AVP Franchise Leader, EMENA, Joe Dunford tells us about his passion for working in the pharmaceutical industry as part of Accord celebrating National Science Week.

I have been working in Healthcare for 20 years and have been at Accord Healthcare for 4 years. I love my job, I find it challenging but rewarding because I know what I am doing in a small way can enhance patients lives. I am also very lucky to work with a really inspirational team who always go the extra mile to get results. I am a strong believer in Innovation and R&D. To achieve the best possible outcomes for patients, a strong R&D platform and investment is crucial and I am really lucky that Accord share that same belief and passion. I work in the AVP and biosimilar field which in my opinion is the best part of the business to be in! In other companies this would be known as the branded division. A main aim of my department is to ensure that we help launch the best possible products, that can make a difference to the people that use them.

How did you start in the pharmaceutical industry?

Following a BSc in Pharmacology I got my first job at Glaxo Wellcome in the quality department. I become envious of a friend who worked in Sales, so I decided to change my career path. I did around 10 years within Sales roles progressing to national level in the UK, then moved into Marketing and finally became overall commercial lead.

What would you tell your younger self?

If I could do it all over again, I would perhaps like to have more of a career plan early on - and to believe that you can do anything you set your mind to. You have to put the hours in and have a passion for wanting to make a difference. I was once told, “Do what you care about” and I think that is good advice to anyone starting out.

Who was your role model in your career and why?

I have been really fortunate as I have progressed throughout my career, that I have worked with a number of really inspirational managers who have been quite varied in lots of different ways, but from who I have taken different advice and working styles. When I first started in my sales job I was really lucky to get excellent on the job training and this really did make me want to emulate those qualities and learn from them and try to keep improving my working style.

The best advice I was given was by a past manager who believed that you had to be responsible for having work / life balance. You have to put in the hours, the travel and effort to progress, but also need to ensure you have a good balance, it is up to you to achieve that.

What advice would you give anyone else starting out in the industry?

I would say keep a really open mind and get stuck into projects as much as possible. The pharmaceutical industry is a very varied field. You need to try and learn as much about the business that you are in, so don’t be too narrow minded and try to get involved in multifunctional projects so you have an understanding of how other departments work, in order to be effective and meet the overall goal the company is trying to achieve.

The reason why I keep working in Healthcare and I am so passionate about my department is that we try to work together really hard to launch the best possible products to make a difference to patient’s lives, and when products get launched, and you see them on the shelves, you know that you have played a part in making that possible. That is what drives me to make a difference to our patients across the world.