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Pharmaceutical Economics

The value of medicine, both in terms of cost and efficacy, is the central concern of pharmaceutical economics. Read this article to learn more about this field of economics and about careers for pharmaceutical economists.

Inside Pharmaceutical Economics

Pharmaceutical economics, also known as pharmacoeconomics, deals with supply and demand of pharmaceutical products, as well as the cost-benefit evaluation of new and existing drugs. Primary concerns of the field include expanding drug accessibility, reducing the price of drugs and improving the cost-effectiveness of new drug therapies. Professionals in this field have proficient understanding of healthcare policy, healthcare administration and drug regulations, coupled with strong mathematical skills.

Education Information

Pharmaceutical economics is usually offered as an interdisciplinary graduate program at the master's and doctoral levels through schools of pharmacy, and students may prepare for such programs by completing a bachelor's degree in pharmaceutical science. In addition, some students choose to pursue a degree in pharmaceutical economics after completing a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.), but the professional Pharm.D. is not a prerequisite for admission.

Often paired with policy, the curriculum typically covers econometrics, drug policy analysis, epidemiology, economic assessment, clinical research statistics and drug regulations. Most programs require completion of an original research project. Doctoral degree requirements also include written and qualifying exams. Review the links below for more details about degree programs in this field.

Distance Learning Options

Students interested in pharmaceutical economics can opt to complete related degrees and certificates completely online or through hybrid programs. Online courses in pharmaceutical science and economics are also available. The articles listed below offer more details about online learning programs.

Career Options

After earning a master's or doctoral degree in the field, graduates can pursue careers as pharmaceutical economists in public and private sectors. These specialists may work for government health agencies, healthcare consulting firms, professional healthcare associations and insurance companies. Opportunities in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries include working in the areas of managed care, hospital administration and marketing. Pharmaceutical economists also work in research and teaching at colleges and universities. The links below can connect you to articles that offer more information on some related careers.

Professional Development Opportunities

Professional development opportunities exist through a number of industry associations. These organizations include the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, American Pharmacists Association and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected jobs for pharmacists in general as well as economists to grow by 14 percent between 2012 and 2022, which was about as fast the national average for all occupations (www.bls.gov). As of May 2012, the median salary for pharmacists was $116,670. Economists earned a median salary of $91,860 during the same period, reported the BLS.

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