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Prescription for a rewarding career

Manu Kaushik     May 14, 2008

In demand: Clinical researchers
Clinical researchers
The clinical research market in India is growing by leaps and bounds and so are the job opportunities therein. Says E. Balaji, CEO, Ma Foi Management Consultants: “India is increasingly becoming an attractive destination for clinical research for pharmaceutical companies and CROs (clinical research organisations) looking for faster and more efficient ways to test drugs.

 Fact box

Who’s hiring: Ranbaxy, Dr Reddy’s Labs, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Roche, Novartis, Biocon, Pfizer, Dabur, Wockhardt, Merck, Astra Zeneca, among others

Who’re they hiring: B.Pharma, M.Pharma, MSc in Clinical Research, and Post Graduates in Clincal Research

At what levels: Starting from Research Executive at the fresher’s level, the pecking order goes like this: Operation Director (10 or more years of experience) followed by Group Project Manager (5-8 years of experience), Project Manager (3-5 years of experience), and Clinical Research Advisor (2 years of experience)

At what salaries: Research Executive (Rs 2.5-4 lakh p.a.); Clinical Research Advisor (Rs 6-9 lakh p.a.); Project Manager (Rs 15-18 lakh p.a.); Group Project Manager (Rs 35-50 lakh p.a.); Operation Director (Rs 60-80 lakh p.a. plus benefits)

What are the numbers like: The clinical research market currently employs about 20,000 executives; this figure is likely to touch 50,000 in the next two years

This requires a huge number of clinical research professionals, and hence, high quality educational institutes.” It is believed that factors such as a diverse genetic pool, large patient pool on whom trials can be done, competent medical professionals, and low cost of services have stimulated the flow of clinical research to India.According to a McKinsey report, India would need 50,000 CR (clinical research) professionals by 2010.

As against this, there are a little more than 20,000 professionals available and about a 1,000 such candidates are likely to be added annually. Says Shiv Raman Dugal, Chairman, Institute of Clinical Research India (ICRI): “Such a widening gap of rising demand and too few human resources has left pharma companies struggling not only to secure their staff but guard against poaching too.

Payouts in the CR market have zoomed in the recent past.” CR professionals form the bedrock of domestic pharmaceutical industry and several manufacturing companies who have outsourcing clinical research to India. Says Dugal: “Before a drug is introduced in the market, it has to pass a lengthy approval process involving a series of clinical trials. In the next few years, many key patents will expire and major pharmaceutical companies will look to bring new pharmaceutical products off the laboratory bench and onto the pharmacy shelves. In order to accommodate this, the pharmaceutical industry is going to transition from pre-clinical research and development (R&D) to large-scale clinical trial work.”


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