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So a while ago it just completely dawned upon me that if I get an interview and the interviewers ask about my research for this summer, I can't talk about specifics about my research. The thing is that since I'm working for a pharma company developing drugs, I'm held under contract to not discuss specifics about my research, like what it targets or what chemicals I had to make and the specific roadmaps I used to plan my reactions. I can talk about general things, and general lab experiences that could take place at grad labs, but that's pretty much about it. How will my interviewers take this? Will they see it as some sort of excuse for me to not talk about the details of my research?
 

LizzyM

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Slide said:
since I'm working for a pharma company developing drugs, I'm held under contract to not discuss specifics about my research, ... How will my interviewers take this? Will they see it as some sort of excuse for me to not talk about the details of my research?
It's unlikely that anyone will want specific details. If asked, you can always start by saying that you are under a confidentiality agreement (you'll be required to keep things confidential in clinical settings so seeing you respect that kind of an agreement is a plus). Then you can talk about what you've learned -- do you like research enough to want to continue with it in med school and in your career (in addition to patient care)? have you gained an appreciation for the years that go into the development of a drug that makes it to market? do days or weeks of work sometimes end in disaster or disappointment & how does that make you feel? Do you work with others as part of a team? If so, what's that like? What have you learned from the people with whom you work? (hierarchical teams are the way medicine is taught in the clinical setting). See... there is quite a bit you can talk about without talking about the chemistry or the roadmaps or anything like that.
 
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Slide

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Hmm, thinking about it now, there's actually a lot I could talk about concerning the things you brought up, LizzyM. A few things I really learned about research is why it can take so long to develop new technologies or discover new sciences, because so many things plague it (accidents, bad conditions like the weather, people being human and want to take time off, wrong directions in development, etc.). The job exposed me more to the debate about health care and medicine straight to the people, why new drugs HAVE to cost so much in order for pharma companies to remain in business, and reasons of why importing cheaper drugs from Canada isn't so sound after all. Wow, you always seem to have that silver bullet that answers all of my serious questions!
 
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Slide said:
Hmm, thinking about it now, there's actually a lot I could talk about concerning the things you brought up, LizzyM. A few things I really learned about research is why it can take so long to develop new technologies or discover new sciences, because so many things plague it (accidents, bad conditions like the weather, people being human and want to take time off, wrong directions in development, etc.). The job exposed me more to the debate about health care and medicine straight to the people, why new drugs HAVE to cost so much in order for pharma companies to remain in business, and reasons of why importing cheaper drugs from Canada isn't so sound after all. Wow, you always seem to have that silver bullet that answers all of my serious questions!
it's because she is one of those :)
One of the best advice-givers on SDN without a doubt
 

TMP-SMX

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Slide said:
Hmm, thinking about it now, there's actually a lot I could talk about concerning the things you brought up, LizzyM. A few things I really learned about research is why it can take so long to develop new technologies or discover new sciences, because so many things plague it (accidents, bad conditions like the weather, people being human and want to take time off, wrong directions in development, etc.). The job exposed me more to the debate about health care and medicine straight to the people, why new drugs HAVE to cost so much in order for pharma companies to remain in business, and reasons of why importing cheaper drugs from Canada isn't so sound after all. Wow, you always seem to have that silver bullet that answers all of my serious questions!
Drugs have to cost this much? How did they survive 10 years ago with prices relatively rock bottom compared to today's prices.

Sure. You can tell your side of the story, and you can try to back it up. But you may be a bit biased working for a pharmaceutical company.

It may be that most of the basic research is funded by the NIH and the federal government. The pharma companies plague medical journals with biased research. Then the pharmaceutical companies spend a huge portion of their budget on advertising and marketing on reworked drugs that are no better than previous molecules. Sure, advertising can promote awareness of certain diseases, but patients are beginning to ask for particular drugs that they don't need. Doctors play a role in this too, but patients now think that they know everything about their symptoms and come in with printed out sheets from WebMD. They demand antibiotics when they have the sniffles for a few days. Or the fact that the overmedicated status of our nation's people is putting a strain on our economy and health as a country. Companies are dropping health insurance benefits as fast as they can. Pharmaceutical companies inside this country pale in comparison to the European pharmaceutical companies that develop many more drugs a year. The whole point is that unless the pharmaceutical companies start playing by the rules, the people will sweep all of the corrupt politicians and their big pharma lobbyists out of congress. There will be no more extensions of patents for reworked drugs so they can profit before generics come out. There will be no more excessive tax breaks for companies that already reap the benefits of NIH funded university research. There will be no more demand for pharmaceuticals because nobody is going to be able to afford health insurance. Hence, there will be no more pharmaceutical companies.

Ok that's enough. This discussion can be saved for another day. A bit of that was just a rant but some of the points were directed at the pharmaceutical companies. Have a good day. :cool:
 
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Slide

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gapotts2003 said:
Drugs have to cost this much? How did they survive 10 years ago with prices relatively rock bottom compared to today's prices.

Sure. You can tell your side of the story, and you can try to back it up. But you may be a bit biased working for a pharmaceutical company.

