PharmD considering med school

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by killingbill, 05.20.14.

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  1. killingbill

    killingbill 5+ Year Member

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    About me: Age 30, have a PharmD, recently completed MBA online

    Had I known what pharmacy was before I went to pharmacy school, I would have never done it. You get no respect from people yelling at you all day long, people expect you to ring up their groceries when you have no cashier due to budget cuts, standing all day long, no lunch, incompetent staff. I absolutely hate my job and feel like a caged animal.

    I went for my MBA online because I figured that it would help me get into a management type position, but it proved to be absolutely useless.

    I am considering going to medical school. Can anyone comment on whether this would be worth the additional time (figure 8 or 9 years or so because I want to go into a sub specialty like radiology)? I make in the 130k range, however pharmacy has proved to be a job where you start high and there is zero potential for growth. Derm/radiology make in the 300 plus range.
     
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  3. oldstock

    oldstock Banned Banned

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    check this and search for more of similar threads,

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/adding-an-md-to-your-pharmd.1062452/#post-15210640

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/pharmd-to-md.873144/

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/thr...-graduation-am-i-crazy.1050684/#post-14807142

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/combined-pharmd-md-program.1032380/#post-14497720

    the concern is that if you are doing the MD now, you might miss out income and investment opportunity as a pharmacist for all those years you are in medical schools + residency plus you will accumulating more students loans. And you have not paid off your pharmacy student loans, those will continue to accrue interests. Also, you might have to sacrify some life / family opportunities as well.

    You are going to do some math to calculate your break-even point (i.e. debt free) assuming that you will successfully complete an MD program and complete the residency you want.
     
    Last edited: 05.20.14
  4. RxMonkey

    RxMonkey 2+ Year Member

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    A few questions.
    Have you tried finding work in a hospital/independent/anything besides chain retail? Do you have any debt? Can you handle the idea of not starting a career until you're almost 40?


    Also, pharmacist saturation is bad. But competition in highly desireable specialties (Derm/Radiology) is fierce as well. Keep this in mind.
     
  5. jafx

    jafx 2+ Year Member

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    Do it; no question. You should always do what you love. Get an observership with someone in the specialty you're interested in and see if you'd like doing their job!

    Then, for the hell of it, seriously consider visiting a few European countries and see if you like their culture more. There's no reason you can't go to school where it's nearly free, and make your permanent residence there.

    Take the next year to really evaluate how you want to spend the next 30-45 years of your life. You only live once!!!
     
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  6. BidingMyTime

    BidingMyTime Lost Shaker Of Salt 10+ Year Member

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    What is your family situation? I think for most people, starting med school at age 30 is too old (and realistically, how long would it be before you could start? If your pre-reqs are over 5 years old, medical schools are going to require that you retake them.....so you are probably talking a minimum of 2 years to repeat the pre-reqs and do the volunteer work, study & get a good score on the MCAT, before you can even apply to med school.) People have done it, buts its a huge process, you can't just wake up and decide to start medical school tomorrow. Have you looked into other options of using your PharmD/MBA, maybe look into getting into hospital administration, for example?
     
  7. BidingMyTime

    BidingMyTime Lost Shaker Of Salt 10+ Year Member

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    Oh, and every other medical student wants to go into derm/radiology....the vast majority will not qualify for these programs, you will need to be getting straight A's, and really be able to sell yourself on interviews to get into an extremely competitive program such as derm/radiology.
     
  8. trailerpark

    trailerpark 2+ Year Member

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    Did you find any benefit from the MBA, maybe not at your current company, but anywhere else where it would be useful? I kind of thought about that as well for myself. Or is it really just a waste of time?
     
  9. ewax

    ewax 2+ Year Member

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    You should do it, or at least study/take the MCAT and see where you stand. If you have decent enough stats, you can realistically apply this year (considering the rest of your application is competitive). Good Luck.
     
  10. oldstock

    oldstock Banned Banned

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    aside from financial and family reasons, there is no other difficulty that I see...

    The OP is already a working PharmD so his science prereq might be considered relevant still and he might not have to retake those. He should call the schools to find out the specific details but I do not think they will make him to retake his science prereq.

