Drug Developers


Overview

Introduction

Drug developers are the scientists and technicians involved in the development of pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals. The research and development departments of drug manufacturers employ engineers, chemists, biologists, pharmacists, pharmacologists, and other professionals to develop and test the pharmaceuticals used by doctors to treat illness and injury. In 2018, there were 8,300 medical scientists and 3,120 biochemists and biophysicists employed in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, according to the U.S. Department o...

Quick Facts


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Median Salary

$145,000

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Employment Prospects

Good

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Minimum Education Level

Bachelor's Degree


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Experience

Any experience in the pharma/biotech industry—such as an internsh


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Skills

Organizational


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Personality Traits

Curious

Earnings

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that in May 2018, medical scientists who worked in drug development had mean annual salaries of $130,560. Salaries for medical scientists in general ranged from less than $46,810 annually for the lowest 10 percent to more than $156,980 for the top 10 percent of earners. Biochemists employed in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing had mean annual earning...

Work Environment

Drug developers work in clean, quiet, well-lit laboratories and offices, often with new equipment. They often are required to wear masks, goggles, gloves, lab coats, and other protective wear when working with compounds. Most scientists work between 35 and 40 hours a week, which may be divided between clinical sites and an office where they prepare reports and other paperwork.

Outlook

Most experts agree that experienced research and development professionals should have plenty of career opportunities with pharma/biotech companies in the coming years. More illnesses are being treated with drug therapy, particularly among elderly patients. As the average age of the population increases, pharmaceutical sales will increase, allowing companies to spend more on research and develo...

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