Epidemiology in the pharmaceutical industry
A survey assessing the practice of epidemiology in the pharmaceutical industry was sent to all member companies and research affiliates of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and to six non-member companies. Eighty-three companies were surveyed. Screening questions established whether or not a company employed epidemiologists, had an epidemiology department, or contracted work to epidemiologists outside the company. The survey included questions about organizational structure, functional role of epidemiologists, epidemiology department activities within the company, and collaboration with external partners. The response rate was 90.4%. Of the responding companies, 40% employed epidemiologists, 20% had epidemiology departments, and 36% utilized epidemiologists contracted outside the company. Eighty per cent of companies that employed epidemiologists also contracted epidemiology services outside of the company, while 6.7% of companies that did not employ epidemiologists utilized outside epidemiology services. Among all companies 42.7% employed or utilized epidemiologists. Differences were found in the extent to which large, medium and small pharmaceutical companies employ and utilize epidemiologists. The survey demonstrates that epidemiologists perform many roles within the pharmaceutical industry; that there are many potential opportunities for epidemiologists in this industry and that increased emphasis on safety will require more epidemiology training and recruitment efforts. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.