    And starting med school at age 30 is not too old. You should check out the pre-med forum on SDN :)

    To the OP: you should also go to the pre-med / non-traditional forum to post for advice. But I can tell a quick story of one of my friends who graduated with a PharmD and switching over to the medical side. He worked for a few years after graduation, saved enough money, did not take the MACT or did any more volunteer / shadowing, and went straight to a Caribbeans medical school, worked and saved money whenever he was back States side, and score very very well on Step 1 then did an anesthesiology residency and now a practicing anesthesiologist making 400K+ a year. The lesson is, the cost of a Caribbean med school is cheap and you can pay your way through med school and virtually have no med school debts after graduation. I think that strategy could help with you to decide.

    But do more research and ask more question on the pre-med / med forum on SDN, research the Caribbean and other options (I even heard that in some European countries, the cost for medical school is free-PM poster "jafx" he might know more about this than me). Keep us upated !! GL :)
     
    Last edited: 05.20.14
  11. ewax

    ewax 2+ Year Member

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    This is horrible advice. Do not go to the Caribbean unless you have a serious red flag on your application. If you do, there is a real chance of not matching and still being on the hook for four years of medical school.
     
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  12. jafx

    jafx 2+ Year Member

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    +1

    Europe would be a much better choice than the Caribbean; at least you could possibly line up a residency in one of the EU countries if the US crapped out on you. Plus med school is damn near, or actually, free in most EU countries.

    If this guy is a working pharmacist though, why couldn't he just pay cash for US med school?
     
  13. BelowTheMean

    BelowTheMean Member 10+ Year Member

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    I think it's pretty much agreed upon that more than 40% of my pharmacy class if not higher would do medical if given the chance to redo. However, none of us could foresee this pharamcy downfall and most of us cant afford to do another 10 yrs of school. If you really want it though, Carribean schools would be a horrible idea. You have a really high chance of not even matching rad/derm...or ANYTHING, which is probably worse than being caged in a pharmacy. Also do know that it isnt all that much better in medicine as that field has taken a tremendous beating also (source MD friends). Another note, radiology/anesthesiology new grads cannot find a job.

    Here's an article on radiology:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/28/h...am-jobs-disappearing.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
     
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  14. pharmerjohn

    pharmerjohn Working on a Dream 2+ Year Member

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    Ya, this... There's a good chance you won't get a residency by going to Caribbean schools. Oldstock's friend may have been a genius AND extremely lucky to get into anesthesiology coming from a non-U.S. school... Especially a Caribbean school.

    Also, I don't think Caribbean schools are all that cheap either. In fact, some may argue that they're rather expensive.
     
  15. PumpkinSmasher

    PumpkinSmasher Pharmacist 7+ Year Member

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    If your passion is to be an MD, go for it...apply and see what happens. But if you are just making the switch because you hate retail pharmacy then I think you are wasting years of your life, retirement savings, income and going further into debt. It has to be hands down what you want to do before going down this path.

    I work in ambulatory pharmacy and love it! I think it is the best gig in primary care, physicians/NPs/PAs use me as a consult service. I have an office, I am treated as a medication specialist and see patients as a provider. I wouldn't rule out pharmacy entirely just because you figured out retail pharmacy is hell.

    But if you decide MD is the route for you, you should know that going into radiology and derm is far from easy, you need to kill your boards, solid recommendations and be towards top of your class. Not just any MD student is going to be able to go into derm/radiology. The physician salaries you are quoting are definitely out there in certain specialties but it depends on the area of the country, the specialty and whether you are in private practice or academia. My wife is a sub-specialist physician in private practice, her salary before bonus is $400k. But she had to work her ass off in medical school and residency to get where she is today and lucky for us she loved a specialty that paid very very well. I work with plenty of family practice doctors that make 180k and work 60hrs/week. No thank you!

    Do whatever it takes to get out of retail hell. Managed care and ambulatory pharmacy are great careers in my opinion. I love going to work every day! :)
     
  16. oldstock

    oldstock Banned Banned

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    the misconception is that Caribbean med schools are bad. It is not true, as I know at least a couple of people that went same Caribbean route that my friend did and successfully matched in to residency. Most of Caribbean med school students failed because those schools' admission is easy, thus there are a lot of students in those medical school who do not belong there in the first place. My point is that if you are a good student and can pass the difficulty of medical school, then ace USMLE, your chance at matching residency in the US is almost the same as US med students. There are a few good Caribbean med schools that will enable you to practice in all 50 states.

