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For our Pharma phriends,
I am struck by the number of emails and calls from headhunters
seeking pharmacokineticists for Pharma positions. In contrast,
monies are scarce on the academic side for training graduates or
fellows in research-focused pharmacokinetics. The lack of consistent
funding for post-PharmD fellowships makes recruitment difficult.
Also, the attempts to recruit faculty to Pharma PK positions seems to
be an example of eating one's seed corn.
Perhaps I am the only one out here with the inclination but without
the funding to train pharmacists in the analysis of actual patient PK
data with new drugs, but perhaps there are others. Do our Pharma
colleagues have any suggestions on how to approach their respective
pharmaceutical houses to obtain funding for such traineeships?
Granted, some of them would go to academics positions first, but with
the salary differential between academics and industry, I suspect
that a recruitment pool would soon accumulate. I'd appreciate your
advice and guidance, and I suspect that others in academic
institutions on the listserve would as well.
Paul Hutson, Pharm.D.
Associate Professor (CHS)
UW School of Pharmacy
777 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53705-2222
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To our friends from pharmaceutical industries,
We are having tough time recruiting faculty members in PK and Drug
Metabolism and a lot of PK and Drug Metabolism positions at the smaller
firms are either never filled or often temporarily filled. It is common to
get a dozen of qualified applicants in university's search for new faculty
members in Pharmaceutics, PK and drug metabolism and hundreds of applicants
in search for new position in molecular biology, molecular pharmacology, and
biochemistry. Our discipline runs the risk of being marginalized, as some
of our best pharmaceutics, PK and drug metabolism programs recruit the
brightest molecular biologists who have gotten or are capable of rapidly
getting funding from NIH. Whether these new recruits can train people that
industries want are yet to be seen (maybe industrial people can comment
here). University's administrators want more funding and it is not their
responsibility (so it appears) if some graduates have poor job prospects.
It is not that people who are currently working in the academics want free
money. No, we want to solve problems that the industries currently have and
train students to solve them so industries will get qualified and
experienced people to work for them. It is time to define technology that
industries can use but do not have the time or expertise to develop and form
a consortium so that academics could have funding to train students of the
future. For example, there is a lack of specific chemical inhibitors of ABC
transporters and many of our so called specific inhibitors "cross talk."
Special inhibitors and prototypical substrates for various phase II enzymes
such as UGT and SULT are also missing, making everyone's job so much harder
to do. (I am sure there are many more examples than I listed here.) We know
how to do these jobs, but NIH will not fund such studies because they are
not hypothesis driven. NIH is also not particularly concerned about PK or
drug metabolism by itself. Many other industries support the development of
common technologies and standards, perhaps it is time that pharmaceutical
business start to do the same, or at least lobby on our behalf so that
government can provide funding to train people that industries will depend
on in the future for drug development.
It appears that this forum has many people from industries, and is it
possible that we start a discussion about what is needed? If industries
believe that they will do fine without PK, drug metabolism and pharmaceutics
people and that industries can train anybody to become good at them, please
let us know too, so we academics can quit complaining.
I hope that you all have a great weekend.
Ming Hu, Ph.D.
Washington State University
College of Pharmacy
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Paul, I could not agree with you more concerning the disparity in
funding for pharmacokinetics post graduate training programs. We
maintain one self funded resident in our "Clinical Pharmacology
Specialty Practice" in Tampa, FL and have found a low level of interest
within Pharma to support such a training program. Add to this that the
Medical Science Liaison positions within Pharma have depleted many
practicing kinetics specialists (MD, PharmD and PhD) and left a less
than "experienced" (had to search for a politically correct term) pool
of practitioners to pick up the pieces of their active clinical
services. Many who were blended practice and lab have been pulled as
I see other ramifications of this in Healthcare Systems too. When a
Formulary or Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee looses members who are
versed in kinetics, the depth of product comparisons is often
diminished. We have seen this in the area of anti-infectives over the
last 4-5 years. When we have served as a consultant to a large health
plan or hospital system and seen many of the decisions that were made
void of a kinetic comparison, the results are shocking.
There is definitely a greater problem to be described and that is a lack
of "appreciation" (not to be self serving) or "Understanding" of the
importance of pharmacokinetics in all phases from drug development,
marketing, therapeutic selection to therapeutic drug monitoring.
Maybe we should develop a centralized effort to request funding from
Pharma to support such programs. I don't see this "theme" emanating
from any of the pharmacy or pharmacology professional organizations.
Daniel E. Buffington, PharmD, MBA
Clinical Pharmacology Services, Inc
6285 E. Fowler Ave
Tampa, FL 33617
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