Role of a Medical Statistician
Medical Statisticians are key players in a drug development project team within the research, development and manufacturing of a pharmaceutical product.
Statisticians are becoming highly sought in the pharmaceutical industry and increasingly play leading roles in areas such as pharmacology, health economics, real world evidence, personalised healthcare, manufacturing and marketing.
Statisticians are involved in a wide range of activities, including:
- Designing scientifically sound experiments or trials
- Defining data collection methods
- Determining the analysis methodology and requirements
- Performing data analysis
- Correct interpretation and decision making
- Present results to senior managers and government agencies around the world
Statisticians almost never work in isolation in the pharmaceutical industry. Project teams are made up of a variety of disciplines, to include doctors, scientists, operations managers, compliance and marketing teams.
Role of a Statistical Programmer
Many pharmaceutical companies and contract research organisations (CROs) employ statistical programmers who work closely with the statisticians to carry out a wide range of activities.
Their main role is to help design and then program the tables, listings and figures that summarise the data collected during a clinical trial. Statistical programmers are also responsible for developing and validating computer software and macros, both in-house and externally purchased, used by both statisticians and statistical programmers.
It is important that they are often searching for the most efficient techniques for statistical reporting and skills such as good algorithm design and defensive programming are important. Programmers also need to stay up-to-date with different software functionalities and tools so that programmers can easily adapt their existing knowledge to new programming environments and languages.
Each year the demand for qualified statisticians increases.
Medical statisticians almost always have an MSc in Statistics, and a PhD is not uncommon. The MSc courses are seen to provide a strong background in statistics as well as the ability and confidence to apply the knowledge to a wide range of problems.