How do the salaries of MDs in practice and the business world (pharm) compare?

Mar 20, 2010
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MD's in the two areas that I am most interested in - psychiatry and neurology - seem to be making about $200,000 a year. There's a wide range, obviously, but I think that's a number that we could all more or less settle on using as 'average' here.

I've heard of MD's (along with hard science PhD's) working at Private Equity/Venture Capital firms, Management Consulting firms, and Pharmaceutical companies that are making a MILLION DOLLARS or more in their 1ST YEAR in these roles.

I guess that I'm basically just looking for some insight (or referrals to good articles) from some people that are more familiar with these jobs than I am. Am I just hearing about the super-stars in regards to these salaries?? Or is it almost likely that you will be getting paid this much with the right education should you chose the business world path??

Thank you in advance for any help!
 

Doc Samson

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Since these threads draw attendings with at least some interest in education/mentoring, I doubt you're going to find anyone who's working in big business around these parts. Maybe try the MD/MBA forum.
 

Red Beard

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Am I just hearing about the super-stars in regards to these salaries?? Or is it almost likely that you will be getting paid this much with the right education should you chose the business world path??
The sky is the limit if you don't mind selling your soul.
 

Red Beard

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what's wrong with moving over to the pharmaceutical world and helping them develop good drugs?
Nothing inherently, but the guys who make the big bucks aren't into drug development, they are into sales and marketing.
 
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Nothing inherently, but the guys who make the big bucks aren't into drug development, they are into sales and marketing.
Really. Hm. I was under the impression that most MDs going into the pharmaceutical world were doing clinical trials.

Who is it that's actually developing the drugs? Only Chemistry PhD's?
 

Red Beard

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Really. Hm. I was under the impression that most MDs going into the pharmaceutical world were doing clinical trials.

Who is it that's actually developing the drugs? Only Chemistry PhD's?
No you are right, lots of physicians make money participating in clinical trials. But the big $$ comes from pimping out the drugs by giving talks, speaking engagements, etc. In other words, marketing.

Check out this blog post:

http://carlatpsychiatry.blogspot.com/2010/01/dr-lawrence-dubuske-me-myself-and-irine.html
 
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very interesting. thank you for sharing that article.

how do you feel about/what do you know about...physicians working for medical-based private equity (venture capital) firms?
 

Red Beard

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very interesting. thank you for sharing that article.

how do you feel about/what do you know about...physicians working for medical-based private equity (venture capital) firms?
I don't know anything about that.
 

notdeadyet

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I've heard of MD's (along with hard science PhD's) working at Private Equity/Venture Capital firms, Management Consulting firms, and Pharmaceutical companies that are making a MILLION DOLLARS or more in their 1ST YEAR in these roles.
I've heard this before on other threads and make the same request: can anyone post a job requisition or help wanted for any entry-level MD position offering more than a couple hundred thousand a year?

You hear about all these million dollar jobs anecdotally, but I think most of them are vapor. And of the smattering of high pay MD jobs in industry that I've actually seen, all of them have required residency training and lots of experience.

In my mind, and folks are free to disagree, an MD is actually pretty poor training for much other than as preparation for residency training. By its nature, it's very broad. By the end, you can't take your MD and really be an effective clinician without further training. You have some basic science training, but it's really two year's worth and you're not as well poised for research as some might think.

For a million dollars a year, you could buy a large number of well-known, well-published author-physicians ready to cash in. Finance firms have relatively few jobs out there requiring MDs. Those few jobs are for subject matter experts, people who are experts in their field. New MDs don't really qualify. They're looking for cream of the crop.

Don't know as much about Big Pharm. I suppose having a sales rep with MD on his business card might be nice, but I question how useful.
 

OldPsychDoc

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I've heard this before on other threads and make the same request: can anyone post a job requisition or help wanted for any entry-level MD position offering more than a couple hundred thousand a year?

You hear about all these million dollar jobs anecdotally, but I think most of them are vapor. And of the smattering of high pay MD jobs in industry that I've actually seen, all of them have required residency training and lots of experience.

In my mind, and folks are free to disagree, an MD is actually pretty poor training for much other than as preparation for residency training. By its nature, it's very broad. By the end, you can't take your MD and really be an effective clinician without further training. You have some basic science training, but it's really two year's worth and you're not as well poised for research as some might think.

For a million dollars a year, you could buy a large number of well-known, well-published author-physicians ready to cash in. Finance firms have relatively few jobs out there requiring MDs. Those few jobs are for subject matter experts, people who are experts in their field. New MDs don't really qualify. They're looking for cream of the crop.

Don't know as much about Big Pharm. I suppose having a sales rep with MD on his business card might be nice, but I question how useful.
Very well said on all counts. I suspect that these million-dollar-MDs are a few highly driven entrepenurial types, who probably would have made their bucks anyway, even without medical school. (Maybe even sooner if they hadn't spent the extra 4 years getting a degree that is essentially just an honorary title for them!)
 

