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Generics is no longer the poor relation for careers in Pharma

Posted on: 30 Jan 13


Five years ago, recruiters faced an enormous challenge when trying to attract candidates for senior level positions within generics pharmaceutical companies – nobody wanted to work for a generics business.

Five years ago, recruiters faced an enormous challenge when trying to attract candidates for senior level positions within generics pharmaceutical companies – nobody wanted to work for a generics business. Come 2013, we are seeing top level candidates from research based Pharma companies actively seek out a change to generics – what has changed and what is it like making the change into a generics company? Andy Stevens from Blue Pelican Pharma gives his views:

“The rise of the attractiveness of a career in generics is a reflection of several factors. Firstly, the patent cliff suffered by many traditional R&D Pharma businesses has introduced a spate of job cuts, downsizing and cost savings. Within the UK, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sanofi Aventis and Novartis have all cut jobs, and this has led many professionals to start reviewing the career options available within the sector. While the patent cliff was a major negative for R&D Pharmas, for the generics business it was nothing but an opportunity with most generics businesses expanding both in production and in the recruitment of skilled professionals.

Secondly the overall reputation of generics companies has been enhanced since they have invested in some of the most up to date manufacturing, production and logistics facilities within Europe. Teva’s packaging plant at Eastbourne packs 5 billion tablets a year and for professionals within functional specialisms such as Quality Assurance, a generics business places a high emphasis on QC and QA within its operations.

Thirdly, the R&D pharma businesses reputations have suffered during the recession and they have received criticism for the high price of drugs. Generics businesses can show that their efforts are making life saving treatments available to the mass population for a fraction of the price that were paid while drugs were under patent.

Fourthly, thanks to their improved financial position, the generics businesses can now compete at the same salary levels as their R&D cousins. Benefits and general packages may not be as generous but they are not too far apart.

Finally the environment and culture at generics businesses tend to be growth and opportunity focussed with an emphasis on solutions-orientated individuals.”

John is a senior quality manager who joined a world leading Generics business in April 2012 after a career within research-orientated Pharma and Biotech businesses. He says “The recent round of redundancies due to the patent cliff has caught the headlines – but since I joined the Pharma industry in 1995 I have been made redundant three times. Research-focussed Pharma/biotech is boom or bust whereas Generics is a more consistent and secure environment. It won’t be for everyone – the commercial realities mean that workload is high, the workforce is lean and the onus is on the individual to deliver their own work effectively. There is very little red tape compared to research pharma – where processes have often been developed, added to and made overcomplicated by generations of research-orientated highly qualified scientists. In Generics companies, emphasis is far more on your abilities as an individual – leadership, communication and solutions-orientation – rather than educational qualifications. I am really enjoying the work and the life here – and don’t intend to go back to a research-focussed business.”

The future is bright for generics businesses – the global market value for generics is estimated to double in size to US $500 billion by 2016 when nearly 90% of all treatments used in the US will be a generic - and we anticipate that there will be many more Pharma professionals knocking on the door of what used to be the poor relation in 2013.

What are your experiences of Generics and Research Pharma? Feel free to email and we’ll publish your comments…

Mike Ellingham, PR & Marketing Consultant

Last updated on: 30/01/2013 10:13:19

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