Getting a foot in the door... pharm. industry / clinical trialresearch

Discussion in 'SAS (Statistical Analysis Software)' started by NMani, Apr 4, 2008.

  1. NMani

    NMani Guest

    Having very little experience in the pharmaceutical industry and
    clinical research seems to be a barrier to entry that I cannot ignore.
    No matter what I do to improve my human capital (certifications,
    graduate classes, ect..), I cannot compensate for the lack of
    experience that many firms looking for in this very specific area.
    Most of the experience I have with data analysis exists within the
    social sciences spectrum in an academic setting.

    Where do I need to start to get into firms that specialize in this
    type of research? What is the bottom rung of the ladder?

    To those who work/have worked with this type of research: Where did
    you start? Can you offer any tips?

    Thank You,

    NMani, Apr 4, 2008
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  2. NMani

    RolandRB Guest

    You have got to go in at a low level as a permanent member of staff to
    break into this field. The reason for this is their SOPs (Standard
    Operating Procedures). To hire somebody as temporary, their SOPs say
    they should have a minimum amount of experience within the pharma
    indiustry. It used to be 6 months. These days it is 2 years. If they
    don't stick to theor own SOPs then they could be fined millions of
    dollars if an audit is done and they are found to be non-compliant.

    Mind you, it didn't stop me from slipping in by the back door!
    RolandRB, Apr 4, 2008
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  3. NMani

    Lou Guest

    My first job in the industry (more than a few years ago) was as a Sr.
    Programmer. I had 15-20 years of SAS experience. Never did get a
    contracting job, had to start as a permanent, full-time employee at a small
    CRO. I took a 50% pay cut if you compare gross salary with the gross
    billings from my last contracting job. Today, I make more than the
    contractors I hire.

    It isn't social sciences, and the setting is certainly not academic. In my
    opinion, certification isn't worth much, and unless you're aiming at being a
    biostatistician, the graduate classes aren't going to help much either, and
    if you are, you need at least a Masters in statistics (preferably
    biostatistics). And while I think the emphasis on experience is overdone,
    there is no substitute for experience, and the emphasis is a fact of life.
    I'd advise trying the small companies (100-ish employees range). Anything
    much smaller can't afford the time and effort of bringing you up to speed,
    and the larger firms tend to require industry experience (the last large CRO
    I worked at required a minimum of 2 years experience in the industry for an
    entry level programmer).
    Lou, Apr 5, 2008
  4. NMani

    RolandRB Guest

    It's part and parcel of the client SOPs. At every pharma company I
    know of, the contractors have got to hand in their signed CVs once a
    year updated with their current job specs. The client has to *prove*
    to any audit that their own people working on a study are qualified to
    do the job. Pharmas do not hire contract "junior programmers". They
    hire plenty of "junior programmers" (at least the big pharmas do) but
    not contract "junior programmers". They need experienced programmers
    if they contract them and these days that means 2 years or more pharma
    RolandRB, Apr 5, 2008
  5. NMani

    Lou Guest

    I've never worked at a pharma company - my industry experience is all CRO's.
    At the CRO's, everybody has to update their cv's annually, not just the

    It's not so much for an audit, but when a CRO is trying to land a contract.
    When a potential client is considering a bid, one of the things they want to
    see is the cv's of everyone who will be working on their project. CRO's
    charge anywhere from $100-$200 an hour for the services they provide - no
    client is willing to pay those rates for someone who doesn't know the
    business. Often they want the people to also know their particular
    indication (oncology, or adhd, or whatever) as well.
    Lou, Apr 5, 2008
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