William originally studied science with a pharmacology major, he dabbled in the industry for about a year, then returned to the University of Sydney to complete a Master of Pharmacy.
After graduating, William entered into the community pharmacy sector and spent the next four years as a head pharmacist. For William, this time was infinitely valuable and solidified the foundations of his career.
Now, as a senior product manager, he is involved in hiring medical science liaisons, many of whom come straight from community pharmacy, “they understand what patients need, are more well-rounded, have a different approach and are better equipped for the industry.”
William is often asked what is the best way to break into the pharmaceutical industry. "A MSL [medical science liaison] is honestly the best role to enter the industry in, it’s a relatively new role and is a great way to understand the industry” he advises.
From an MSL position, you can take either the medical route (eg, clinical trials) or the commercial route as William did. He became a team leader, then a product manager and is now the senior product manager.
Day-to-day William is responsible for all of the commercial activities that happen within the portfolio. His days range from ensuring there is enough product in the country, negotiating with the pharmaceutical benefits scheme for an appropriate price, to travelling to meet the prescribers to understand their needs and requirements. He is even going to Barcelona to the World Ophthalmology Congress in a week’s time.
Today, career opportunities in pharmacy are very diverse. He explains that pharmacy can open every door in the industry. “A PhD can do the same thing, but a pharmacy degree will do it quicker and will give you the practical experience.”