Clinical pharmacologists develop and test new pharmaceutical products. Their income varies widely, depending on what field they work in. In 2015 the median salary for all medical scientists was $82,240, while the highest-paid professionals in this field earned $175,320 working in professional, scientific, and technical services.
A clinical pharmacologist is a medical scientist who specializes in how drugs affect the body. These professionals draft plans for pharmaceutical trials and create guidelines for prescribing medication. Clinical pharmacologists typically hold M.D. and Ph.D. degrees; a medical license is also required.
|Required Education||M.D. and Ph.D.|
|Other Requirements||Valid medical license|
|Projected Job Growth for Medical Scientists (2014-2024)*||8%|
|Average Annual Salary for Medical Scientists (2015)*|| $114,430 in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing
$104,310 in scientific research and development services
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Description for a Clinical Pharmacologist
According to the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), clinical pharmacologists develop and test new pharmaceutical products, focusing on interactions between drugs and diseases. Clinical pharmacologists apply knowledge of pharmacokinetics, the absorption of drugs, with pharmacodynamics, the effects of drugs, to create new pharmaceuticals.
In addition to determining the effectiveness of drugs, pharmacologists optimize drug prescribing and prevent medication errors. Clinical pharmacologists work with pharmaceutical companies in new drug development and with government agencies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that approve drugs for use.
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Duties of a Clinical Pharmacologist
To design drug trials, clinical pharmacologists refer to data from the Human Genome Project and consult with scientists who have developed new pharmaceutical compounds and conducted preclinical testing. They coordinate testing of a drug's absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion from the human body.
Clinical pharmacologists contribute to new drug applications delivered to the FDA, which includes detailed plans for up to four phases of clinical trials involving volunteer patients. They decide how much of a drug to administer and how to administer it based on pretrial research and the intended destination within the body.
During the course of clinical trials, pharmacologists evaluate a drug's effectiveness, monitor for side effects and make adjustments to a drug's chemical structure. Clinical pharmacologists also track other factors that influence a drug's effectiveness, including the presence of different drugs, food and dietary supplements.
Salary Information and Outlook for a Clinical Pharmacologist
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical scientists who worked in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing earned an average annual salary of $114,430 in 2015, while those who worked for scientific research and development services earned an average of $104,310. The BLS predicted an 8% expansion of job opportunities for medical scientists in general, from 2014 to 2024.
Clinical pharmacologists are highly-trained professionals who develop and test new pharmaceutical products through clinical trials. They are responsible for identifying possible effects of drug interactions and determine how to administer new drugs safely. Median salaries in this field were in the low six figures in 2015.