It may be that most of the basic research is funded by the NIH and the federal government. The pharma companies plague medical journals with biased research. Then the pharmaceutical companies spend a huge portion of their budget on advertising and marketing on reworked drugs that are no better than previous molecules. Sure, advertising can promote awareness of certain diseases, but patients are beginning to ask for particular drugs that they don't need. Doctors play a role in this too, but patients now think that they know everything about their symptoms and come in with printed out sheets from WebMD. They demand antibiotics when they have the sniffles for a few days. Or the fact that the overmedicated status of our nation's people is putting a strain on our economy and health as a country. Companies are dropping health insurance benefits as fast as they can. Pharmaceutical companies inside this country pale in comparison to the European pharmaceutical companies that develop many more drugs a year. The whole point is that unless the pharmaceutical companies start playing by the rules, the people will sweep all of the corrupt politicians and their big pharma lobbyists out of congress. There will be no more extensions of patents for reworked drugs so they can profit before generics come out. There will be no more excessive tax breaks for companies that already reap the benefits of NIH funded university research. There will be no more demand for pharmaceuticals because nobody is going to be able to afford health insurance. Hence, there will be no more pharmaceutical companies.

Ok that's enough. This discussion can be saved for another day. A bit of that was just a rant but some of the points were directed at the pharmaceutical companies. Have a good day. :cool:
I don't work at a big pharma company, so I'm not as familiar with the big pharma practices. However, some of the things I said have good reasons of why the are they way the are. The NIH makes basic science discoveries, but it takes pharma companies to translate their work into something more meaningful and useful in a reasonable time frame. Ever heard of the phrase "good enough for the government?" That's how fast work happens at the NIH. Advanced drug research at pharma companies progress more rapidly.

As for the part about pricing, the reason pharma companies spend money on reworked molecules on their drug and milk out what they can out of their cash crop drug is that in order for further drug development to continue in other fields, you need money. Lots and lots and LOTS of money. Drug development is costly, time-consuming, and plagued with many setbacks because the process from discovery, to development, to Phase I, II, and III, and then finally FDA approval takes a huge amount of time. During this time, you need to pay for materials (which can be very COSTLY), equipment, upgrades, and salaries. Keep in mind that most of the people working have either a master's or more commonly, Ph.D's in the sciences, so they have to be paid a respectable salary (otherwise they'll leave and pursue other jobs). The money is needed in R&D for drugs to come out on a reasonable time scale. If you want an example of the effect of cheapening new drugs on research, look at Canada. Canada's government subsidizes drugs and buys them directly from the companies, then resells them at cheaper costs. The problem with this is that the Canadian system only allows people to buy new drugs when they have tried other older, less effective ones thoroughly. The result is that the pharma companies get less money from their drugs (from reduced consumption and pricing from the government), and in the end, companies basing off profits from Canada will either have to downsize vastly, or shut down because any profit made cannot cover the cost of new research. Thus, this is why you do not see Canadian-driven pharma companies on the forefront; they simply have no money to survive.

I understand that pharma is a big business industry, and some parts of it can be corrupt. However, that's probably the case with any industry, and in whole, pharma companies are a good thing, and they should stay. From what you're arguing, if pharma companies abide by the rules and don't find other innovative uses for their other drugs, they will perish and their absence is a good thing. I strongly disagree; without pharma companies, recent drugs such as statins and cancer drugs would never see the light of day. Pharma companies are the reason why some people are still alive or have a better life today.
 

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Slide said:
From what you're arguing, if pharma companies abide by the rules and don't find other innovative uses for their other drugs, they will perish and their absence is a good thing. I strongly disagree; without pharma companies, recent drugs such as statins and cancer drugs would never see the light of day. Pharma companies are the reason why some people are still alive or have a better life today.
That's certainly not my stance. Of course I want the pharmaceutical companies to exist, because they are a required part of the health care industry. My point was that they won't exist by their own doing if these tactics keep up.
 

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Slide said:
I understand that pharma is a big business industry, and some parts of it can be corrupt. However, that's probably the case with any industry, and in whole, pharma companies are a good thing, and they should stay.
I'll have a lot more sympathy for the pharmaceutical companies when they stop pouring so much money into end consumer marketing. I'd LOVE to see what the marketing budget is compared to their R&D. They advertise more than retail these days.
 

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notdeadyet said:
I'll have a lot more sympathy for the pharmaceutical companies when they stop pouring so much money into end consumer marketing. I'd LOVE to see what the marketing budget is compared to their R&D. They advertise more than retail these days.
R&D is not exactly well-defined in their budgets these days. Most of the development is how creative they can make their next erectile dysfunction advertisement. :p
 

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gapotts2003 said:
R&D is not exactly well-defined in their budgets these days. Most of the development is how creative they can make their next erectile dysfunction advertisement. :p
Did a quick hunt on Wyeth's job page for the $hits and giggles and found 74 jobs in R&D and 28 in marketing. Think that there's always been an 8 to 3 ratio of actual scientists to ponytailed marketing hacks in drug companies? Doubt it.
 

LizzyM

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notdeadyet said:
Did a quick hunt on Wyeth's job page for the $hits and giggles and found 74 jobs in R&D and 28 in marketing. Think that there's always been an 8 to 3 ratio of actual scientists to ponytailed marketing hacks in drug companies? Doubt it.
And don't be fooled by the number actually on Wyeth's payroll. In advertising, much of the budget goes to an outside advertising agency that develops the concept, hires the talent (actors, directors, videographers, art directors, graphic designers, animators, voice-over talent, etc) and does the media buys (purchasing magazine pages, time on radio & TV, etc).
 

notdeadyet

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LizzyM said:
And don't be fooled by the number actually on Wyeth's payroll. In advertising, much of the budget goes to an outside advertising agency that develops the concept, hires the talent (actors, directors, videographers, art directors, graphic designers, animators, voice-over talent, etc) and does the media buys (purchasing magazine pages, time on radio & TV, etc).
Very good point.
 
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