Training for physicians in the pharmaceutical industry is second to none. Pharma companies invest heavily in their physicians. In the UK  for example they sponsor speciality training leading to a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT), the holder of which is eligible to apply for entry to the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK.


Companies also sponsor a wide range of business and soft skills courses for Continuing Professional Development (CPD).  The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine has established an on-line system to assist members in recording their CPD and you can download a pdf of the CPD Guidance Notes from the 'downloads' page in the Resources section.

At Only Medics, we offer free training free to all our candidates and clients, collaborating with HR professionals in the industry to help them better understand the roles of physicians.

For entry level medics, we offer Physicians2Pharma workshops with opportunity for clients to attend as observers and/or speakers.  Take a look at the Physicians2Pharma page to find out more about these events.  We are also planning an initiative to help physicians already working in the pharma industry to fast-track to more senior levels.

Only Medics, as part of The Clinical Professionals Group, also produce a yearly pharmaceutical salary survey allowing clients and candidates alike to compare the average salaries and benefits of different professions within the pharmaceutical industry.

Speciality Training

Pharmaceutical medicine is a recognised specialty.  The purpose of specialist training is to produce accredited pharmaceutical physicians with specialist knowledge, skills and competencies to practise to the highest ethical and professional standards in the development and maintenance of medicines.

UK Physicians
Physicians already issued with a National Training Number (NTN) prior to 1 August 2007, undertake training by a course of study and examination leading to the Diploma in Pharmaceutical Medicine and can then opt to undertake advanced Higher Medical Training (HMT) in pharmaceutical medicine, practical competency-based training in an individualised programme centred on an approved workplace training environment leading to the award of a CCT.

To be eligible to undertake HMT, doctors must have a minimum of two years of General Professional Training (GPT) in approved Senior House Officer posts involving direct patient care and including a minimum of 12 months' experience of prescribing and observing the effects of drugs given in a wide range of acute and non-acute situations. Multidisciplinary rotations are highly recommended, but not essential. Doctors must be members of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Physicians, be registered with the GMC and be based in the UK.

Physicians with a National Training Number (NTN) from 1 August 2007, undertake Pharmaceutical Medicine Speciality Training (PMST). The programme of PMST consists of the specialty knowledge base leading to the Diploma in Pharmaceutical Medicine by examination, which must be passed, prior to undertaking practical competency-based training in an individualised programme centred on an approved workplace training environment leading to the award of a CCT. To be eligible to undertake PMST, medical practitioners must be registered with the GMC and have a job in the pharmaceutical industry, at a Clinical Research Organisation (CRO) or at a regulatory agency.  If the individual qualified on or after 2005 he/she should have completed the Foundation Programme (F1 and F2 posts) and at least two years of post-foundation clinical training in a specialty training programme or appointment.  If the individual qualified prior to 2005, he/she should have completed the pre-registration House Officer year plus two years as a Senior House officer in approved training posts.

In order to enrol for PMST, doctors must be resident in the UK. Following enrolment, PMST may be undertaken overseas, with agreement of the Specialty Advisory Committee (SAC) on Pharmaceutical Medicine. However, a minimum of 50% of the 4-year programme must be undertaken in the UK. From 1 January 2007, doctors with non-EEA clinical training are not eligible for entry to a UK CCT programme, including PMST. Those doctors may undertake PMST training but on completion their entry to the GMC's Specialist Register will be determined by fulfilling the requirements of Article 14 of The General and Specialist Medical Practice (Education, Training and Qualifications) Order 2003. Instead of a CCT they receive a Certificate confirming Eligibility for Specialty Registration (CESR).

There are currently 3 programmes of study that deliver the training and knowledge required to undertake the Diploma in Pharmaceutical Medicine examination:

Diploma in Pharmaceutical Medicine - Cardiff University and BrAPP
This course was established in 1975 to provide a structured training programme for doctors already employed in the pharmaceutical industry, Clinical Research Organisations (CROs) and Regulatory Authorities. Jointly organised by Cardiff University and the British Association of Pharmaceutical Physicians (BrAPP), the programme is grouped into free-standing modules, eachof 2½ days duration. The modules are taught at a number of locations, e.g. Stratford-upon-Avon, Southampton, Bristol or Cardiff and provide doctors with specialist knowledge and skills to practise as a pharmaceutical physician and prepare for the Diploma in Pharmaceutical Medicine.

MSc in Pharmaceutical Medicine – Guildford University
This 2-year (minimum) programme is designed to meet the needs of those working or intending to work in the speciality of pharmaceutical medicine or those who require a professional qualification pertinent to pharmaceutical medicine. It is particularly suitable for those practising within the pharmaceutical industry, related fields of commerce, licensing authorities or the public health service as the part-time and modular nature of the programme is well suited to people with work commitments, allowing a flexible rate of attendance (1 to 6 modules per year). The modules are recognised by the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine as fulfilling the curriculum requirements for the Diploma in Pharmaceutical Medicine.  The course offers insight into a wide perspective of pharmaceutical medicine including discovery, development, evaluation, registration, monitoring and marketing of medicines. As well as evaluating various aspects of drug development processes.

MSc in Pharmaceutical Medicine – Hibernia College (online)

This is a recent web-based masters program in Pharmaceutical Medicine. The course which takes a minimum of 18 months, is open to both physicians and non-medical specialists who are employed in the Pharmaceutical Industry in areas including Medical Affairs, Regulatory Affairs, Clinical Monitoring, Data Management, Drug Safety and Clinical Project Management. In addition to the standard core curriculum, the Hibernia course offers education in a wider area of expertise, including leadership skills, the fundamentals of IT and technological advances in the Pharmaceutical Industry, eMedicine, business ethics, health economics and finance. There is also a research project and dissertation aimed at answering mission critical issues within each student's individual areas of employment.


For HMT or to complete PMST, the training programme comprises 6 modules conducted through work-place experience and dedicated approved courses:

  • Have you had problems with the recruitment of pharmaceutical physicians?
  • Do you often receive inappropriate CVs for your roles?
  • Would you prefer candidates for your medical jobs to be better briefed?
  • Does it take too long to fill your medical vacancies?
  • Healthcare Marketplace

  • Drug Safety Surveillance

  • and a 7th generic module in pharmaceutical medicine that encompasses the principles of Good Pharmaceutical Medical Practice and interpersonal/management skills relevant to the ethical and professional work of a pharmaceutical physician practising outside the NHS. 

  • Successful completion of the training programme leads to a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT), the holder of which is eligible to apply for entry to the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council in the UK.


    Click here for the Diploma in Pharmaceutical Medicine syllabus.

    Click here for information about the HMT modules.

    Click here for the Pharmaceutical Medicine Specialty Training curriculum.

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