4 online courses to upskill for the pharmaceutical industry in 2020

A laboratory technician inspects defunct syringes which were set aside by an automatic inspection machine at a French pharmaceutical company Sanofi's world distribution centre in Val de Reuil on July 10, 2020. Source: Photo by Joel Saget/AFP

By U2B Staff 

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The pharmaceutical industry is one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the world, yet professionals who work in this field are not immune to becoming left behind in the digital era.

As the medical field is currently under pressure because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is also growing rapidly due to technological advancements, those in the pharma industry must upskill to stay abreast of industry happenings.

According to Anand Kiran, Executive Vice-President & Co-Founder at Indegene Lifesystems, “Physicians and patients expect the pharma industry to be responsive and responsible to enable dispensing of early treatment and effective outcomes. The current COVID-19 crisis is a case to the point. The industry is scrambling to find solutions at all levels – from testing to treating, production and shipment of medical accessories for frontline medical staff and so on.

“Design and interpretation of clinical trials data, integrating real-world data, for example, for faster turnaround to the pandemic calls for overhauling of skills for pharma professionals and this cuts across all levels. The archaic ways of working and the legacy systems need to make way for more agile and nimble response mechanisms enabled by a systematic enterprise-wide digital upskilling strategy.”

The shift in consumer behaviour to online formats during the current pandemic is also affecting the pharma industry, as telehealth and telemedicine become more popularly utilised. This means that e-purchases of medicines by uploading doctor’s e-prescriptions are now becoming more common than ever.

Pharma companies must accelerate digital transformation to improve quality and productivity or they may find themselves struggling to keep up with start-ups and other digital-based businesses that are adopting new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Cloud computing, and robotic process automation (RPA).

Here are four courses if you need to upskill or reskill for the pharmaceutical industry:

As part of the Healthcare Marketplace Specialisation, this course on Coursera by the University of Minnesota equips learners with an in-depth view of the intellectual property creation that is vital to creating breakthrough technologies.

You’ll also gain an understanding of the strategy used for pricing drugs and new technologies as well as the market sizing exercise to identify where future research and development investments should be made.

Fundamentals of AI in (Bio)Pharma

Offered by  Pharmaceutical Training International (PTI), this five-week online academy starting in November will give learners a comprehensive introduction to AI in business and its potential applications for the pharma and biopharm industry.

Guided by an expert, learners will develop an understanding of the processes core to the adoption and integration of AI with examples from various sectors.


Prescription Drug Regulation, Cost, and Access: Current Controversies in Context

You can now take this interesting online course by Harvard University on EdX, which gives you an understanding of how the  FDA regulates pharmaceuticals and explore debates on prescription drug costs, marketing, and testing.

You’ll also learn the process of discovering, testing, and approving innovative drugs, including various perspectives on the criteria used for drug approval, and the cost of prescription drugs, including the factors affecting a drug’s market exclusivity period and the availability and use of affordable generic drugs.

To stay abreast of industry happenings in the US, you’ll also learn about current topics stirring debate over the scope of FDA regulation, such as dietary supplements, special classes of prescription drugs, and “right to try” lawsuit that allow patients to obtain drugs prior to FDA approval.

Advance Diploma in Pharma Marketing

Need to improve your marketing or business skills? Instead of taking a broad course in business, you can take this online Advanced Diploma in Pharma Marketing by NCK Pharma.

This course will give you practical knowledge for effective marketing and business development for those who work in this sector in the pharmaceutical industry.

You’ll take modules such as Basics of Advertising, Pharmaceutical Distribution, Promotion in Pharmaceutical Industry, and more.