Quality Control (usually known as QC) is an important part of the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device production and supply process. It often means different things in different contexts. For example, QC in a Pharmaceutical manufacturing company often refers to lab-based QC analysis of raw materials, intermediates and finished products, using different chemistry techniques (e.g. HPLC, GS, MS, LC-MS, wet chemistry or other materials characterisation techniques). Within a Biopharmaceutical company, QC may also include Microbiology (e.g. bioburden and endotoxin, testing environmental samples or water samples) or Biochemistry (e.g. ELISA, western blotting and SDS-PAGE). In different settings, QC may refer to other inspections and checks outside of the lab, including checking different components, inspecting packaging materials, and ensuring the correctness of shipments.
QC often works in close collaboration with Quality Assurance (QA). QA is defined as a procedure or set of procedures intended to ensure that a product or service under development (before work is complete, as opposed to afterwards) meets specified requirements. QA is sometimes expressed together with QC as a single expression, quality assurance and control (QA/QC).
In order to implement an effective QC program, an enterprise must first decide which specific standards the product or service must meet. Then the extent of QC actions must be determined (for example, the percentage of units to be tested from each lot). Next, real-world data must be collected (for example, the percentage of units that fail) and the results reported to management personnel. After this, corrective action must be decided upon and taken (for example, defective units must be repaired or rejected and poor service repeated at no charge until the customer is satisfied). If too many unit failures or instances of poor service occur, a plan must be devised to improve the production or service process and then that plan must be put into action. Finally, the QC process must be ongoing to ensure that remedial efforts, if required, have produced satisfactory results and to immediately detect recurrences or new instances of trouble.
Typical Job Titles include – QC Assistant, QC Scientist, QC Technician, QC Inspector
Key Skills and Experience
- Most QC roles require a degree in an analytical science, whether Chemistry, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, or similar. However, this is not always essential
- Knowledge of analytical techniques (e.g. HPLC, GC, MS, LC-MS, GC-MS etc)
- Ability to complete and process complex documentation and data
- Knowledge of GMP / GLP
- Ability to stay focused, even if undertaking routine repetitive tasks
Entry-level QC roles generally start in the region of £17k - £18k and move up relatively quickly, especially if you have a degree. QC teams are often divided into levels (1, 2, 3 etc), with clearly defined salary bandings. Generally, an experienced QC Scientist who undertakes project leadership duties (e.g. method development, stability etc) will earn something in the region of £25k - £28k. Then, if you go down the supervisor / manager route, a QC Manager salary might start around the “mid 30s”. QC is not necessarily the most highly paid part of the Life Science industries, but it is varied and very important.
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.