    I agree with the European med school options as another alternative. From reading from pre-med / med forum here on SDN, I saw people went to med schools in the UK, Ireland, and Australia (i.e. English-speaking countries unless you want to spend some time to learn a foreign language which I would rather spend to study for the MCAT for US med schools) . Also, in some EU countries, med schools might be free but it might be only free to their legal residents and citizens (I have not investigated this yet for info so I could be wrong). Even if you graduate from a European med school, you still have to go through the same process as Caribbean med school graduates (or more on top of my head, if you did not done your clinical rotations in the US, you might have to apply and do those rotations / internship before you could sit for the USMLE).

    The avg tuition of a Caribbean med schools is ~ 20K a year or less. The cost of US medical school in comparison, on the avg, is ~ 2X that amount. In my estimate, I assume the cost of living and other expenses is the same in both case. So in theory, the OP could pay for US med school if he got lots of money in his saving. (Remember he will not be able to work much as a pharmacist in med school or his grade will have to suffer.) In my friend's case, he did not want to spend anymore time to study for the MCAT and the application process and preferred to spend all the time for his 1st year of med school in the Caribbeans in order to get out early.

    Just threw a thought out there about going to the Caribbean med schools a I see the financial concern might weigh a lot in the OP's decision to go or not to go for med schools. And I know Caribbean med schools are cheap compared to US med schools. And I also know many people in my circle who successfully navigated through Caribbean med schools and now are practicing MDs in the U.S.

    Another option the OP can do is to apply to state medical schools with super cheap tuition. Of course, he has to be a resident of the state :)
     
  17. YoAyDri

    YoAyDri 2+ Year Member

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    I am going to UGA this fall for PharmD and also struggled with the maybe I should just do med school. I'd love if you can point me in the right direction about those 2 fields you mentioned though. I absolutely dont want to be stuck doing retail in 4 years.
     
  18. oldstock

    oldstock Banned Banned

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    yeah well you might be right about my friend being a genius. He was a Rho Chi (3.5 pharmacy GPA) and graduated with a PharmD. But I do not think you will get accepted into any US medical school with a 2ish or even 3.0s GPA in pharmacy school either. So consider that :)

    He did score very well on his Step 1 (~ 92 percentile) and he was a working PharmD and got great LORs for his med rotations. So tell me why he should not get a good chance at anesthesiology. If you can do as well as he did, you will get the same chance.

    Again, if you are not an excellent student (or genius), you do not belong in medical school because it is very likely that you will flunk out.

    About Caribbean med schools' tuition is cheap on the avg, do not just take my words. Google for yourself for the numbers bro !! :)
     
    Last edited: 05.20.14
  19. pharmerjohn

    pharmerjohn Working on a Dream 2+ Year Member

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    The point was, to spend 4 years and $200k+ only to end up relying on luck to get into a residency is not a wise investment of time and money. Is it possible? Well, pretty much anything's possible. But is it wise? Probably not. Also, not many can score in the 90%ile+ on the USMLE.

    I did do a search and it doesn't seem cheap to me.
     
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  20. oldstock

    oldstock Banned Banned

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    I agree with most you said there.

    Unless your passion is now MD like some mentioned above, the whole MD after PharmD is not financially wise in general. Assuming 100K annual salary, you have to forgo at least 1/2 a million or even more in your pharmacist's salary alone while stacking on debts for 4 years of med school + residency / fellowship (that is why I mention the Caribbean route to lower the cost of med school but I would prefer to get in a state med school with super cheap tuition).

    Yup, not many can score in the 90's percentile on Step 1 of USMLE. And for Caribbean med graduates, usually you will have to score quite a bit more than US med students to be consider for the same spot or residency.

    For the cost of Caribbean med schools, I suggest that you search for the Big 4's. My friend managed to pay his way with only 80K+ (excluding housing and living expenses but I know he did not spend much more). The whole thing he did ~ 100-120K.
     
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  21. pharmerjohn

    pharmerjohn Working on a Dream 2+ Year Member

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    Well, at least we agree on that. :)

    I was just trying to make a point, so I'll take your word for it with the Big4's, as I'm really not interested in med school.
     
