Working in the health industry can be an immensely rewarding experience. Whatever you choose to do helps to benefit someone somewhere and as a whole health workers are working to improve our nation’s health, which is an undeniably admirable notion. But there is often a lot of generalization attached to the industry, with many people assuming that the health service comprises doctors and nurses and a few admin staff.
In fact, the world of healthcare and pharmaceuticals is massive and there are plenty of roles out there that have nothing to do with the immediate care of patients, but which nonetheless have a big and positive impact on their overall health and well-being. Health economists play a very specific role in the development and progress of medicines, interpreting public health data in order to offer information to companies looking to improve their brands. If you are looking to become a health economist, you will usually need a postgraduate degree, prior experience in the pharmaceutical industry and also a background in conducting advanced research.
So, where should you begin? There are lots of jobs in the field of health economics and plenty of opportunities to change jobs within the industry and develop your role. A good place to start is as a research scientist. You would work within a company’s research department, analysing health data, scientific research, economic data and financial market research. From here, you can advise fellow researchers on questionnaires and interview techniques and protocols.
Medical marketing managers usually work in biotechnology or bio-pharmaceuticals. This role involves working with advertising agencies, exploring ways to improve marketing and branding and providing recommendations to help increase sales by raising brand awareness. You will work on all kinds of marketing programmes through a variety of channels, such as websites, e-mails, social media, television and traditional mailing methods. You generally need about five years’ experience in the pharmaceutical marketing industry to take on this role.
Senior consultants work on the design and delivery of drug development research. Once you have taken your degree in health economics and gained five years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry, you will be ready to progress to this role. Some places also ask for you to have three years of private consulting work. You will be responsible for a number of areas of research, including writing grant proposals, conducting interviews and interpreting data.
An area you may wish to explore later in your career in health economics is an academic role as a professor. Usually based within a school of medicine at a university, you will teach health economics, carry out academic research and work with other faculties on research projects. You would need an appropriate doctorate degree and also have evidence of published writing.
There is a great world of opportunity in the health economics field. Do not be afraid to explore it.