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Pharmaceutical Medicine

About the specialty

Pharmaceutical Medicine is the medical scientific discipline concerned with the discovery, development, evaluation, registration, monitoring and medical aspects of marketing of medicines for the benefit of patients and the health of the community. In the UK today, more than 1200 pharmaceutical physicians work in pharmaceutical medicine. Developing new medicines and making them available for patients is an international endeavour, and pharmaceutical medicine is an international medical discipline with growing recognition, including formal listing as a specialty. Pharmaceutical physicians work within the strict pharmaceutical legal and regulatory framework, and additionally within ethical and professional codes of medical governance.

Careers in pharmaceutical medicine encompass three main groups of physicians: those working in pharmaceutical companies, those working in independent research organisations dedicated to the development of new medicines and those with appointments within medicines regulatory agencies.

Entry into Pharmaceutical Medicine training is possible after a doctor has achieved clinical and professional competencies in managing patients, which may include clinical trial participants, over a period of four years. A doctor must be able to provide evidence of having managed patients in a range of acute and long-term illnesses: of close involvement on a regular basis with the management of such patients through multi-disciplinary team meeting; of managing clinical research study participants; of prescribing, administering and monitoring the effects of medicines.

For further information on Pharmaceutical Medicine please visit the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine website.

Latest news and developments

A new curriculum was approved and implemented in August 2021. Please see the curriculum section below.


The curriculum for each specialty defines the process of training and the competencies needed for the award of a certificate of completion of training (CCT). The curriculum includes the assessment system for measuring trainees’ progress, comprising workplace based assessment and knowledge based assessment.

The new 2021 curriculum long with the 2010 curriculum can be found on the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine website.

ARCP Decision Aids

The ARCP decision aid for each specialty defines the targets that have to be achieved for a satisfactory ARCP outcome at the end of each training year. ARCP decision aids were revised to reflect the changes to the assessment and review process from August 2014 and replace all previous versions.