER
FDA Q&A on employment figures



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