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Product Positioning

What is drug product positioning?
Drug positioning refers to the place a specific product is envisioned to hold in a broader set of products. This can include what line the drug is meant to be used in and what patients within that line are the right patients for the drug from a clinical perspective. From a payer perspective other considerations including cost may also come into play in thinking about a particular drug’s positioning in the market.

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Congress Planning

What is Congress Planning?
Congress Planning in the context of the pharmaceutical industry refers to planning for the company presence at medical congresses. This is usually done at a brand or franchise level and starts with deciding on which congresses the company wants to have a presence at and to what extent. It could involve many tasks, especially at large international congresses, including work by the HCP marketing team on promotional aspects (such as the brand/franchise booth(s), meetings with key opinion leaders (KOLs), purchase of banners or other promotional materials to be distributed at the congress, etc. The Medical team may also have tasks including setting up and running a Medical Information booth, continuing education sponsored sessions, satellite symposia, meetings with KOLs, etc. Advocacy and Public Affairs team members may also set up meetings with patient organizations. Advisory boards are also frequently done during major meetings and may be held in the evenings following conclusion of the meeting agenda for a given day. From a logistical standpoint all of this could require planning on renting meeting space, accommodations for employees or experts that the company may be contracting with for specific activities, etc.

Congress planning for major meetings can last several months and may include several weeks of cross-functional meetings leading up to the event to communicate within the company on what is planned for the presence at the congress.

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Key Performance Indicator

What is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI)?

A Key Performance Indicator is a measure used to gauge performance of individuals, teams, brands, or companies. Every person and team in a company will likely have some sort of KPI against which their performance is measured. KPIs tend to be quantitative, but can also be qualitative in some instances.

Examples of KPIs may include the number of interactions field team members have with the customers they call on, sales in a region covered by a sales rep, formulary coverage metrics for market access teams, overall sales for a brand team, etc.

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Registry

What is a registry?

A registry is a dataset specifically created to collect data for research purposes and centered around a specific disease state or drug. Registry data often offer a greater level of relevant detail on included patients compared to more traditional real world evidence databases such as administrative claims data or electronic health record data. Additional information that a registry may capture (and importantly, also code into structured data fields, making research easier) include data on biomarkers, disease severity measures, blood/lab data for specific tests, etc.

Registries are usually put together by a central body which contracts or collaborates with various clinical sites and gets information from them on relevant patients. This information may be provided in a variety of means including sharing of EMR notes or specific case report forms that individual clinical sites fill out for each patient. The registry organizer may then take relevant elements and transform them into structured data elements for inclusion in the registry.

Disease state registries focus on patients who have a specific diagnosis or clinical condition whereas a drug-specific registry may only capture patients using a particular or a group of drugs. Both may have value in addressing specific research questions.

Registries are typically sponsored by academic organizations, patient advocacy organizations, professional medical societies, companies, or pharmaceutical manufacturers. They are often available to research groups including those within pharmaceutical companies for certain fees.

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PharmD Industry Fellowships

What are PharmD Industry Fellowships?

These programs offer PharmD graduates the ability for additional training in a specific area within the pharmaceutical industry. They can often be a stepping stone to a career in the industry as opposed to more traditional pharmacy jobs such as retail or hospital-based work. There are hundreds of pharmacy industry fellowships in the United States, primarily catering to recent graduates, but open to any PharmDs. Functional areas are wide-ranging from Medical Affairs roles to Commercial roles to Clinical Development and Pharmacovigilance. Some fellowships may also offer a rotational component in which a fellow can explore other functional areas over the course of their program.

There are many programs in the US offering these programs, some of which are academic-industry partnerships and others which are solely run by pharmaceutical companies. The largest in the country is the Rutgers Pharmaceutical Industry Program (RPIF), which has over 100 programs primarily in the NY/NJ and California areas. MCPHS University in Boston also has a large program, primarily affiliated with companies in the Cambridge biotech hub. Northeastern University has a smaller fledgling program in that area as well. St John’s University in NY has a small program as well. The largest independent program is by Eli Lilly in Indianapolis.

Some fellowship programs also offer fellows the opportunity to simultaneously work towards a master’s degree by taking night or online classes to supplement their on-hand experience with additional didactic work.

What are employment prospects like following a fellowship?

In general, there is a very high job placement rate for fellows graduating from programs such as Rutgers and MCPHS. While placement at the same company or in the same group can be highly variable from year-to-year and often dependent on the situation the group is in (in terms of available headcount, whether the company has a hiring freeze, etc.), opportunities in the same function at other companies are often available at any given time, especially in one of the biotech or pharma hubs.

What is the salary during a fellowship?

Salary can range, but is usually in the $40,000-$50,000/year range during the fellowship. Non-financial compensation could include free tuition towards further education depending on the fellowship program.

How do I get an industry fellowship?

Check out the Rxference guide on PharmD industry fellowships.