  22. eagles22

    eagles22 5+ Year Member

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    Caribbean may have worked out for him, but it's not a great choice. He was extremely lucky. I know people who have crossed the street with their eyes closed, but I wouldn't want to do that either. No one goes to the Caribbean by choice anymore. Look at the pre-med boards. Caribbean should be your last option after applying to US MD and DO schools and then not getting in. I just did a quick search and it looks that 20k per year is actually 20+k per term/semester. So it's not even that cheap.

    Residency is getting more and more competitive. There are more US students now than in the past with schools growing their class sizes and few schools opening here and there. Residencies, however, are not growing in size (thanks Obama). Foreign grads will be the first to get pushed out of any desirable residencies. So he's going to have to gamble that in a few years, foreign grads can get into anything other than family or psych. At 30 years old, you need to know that you'll be able to make it into a decent residency to even be able to have a chance to break even on the costs.
     
  23. postbacpremed87

    postbacpremed87 5+ Year Member

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    I know a PharmD that went back to medical school and is now a 4th year Otolaryngology resident. He is beyond happy with his choice.
     
  24. BMBiology

    BMBiology temporarily banned~! 10+ Year Member

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    You are just having one of those "OMG, I am going to be struck at CVS for the next 30 years" attacks.
     
  25. BidingMyTime

    BidingMyTime Lost Shaker Of Salt 10+ Year Member

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    This is no longer true (if it ever was, I'm not sure about that.) US medical schools have been increasing in number & class size (just like pharmacy schools!), however residency slots have not increased and have even been cut back in some specialties. Current situation is that there are more students graduating from US medical schools than there are residency slots.....and reality is, graduating from a Carribean school carries a stigma (rightly or wrongly), and a student from there will have to be something very, very, very special to have a chance at a residency. Most Carribean graduates do NOT get a US residency.
     
  26. owlegrad

    owlegrad Uncontrollable Sarcasm Machine Staff Member SDN Administrator 7+ Year Member

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    I would love to see some figures to back that up.
     
  27. msweph

    msweph 2+ Year Member

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    I think a lot of people in my class say they would have done med school. The number that actually would have is much less. That being said, I took the MCAT and wish I would have switched out after my bachelor's. Now that I've got my phamd and have been working for a few years, I know there is no way I can go back. I'd miss the responsibility and the time commitment is way too much. If the pharmacy job Markey hits rock bottom, I'll go back for a PA degree.
     
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  28. a runner

    a runner ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    Yeah when I told the people in my class that I was switching during P2, a good chunk of them asked me how to do it and for studying tips for MCAT, can they buy my MCAT books, etc. I doubt very many of those people, if any, actually made the switch. The fact is, it's a pretty big difference between starting med school directly after P2 versus already being graduated. I still say go for it if that's really what you want to do and you don't like pharmacy. Sure, hospital clinical pharmacy is an option before you jump ships, but even that seems largely unsatisfying if what you really want to do is be a doctor.
     
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  29. a runner

    a runner ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    To the OP, you are 30, you would be at least 31 when you start medical school, 35 when you graduate, and (if you go radiology), you would be 40 when you enter fellowship for another 1-2 years, getting your career started at 41-42. That's not too bad, you'd still have 30 years to work if you choose radiology, which is one field (like pharmacy) that allows you to keep working well into your later years if you choose. Some specialties (emergency medicine, anesthesiology, surgical specialties) are harder to maintain into your 60's and 70's because of the physical demands and on-call/long hours. There are plenty of students at my medical school that are your age. The one thing is that if you plan to do this, you need to get started soon if you want to start in 2015. You need to take the MCAT in the next 2-3 months and based off that and your GPA decide where to go from there. If your UG GPA is below 3.5, you need to prepare already to apply to DO school and shadow a DO this summer in expectation of a letter of recommendation from him/her. If you score less than the 30-33 range on the MCAT OR your GPA is below 3.5, you should apply to DO school in addition to MD.

    DO NOT under any circumstances apply to or go to Caribbean schools. This year 47% of US Citizen graduates of foreign med schools did not match. Compare that to 5.6% of US MD Seniors and 22.3% of DO students (and that's not counting the separate DO only match). Don't take the chance that you won't score great on boards! If you get a 200 on the USMLE and are a US MD or DO, you will still match, barring any serious red flags and you choose an appropriate specialty. The same can't be said of Caribbean grads. If you score around average (225) as a US MD or DO, you can still easily match Radiology if you apply broadly to low and mid tier programs.

