2 big ways prescription drug prices are impacting life sciences jobs

  • career advice
  • May 25, 2017

When you think of employees at a pharmaceutical manufacturer, you probably picture scientists and researchers in white lab coats working on new life-saving medications. Yes, if you’re seeking a job in drug discovery or clinical research, those jobs are available to you. As the industry tries to reverse the years-long trend of rising drug prices, that also creates more opportunities for marketing, sales, legal and government relations professionals.
 
Drug manufacturers have come under fire for the perception that they are not doing enough to lower the costs of prescription drugs, including generics. Prescription drug costs for Americans under 65 years old are projected to jump nearly 12 percent in 2017. By comparison, wages are expected to increase by just 2.5 percent in 2017.
 
However, there are several factors driving the industry to lower drug prices while still moving ahead with cutting-edge research. Here are a couple trends that are having a major impact on sciences jobs.
 

more money for R&D

The 21st Century Cures Act — signed into law last December — allocates $4.8 billion in new funding for the National Institutes of Health; of that, $1.8 billion is reserved for the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot, named after the son of former Vice President Joe Biden. Another $1.5 billion is earmarked for brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s.
 
That funding for research and development (R&D) is critical for manufacturers of branded drugs. According to Randstad research, pharmaceutical companies lost about $17 billion from expired patents in 2016, and face additional losses of close to $150 million as more generic medications come to market by 2018. As a result, these companies are pouring money into R&D, but hiring managers are having trouble locating and recruit qualified life sciences talent. Companies reported that job candidates tend to be most lacking in relevant experience, soft skills, industry knowledge and work ethic.
 
The job market is extremely competitive, but if you are an applicant that can demonstrate you have the experience and skills so many companies are looking for, you will be able to position yourself very favorably in the eyes of hiring managers.
 

rise of the generics market

Developers of generic medications are seeing the market for their products grow exponentially. Generics make up 89 percent of all prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. Over the last decade, generic drugs have saved the American healthcare system $1.46 trillion dollars because generics are about 80–85 percent less expensive than branded drugs. Yet, according to the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, generics account for only 27 percent of total spending on medicine.
 
Clearly there is a need for an ongoing nationwide campaign to educate consumers, pharmacists, physicians and government officials of the enormous potential impact generics can have in lowering drug prices and healthcare costs. Be on the lookout for generics manufacturers to expand their marketing and sales teams to meet this challenge.
 

jobs are in demand

It’s no secret that an increase in funding and favorable FDA regulatory policies for developing, approving and marketing treatments for rare conditions will lead to additional trials — and a higher need for professionals to oversee those projects. In fact, if you look at the positions Randstad highlighted in its 2017 Life Sciences Hot Jobs, that trend appears to be true. As a job seeker, take advantage of this demand by showcasing your unique skill sets and background, and demonstrate how you’ll help a life sciences organization achieve success. The jobs are coming.

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