As a junior doctor, it can be extremely difficult to imagine a working life outside the NHS. Appointment to a consultant post brings some opportunity to practise medicine outside the NHS, but few contemplate a move to an entirely commercial setting. Those of us who have moved to work entirely in a commercial setting, as pharmaceutical physicians, tend to be regarded with a mixture of curiosity and suspicion by our peers and colleagues, who often reveal a great number of misconceptions about our roles and responsibilities. Yet, currently some 731 physicians are registered with the British Association of Pharmaceutical Physicians, with 25 recording psychiatry or neuroscience as their area of expertise. There are 1400 physicians registered on the mailing list for the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Physicians. It was through reflecting on the level of interest as to our motives and rewards that we were moved to write this article. To colleagues in the NHS, it can seem as if we have moved into an unknown and suspect world. This article aims to describe something of the role of the pharmaceutical physician and the initial experience of moving into the industry.
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