Alumni Provide Insights into Pharmaceutical Industry

Published on 17 May 2018

A Doctor of Pharmacy can pave the way to a breadth of career paths, from community practice to academia to pharmaceutical research and development and so much more. A career path that, in many ways, embodies qualities from all of these paths is a career in pharmaceutical industry.

To provide students insight into an often overlooked path after pharmacy school, the Alumni Association hosted an industry career panel in March and welcomed back to campus three alumni who perform different roles in the pharmaceutical industry.

Rita Lakamp, B.S. ’95, Pharm.D. ’96, BCPS

Senior Regional Medical Liaison - Diabetes Division at Sanofi U.S.

As a medical science liaison, Lakamp functions as the “science person.” In her role, she provides presentations to various health care providers and organizations that specialize in diabetes. She also holds one-on-one conversations with endocrinologists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, certified diabetes educators and pharmacists, educating them not only on the commercial products that she supports through Sanofi, but on the latest drug developments and research in diabetes. 

“My health care providers look to me as a resource,” Lakamp said. “Even though I work for my company, it is important that I keep up with all the newest data for all diabetes products and devices as well.”

Gina Banks, Pharm.D. ’14, MPH

Immuno-Oncology Content Specialist at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals

Banks is currently an immuno-oncology content specialist at AstraZeneca, where she develops and reviews scientific content for the company’s oncology portfolio, provides response support for escalated inquiries, and collaborates with the company’s U.S. scientific content team to develop and maintain materials used by medical personnel.

As a content specialist, Banks works in the division of medical information and medical affairs. Her responsibilities include developing materials like slide decks, Q&As and clinical trial summaries for medical science liaisons to use when they are interacting with health care providers.

“My role is dedicated to helping develop content for use in the field and contributing to medical strategy for the company,” Banks said. “I develop training materials for medical science liaisons on how to answer questions when they are out in the field. I also develop and review content on competitor products to ensure the information is medically accurate. These materials are used by our field medical team to ensure they are well-informed of how our oncology portfolio compares to our competitors in terms of clinical outcomes."

Rick Kegler, B.S. ’86, Pharm.D., MBA

Managed Market Liaison at Otsuka Pharmaceutical Companies U.S.

Kegler’s role as a managed market liaison is similar to that of a medical science liaison, with the addition of health economic outcomes data, but he works entirely within the scope of managed care. He is currently responsible for 11 states and works with state Medicaid fee-for-service and managed care organizations, integrated delivery networks, pharmacy benefit management companies and national and regional payers.

As Otsuka Pharmaceutical Companies prepares to introduce a new product to the market, Kegler serves on committees that vary his typical day-to-day. One of his responsibilities is drafting the product dossier according to the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy format. The dossier is developed with the goal of giving a provider the information necessary to make an informed decision on whether or not to use a certain product. 

“There is no such thing as a typical day for me,” Kegler said. Thanks to the changes in managed care, “the job keeps evolving. My job, right now, doesn’t look anything like it did one or two years ago, and it won’t look anything like it does now three years down the road.”

Though many careers in pharmaceutical industry do not interact directly with patients, the path is founded on the same principles of direct patient care. Often, clinicians are sought out as ideal candidates to fill roles in the pharmaceutical industry because those individuals understand the importance of patient-centered care and how it informs and affects the higher-level movements in drug development and managed care.

“What I do is provide as much information as possible, whether it is to use the drug or not use the drug,” Lakamp said. “It’s about the patients and what makes sense and works for them, because at the end of the day, that is why we are all in health care.”

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