Regulatory affairs officer: job description

Regulatory affairs officers act as a link between companies and regulatory authorities, ensuring that products are manufactured and distributed in compliance with appropriate legislation.

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The profession offers opportunities for travel and international employment.

What does a regulatory affairs officer do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Regulatory affairs officers ensure that products such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and veterinary medicines meet legislative requirements.

Key duties of the job include:

  • studying scientific and legal documents
  • gathering, evaluating, organising, managing and collating information in a variety of formats
  • ensuring compliance with regulations set by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
  • maintaining familiarity with company product ranges
  • planning, undertaking and overseeing product trials and regulatory inspections
  • keeping up to date with changes in regulatory legislation and guidelines
  • analysing complicated information, including trial data
  • offering advice about company policies, practices and systems
  • obtaining marketing permission
  • outlining requirements for labelling, storage and packaging
  • using a variety of specialist computer applications
  • liaising and negotiating with regulatory authorities
  • providing advice about regulations to manufacturers/scientists
  • writing comprehensible, user-friendly, clear product information leaflets and labels
  • ensuring that quality standards are met and submissions meet strict deadlines
  • preparing documentation.

Typical employers of regulatory affairs officers

  • Chemicals manufacturers
  • Pharmaceuticals manufacturers
  • Herbal treatments manufacturers
  • Pesticides manufacturers
  • Medical devices manufacturers
  • Veterinary treatment manufacturers
  • Homeopathic medicine manufacturers
  • Research organisations
  • MHRA

Vacancies are advertised online, by careers services, in national newspapers and in scientific publications such as New Scientist , Science , Microbiology Today and Pharmaceutical Journal . Specialist recruitment agencies also occasionally advertise opportunities. Speculative applications to major pharmaceutical and chemical companies are advisable.

Qualifications and training required

You can only become a regulatory affairs officer if you have a relevant degree such as chemistry, physics, biochemistry, biotechnology, pharmacy, medicinal chemistry, biomedical science, life or applied science.

A relevant postgraduate qualification (PhD or research-based MSc) may be advantageous. Read our article on scientific postgraduate study to explore your different options. A list of courses and MScs are also available on The Organisation for Professionals in Regulatory Affairs (TOPRA) website.

Postdoctoral research, practical research or laboratory work experience is also beneficial. Regulatory affairs experience is particularly sought after.

Key skills for regulatory affairs officers

  • IT skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Time management skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Communication skills

An understanding and appreciation of relevant legal, scientific and manufacturing areas is also necessary.

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