Quality Assurance (QA) is a vital function within all Pharmaceutical and Medical Device companies. Job titles within the QA area can vary a great deal across different companies, with titles including QA Associate, QA Officer, QA Specialist and QA Scientist, then progressing to QA Manager, QA Lead etc. The QA terms, especially at junior-to-intermediate level, are often quite interchangeable.
The QA team is typically responsible for ensuring that the quality standards and systems followed in the manufacture of drugs is in compliance with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and meets the specific quality standards laid out in the company’s Quality Management System (QMS). A QMS will include quality standards for internal audits, deviations, change controls, corrective actions, quality review reports, clean room monitoring, batch record review, and external documentation reviews.
A pharmaceutical QA professional’s responsibilities will include analysing the production process of pharmaceuticals, identifying areas where errors prevail, root cause analysis, observing every activity, monitoring the drugs being manufactured or packed for visible defects, testing the drugs (or at least interpreting the data from lab-based QC analysis), noting down observations gathered from the quality control process, and accepting or rejecting batches of drugs on the basis of samples (Batch Release). Quality Assurance teams will often be divided into different QA groups, with some more focused on batch record review while others are more involved in non conformance investigations and SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) updates.
Skills and Experience required for a career in Quality Assurance
- Science degree (this is not always essential)
- Experience gained in a GMP / ISO environment
- QA processes and systems
- Batch record processing
- Ability to multi-task
QA salaries can vary enormously depending on what specific duties the person will be undertaking. If the role is a relatively entry-level or administrative one, focused on batch review or entry and processing of QA documents / data, salaries could be in the £18k - £24k range. Salaries can then increase steadily once you start to specialise in a particular area, especially if this means getting involved in hosting / conducting internal or external audits, continuous improvement initiatives, team leadership, or training. QA offers a varied and interesting career path and you could earn up to £40k in a non-management role and significantly more than this once you are in a management-level position.
In addition to being the capital city of the United Kingdom, London (aka Greater London) is one of the nine official regions of England and consists of 32 boroughs plus the City of London. London is a global city with a population of 9 million and is the most densely populated region in Europe.
London is one of the centres in Europe for cell therapy, gene therapy and advanced therapies (ATMPs). Next to Stevenage, Cambridge and Oxford, London is a major site for biotechnology innovation, pharmaceutical development and rare diseases. London is the world's leading financial centre for international business and as such the financial services industry in London, including banking, insurance, broking and fund management make the largest contribution to London's economy. Other major industries in the London region include real estate, legal, accountancy, creative industries such as fashion, design and art, media and TV, legal, construction, London tourism, pharmaceuticals, biotech and retail. In recent years many technology companies, especially those in FinTech, have set up in the area of East London known as the “Silicon Roundabout”, putting London on the map as a key area of growth.#
The vibrancy of the London life sciences cluster is reflected in the activities of various networking groups which provide regular opportunities to make new contacts via events, conferences and other meetings:
One Nucleus: Established in 1997, a not-for-profit Life Sciences & Healthcare membership organisation centred on the Greater London-Cambridge-East of England corridor. Through providing local, UK-wide and international connectivity, One Nucleus seeks to enable its members to maximise their performance.
The Royal Veterinary College (RVC): The RVC is pre-eminent among veterinary schools, and offers the highest quality in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and research - meeting the growing demand for veterinary professionals and biomedical scientists. It also provides support for the veterinary profession through its three referral hospitals, diagnostic services and CPD courses.
MedCity: MedCity represents the life sciences cluster of London and the Greater South East of England. Their expert knowledge, industry experience and sector-wide perspective means they can maximise opportunities for growth and collaboration within the region and beyond.
The BioIndustry Association: The BioIndustry Association (BIA) is the trade association for innovative enterprises in the UK's bioscience sector. Its mission is to encourage and promote a thriving, financially sound sector of the UK economy, built upon developments across the biosciences.
London has a wealth of iconic and world famous London attractions such as Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, beautiful parks, numerous world class museums, a vibrant London theatre land and global cuisine, the combination of which attracted over 19 million visitors to London in 2016. London tourism numbers have received a substantial boost thanks to the hugely successful Olympic Games held in London in 2012.
London is a great place to further your career in life sciences. If you are a looking for pharmaceutical jobs in London, scientific careers in London or want to discuss cell therapy, gene therapy, ATMP, medical device, technology, biotech or pharmaceutical job opportunities inLondon, give our Next Phase team a call. The London area is continuing to expand as a centre for jobs in science, process development, technology, software development, project management, informatics, quality, reg affairs and supply chain.
At Next Phase we help people find new jobs in life sciences across the UK, Europe and USA. This page lists some of the job opportunities in London, and if you give us a call we can also talk to you about other scientific jobs, pharmaceutical career opportunities and the latest updates in cell and gene therapy and ATMP development in the London area.