I had been interested in pursuing a career outside hospital medicine or general practice ever since I was a medical student. I explored all sorts of things: occupational medicine, public health medicine, informatics, armed forces, aviation medicine, pharmaceutical medicine, as well as careers outside medicine.
The aspects that attracted me to pharmaceutical medicine were the variety of career choices available, the possibility of travel, the commercial aspects and the possibilities for innovation.
At first I found it bewildering. It takes a while to get to grips with the whole development cycle: from the various phases of preclinical and clinical trials, through regulatory, to marketing and sales, with aspects such as safety and market access thrown in along the way.
I started off in pharmacovigilance and, once I had got used to the various acronyms, found it fascinating and liberating. I was immediately thrown into people management and recruitment but it was a great challenge and good fun. It was refreshing to discover that pharmaceutical companies are generally very much more efficiently run than the NHS.