    As far as a specialty... you will most likely change your mind, but since you are more mature, this is slightly less likely, depending on how much you know about the specialties. Radiology is a great specialty and has some similarities to hospital pharmacy in that you are sitting much of the time working a queue with occasional clinical duties. One thing to consider is that it is 5 years for residency and the current trend is that most residents are doing 1-2 years of fellowship following this, for a total of 6-7 years. That is a lot of lost income where you would make half what you make now for that period, although at the end you would likely make at least double for the rest of your career.

    Radiology is not as competitive as the above posters make it seem. 5 or more years ago it was comparable to derm and other competitive specialties, but no longer. Only 5 US Seniors who ranked the specialty as their only choice went unmatched in radiology this year (out of 497 applicants) or 1.0%. That's smaller than the % who only ranked 1 specialty that went unmatched in family medicine (3.1%), emergency medicine (3.4%), internal medicine (2.0%), dermatology (9.1%), surgery (8.7%), and orthopedic surgery (17.1%). In fact, only 780 US Seniors ranked radiology as their first choice this year (29 ranked it as 2nd or worse choice), completing for a whopping 1,176 spots. As far as I can tell, >80% of DO applicants who try are able to match MD radiology now. The rest of the spots were left for foreign grads to complete over, but even a majority of them matched.
     
  30. msweph

    msweph 2+ Year Member

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    My spouse is a medical student right now-- seeing everything that they have to do to make themselves stand out, studying constantly, long unpaid hours, cost of school and liscensure exams, and constant concern over residency is not something I want to deal with at this point. I like my job as a clinical generalist well enough and working 40 hours a week with less responsibility than an MD is good enough for me.
    Going back to undergrad I would probably more seriously consider medical school.
     
  31. Tygacil

    Tygacil Phar_MD 5+ Year Member

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    Hey OP. Really only you can decide whether it's worth the additional time. In 4+5 = 9 years you will be 39 and a pharmacist, or you can be 39 and a practicing physician - which would you rather be doing? I asked myself that same question. Yes pharmacy is financially rewarding, but if you don't like what you are doing/dread going into work each day, what fun is doing that for the rest of your life? I graduated with my PharmD in 2009, managed a pharmacy for a year, and started med school in 2010, graduated with my MD two weeks ago, and will be starting my residency in orthopaedic surgery July 1st - couldn't be happier with my decision.
     
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  32. BestDoctorEver

    BestDoctorEver Banned Banned Account on Hold 5+ Year Member

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    I was told that radiology is not that competitive anymore since the job market is not that good...

    @killingbill ... I was in the same position as a RN. I worked in nursing for few years and I was very unhappy. Five years ago, I decided I could not go on and do that job for another 30+ years of my life; therefore, I decided to get BSN while taking the prerequisites for med school. I did that and now just started med school in my mid 30s. My situation might be a bit different than yours since I did not have any student debt. If you don't see yourself doing pharmacy for another 35+, it's worth going to med school IMO. I don't think you need to retake any prereqs because I took my gen chem classes 12+ years ago and no schools told me anything about them. Also, look into DO schools since they tend to like nontrad applicants with previous healthcare careers, and are also more forgiven in term of GPA and MCAT.
     
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  33. VCU07

    VCU07 Member 10+ Year Member

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    Telling someone to just do it isn't a reasonable response. There are financial and personal obligations that must be thoroughly thought out before doing so. OP, consider everything in your life and weigh the pros and cons. Look at some of my prior posts. GL
     
  34. Digsbe

    Digsbe 5+ Year Member

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    I've played around with the idea of med school too, would probably go to a cheaper DO school since they are more non-trad friendly and I like their philosophy.

    If you go to med school to be a basic family physician you may not break even (and may even make less) over the course of your career when you factor in the extra loans and missed years of making 100k+ as a pharmacist. However, money isn't everything either. I think it would be interesting to get into clinical trials and drug research both having a PharmD and MD/DO.
     
  35. jafx

    jafx 2+ Year Member

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    I don't know about pharmd/md, but md/phd cats make some very reasonable paychecks in big Pharma in Switzerland after they get a few years under their belts.
     

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