Difference between Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Science: Making an Informed Career Choice

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The terms pharmaceutical science and pharmacology do not just sound similar, they are also interrelated in the same way that pharmacology and pharmaceuticals are synonymous. This is an important distinction to note, especially if you are planning to join the pharmaceuticals industry later. Read on as we explain the difference between pharmacology and pharmaceutical science, especially in line with the career opportunity it holds.

Definition of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Pharmaceutical science is a broad term, which is used to collectively designate a cluster of scientific specializations related to experimenting, studying, and documenting related to short-term/long-term drug effects, drug toxicity, drug interactions, drug formulations, drug development, and more. Due to the vast nature of pharmaceutical sciences, it has been separated into multiple subdivisions of specialization. Pharmacology is just one of those several subdivisions, and we will take a brief look at the other primary specialties as well.

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  • Pharmacodynamics: Studying and documenting how cellular receptors react to drug molecules.
  • Pharmacokinetics: Studying and documenting how a human/animal body processes drug molecules through the various stages of its processing and interactions.
  • Pharmaceutical chemistry: Optimizing drug design, based on information documented via pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics.
  • Pharmacogenomics: Studying whether/how certain drugs have lasting effects that can be passed onto the next generation.
  • Pharmaceutics: Optimizing tolerability, deliverability, and stability of drugs.
  • Pharmacognosy: Studying and documenting the efficacy and effects of plant-derived drug molecules.
  • Pharmaceutical toxicology: Studying and documenting the toxic effects of pharmaceutical products including but not limited to drugs.

Although pharmacology should also be on this list, it will be explained in the next part to better highlight the difference between pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences.

Definition of Pharmacology

By definition, pharmacology is a specific field of pharmaceutical science that experiments with, observes, and documents the various physiological as well as biochemical effects that different drugs and chemicals have on animals, humans, and plant life. Therefore, the primary difference between pharmacology and pharmaceutical science is that the former is a division of the latter. However, pharmacology is broader than any of the other subdivisions. In fact, pharmacology courses often include other subdivisions such as pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics within the curriculum.

Pharmaceuticals vs Pharmaceutical Science

Note that the term “pharmaceuticals” is often used to designate the entire industrial sector surrounding pharmaceutical products. Although this is the field where you will be working in one role or another after completing your degree in pharmaceutical science, their meanings should not be confused as being the same. Pharmaceuticals refers to the business, while pharmaceutical sciences provide us with the necessary knowledge to become an active part of that business.

How to Qualify for the Best Jobs in Pharmaceuticals?

Now that there is no confusion, let’s shift focus to how one can qualify for the best career opportunities available within the pharmaceuticals industry. Education and training are, of course, the first place to start, but which ones hold the best prospect?

This is where things can get a bit complicated because there are so many options to choose from. Consult with the experts and let CfPIE help you find the best pharmaceutical training course that best suits your requirements and qualification.

You can narrow the list down a bit by yourself too, but without the necessary knowledge and guidance, that can prove to be a difficult task. Nevertheless, one should expect the following from a pharmaceutical training program before joining it.

  • The training course should be approved by a nationally/internationally recognized regulation authority such as PharmaTrain.
  • Your own qualifications must be adequate for the course on offer.
  • If you are already working in pharmaceuticals, the degree should be able to augment your resume and current professional capacity.

Importance of Getting Started on the Right Career Path

In case you are joining a program without prior experience in the field, the chosen line should be prospective (high pay, high employability, etc.). For example, even the average income of a pharmacist in the US is approximately $145,000+ per year, with projections indicating the salary to rise exponentially over the next decade. However, you will need a PharmD or an equivalent qualification to qualify as a certified pharmacist. At the same time, even undergrads can work part-time/full-time as assistant pharmacists, although the pay will not be as high as that of a fully qualified pharmacist for obvious reasons.

Nevertheless, the point to note here is that an undergrad assistant pharmacist is most likely a working student. They are already in the process of completing their education and training to assume a well-paid role within the pharmaceuticals sector. This remains a possibility for them because they chose the right course, to begin with. Professional education takes years and thousands of dollars to complete, especially when you are trying to join healthcare. It is best to not waste either on a program that isn’t prospective enough or does not have the necessary validations.

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