The USC School of Pharmacy now offers a Master of Science in Biopharmaceutical Marketing (BPMK). The first-of-its-kind program builds core knowledge and strategic skills for success in the biopharmaceutical industry, emerging devices and diagnostics, managed care and other health-related ventures.

The interdisciplinary BPMK degree provides advantages to students looking to begin a career in the health care industry, as well as for busy professionals seeking a career advance. Courses cover such essential topics as:

  • Communication, advertising and forecasting
  • Product development, launch and market planning
  • Strategies for healthcare coverage and reimbursement
  • Integration of pricing and business intelligence

“Biopharmaceuticals are the fastest growing segment of the healthcare industry,” noted Associate Professor Grant D. Lawless, RPh, MD, director of the BPMK and Healthcare Decision Analysis (HCDA) program. “While creating an unmet need for skilled and knowledgeable individuals to design and build the unique marketing methods and strategies to ensure access to biopharmaceutical therapies.”

As a longtime pharmaceutical industry executive, pharmacist and physician, Lawless is part of a faculty that combines professional and practical expertise using novel academic methods to prepare students to meet future challenges.

“The lectures from various experts in pharma/biotech, medical devices, consulting, managed care and PBMs (pharmacy benefit managers) were fascinating, as they focused on real-world business problems and solutions,” said Kaushik Sarikonda, MS, who studied in the sister HCDA program, which offers the same depth of experience among faculty and guest lecturers as the new BPMK.

While both programs feature similar blended learning environments, BPMK expands the use of distance and multimedia learning, while remaining based in the classroom experience. Depending on individual students’ schedules, the accelerated 27-unit BPMK can be completed in as few as three concentrated semesters. The curriculum combines classroom lectures and scenario-based learning exercises with the convenience of online learning and projects that develop real-world experience utilizing the mentorship of working industry professionals.

With in-person classes held only on selected weekends, the program also reduces the need for students to travel repeatedly to the USC campus, limiting interruption to work and family.

While some portions of the program are conducted online, students gain every benefit of becoming part of USC’s famous Trojan Family, including networking opportunities through alumni employed across industries and around the world.

“This new master’s degree exemplifies the School of Pharmacy’s dedication to widening the scope of professional opportunities for our students, while keeping ahead of evolving trends in the health care industry,” Dean Vassilios Papadopoulos, DPharm, PhD, said. “It provides foundational knowledge and experience from which students can build success in the sector.”

— Michele Keller