October 10, 2023, by Jackie Thompson
Interested in the Pharmaceutical Industry? Try Pfizer’s Virtual Work Experience
By Taeshayla Copage, Pharmacology student
In June 2023, I enrolled in Pfizer’s Molecule to Market Virtual Experience Programme through Forage. The programme provided me with the opportunity to develop my skills, gain insights into the pharmaceutical industry, explore the range of job roles within the sector, and find out more about Pfizer as a company
The great thing about this programme is that not only is it free, but you can also sign up yourself whenever best suits you. There is no need to apply or have an interview; it’s very quick and simple. You just have to make an account, and you’re ready to start!
About the programme
The programme essentially involved learning about how to get a drug onto the market and what the process involved and gaining an insight into the roles involved at Pfizer.
I was given a series of online activities to complete at my own pace. For example, Pfizer employees from different roles, such as marketing, would record a video giving background information on their job role at Pfizer and then setting the task. We also had access to a recording or transcript for students who prefer to read or watch a video to take in the information needed to complete the task.
One of the activities was to create a positioning statement for the drug molecule you had chosen to produce in your chosen therapy area – mine was for asthma. We were given a template so we could learn how to present information about why the product should be used and distributed for patient use to healthcare professionals and pharmacists. I particularly enjoyed this activity, as it gave me an insight into the work field, illustrated the importance of effective communication, and gave me the chance to develop my presentation skills.
You can spend as long as you want on an activity as there’s no set deadline. However, there was a guide to suggest how long most people should complete an activity which was normally between one and two hours.
From the programme, I have gained…
- An understanding of the process of getting a new medicine onto the market for patient use
- The steps that proceed after the work that research and development scientists carry out
- How a new medicine is reimbursed for use in the NHS in the UK
- How to develop a market position for the new medicine in an area of choice and build a ‘go to market’ strategy.
What I liked about this programme
- It was very interactive with videos to watch explaining what you would be doing and background information, suiting different learners
- The wide variety of tasks to assess a multitude of different skills
- I have gained a comprehensive understanding of what it is like to work at Pfizer and the importance of abiding by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) code of practice
- Pfizer provided model answers to aid our learning, for example, how to effectively record a video presenting your medication as part of the positioning statement activity
Reflecting back on my experience
Overall, the programme was amazing. It was free and a lot of effort has been put into it, and I can confidently say I have found it very useful. It has helped me to develop lots of practical skills, for example, public speaking skills in recording a video to present my molecule to healthcare professionals, writing a plan for a positioning statement, and creating content.
It was an excellent way for me to spend my spare time in the summer doing something productive to develop my skills in the field I hope to enter. Taking part also demonstrates my enthusiasm and commitment to my career goals. Also, it was self-paced. I love how there is no time pressure to complete it, allowing me to spend as much time as needed to improve my work, develop my skills, and enhance my understanding based on the model answers Pfizer provided. Personally, it took me just under a month as I worked hard and took constructive criticism to improve on the tasks I completed. I did this to improve my skills and make the most of the programme.
I highly recommend this programme to students who wish to work in the pharmaceutical industry.
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