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very interesting. thank you for sharing that article.

how do you feel about/what do you know about...physicians working for medical-based private equity (venture capital) firms?
From what I understand the MD's who go into Private Equity and/or Venture Capital are generally MD/MBA types. These folks are generally relied upon to opine about the likelihood of drugs-in-development and medical devices being developed by prospective investment/acquisition targets being approved by the FDA (and other regulatory bodies that approve such things). I would think that these MD's also have other background that would help them make these assessments such as degrees in engineering, bio-chem, etc.

I've only met a couple and they were not your general run of the mill pre-med bio -> med school -> residency folks they were more of the engineering degree from MIT -> Top 5 business school -> Top 5 med school and top 1% of their class -> ridiculously competitive residency folks. But again this is anecdotal experience.
 

Esquire

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I've done legal work for private equity/hedge funds and pharma companies, so I have some insights:

1. It's very difficult to get a well-paying private equity job without prior business/investment banking experience from top business schools and top banks.

2. The physicians that make the most at pharma are outside consultants who have decades of experience and are well-established in their fields. They charge $500+ an hr. or a few thousand per day.

At least once a month, they lecture at pharma-sponsored conferences in nice locations (Hawaii, Rome, etc.) around the world, all-expenses paid including tourist activities. Typically 2-5 days per conference.

They seek funding from pharma and author studies that can be heavily edited or guided by their pharma sponsors. From what I've seen, it can tread a very tight ethical line.

3. Other physicians participate in clinical studies. They get paid per enrolled patient. I don't remember how much, maybe $100-$150 per patient. They have to do a lot of patient follow up. Probably not worth the money.

4. A medical education is useless for pharmaceutical sales. Blond, young and boobs are all that matter to rake in $120-130k/yr.



MD's in the two areas that I am most interested in - psychiatry and neurology - seem to be making about $200,000 a year. There's a wide range, obviously, but I think that's a number that we could all more or less settle on using as 'average' here.

I've heard of MD's (along with hard science PhD's) working at Private Equity/Venture Capital firms, Management Consulting firms, and Pharmaceutical companies that are making a MILLION DOLLARS or more in their 1ST YEAR in these roles.

I guess that I'm basically just looking for some insight (or referrals to good articles) from some people that are more familiar with these jobs than I am. Am I just hearing about the super-stars in regards to these salaries?? Or is it almost likely that you will be getting paid this much with the right education should you chose the business world path??

Thank you in advance for any help!
 

bronx43

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MD's in the two areas that I am most interested in - psychiatry and neurology - seem to be making about $200,000 a year. There's a wide range, obviously, but I think that's a number that we could all more or less settle on using as 'average' here.

I've heard of MD's (along with hard science PhD's) working at Private Equity/Venture Capital firms, Management Consulting firms, and Pharmaceutical companies that are making a MILLION DOLLARS or more in their 1ST YEAR in these roles.

I guess that I'm basically just looking for some insight (or referrals to good articles) from some people that are more familiar with these jobs than I am. Am I just hearing about the super-stars in regards to these salaries?? Or is it almost likely that you will be getting paid this much with the right education should you chose the business world path??

Thank you in advance for any help!
A million dollars in their first year at a PE/VC, consulting, or pharma position? As a MD? HAHHAHAHA.
Sorry, but that's literally my response. I know a decent deal about the business world (more than vast majority of physicians), and I've got to say that these are at best anecdotal, and at worst delusional. First off, I've only ever heard of a few MDs who ended up working at a good position in finance. PE and VC firms are incredibly competitive, and always require finance experience. It really doesn't matter if you went to Harvard med, because your medical education means jacks*** to them.
There are slightly more physicians in management consulting, but to be honest, it's hard to climb up at those firms. You pretty much have to be a superstar (and gone to a M7 MBA program) to have a chance at the partnership track, which is the only way you'll see 7 figured salaries.

And don't fall trap to the oft-recycled tidbit that doctors can just easily get a job at big pharma. It's not like that. If you don't have experience in the industry, or have a hard science degree (PhD), then there's no reason for them to hire you.

Realize that your training is in clinical medicine. In the business world, it is almost entirely irrelevant by itself.
 

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4. A medical education is useless for pharmaceutical sales. Blond, young and boobs are all that matter to rake in $120-130k/yr.
Yup.

I formerly did consulting work with biotech and healthcare, and your best bet to cash in with an MD:
-Be a great business person (build/sell boutique practice, turn-key practice, etc)
-Patent a device, and split the royalties with the engineer
-Publish/Become a "name" and then sell out

An MBA from a Top 3 B-School will get you there quicker. Investment banking even quicker than that.
 

bronx43

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Yup.

I formerly did consulting work with biotech and healthcare, and your best bet to cash in with an MD:
-Be a great business person (build/sell boutique practice, turn-key practice, etc)
-Patent a device, and split the royalties with the engineer
-Publish/Become a "name" and then sell out

An MBA from a Top 3 B-School will get you there quicker. Investment banking even quicker than that.
Interesting. What do you mean by boutique/ turn-key practices?