College alumnus highlights demand for pharmacists in pharmaceutical industry

Class of 1988 alumnus Randy Legg serves as National Clinical Account Director at AstraZeneca, a multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company.

Randy Legg doesn’t come from a legacy family of pharmacists. In fact, he was the first in his family to go to university, and he knew by middle school that he wanted to become a pharmacist. The class of 1988 college alumnus is now National Clinical Account Director for AstraZeneca, one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world. He says the path to his current role was not a linear one.

“I relied on mentors in the college as well as people throughout my career to help me progress,” said Legg who has worked in a variety of settings in his 34-year career in pharmacy. Legg started in community pharmacy, which led him to various positions including in a health care plan company, to his current role in AstraZeneca.

In addition to working for the UK-based pharmaceutical company, Legg gives back by mentoring WSU student pharmacists. During the monthly Career Seminar Series hosted by the college, Legg impressed on students that pharmacists are needed in a variety of roles in pharmaceutical companies like AstraZeneca. Roles in the pharmaceutical industry include clinical development of getting drugs approved, from clinical trials protocols, to clinical registrations, to then filing these points with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). In addition, pharmacists are needed for providing package insert language for products or to help with ongoing safety and support for products on the market.

“PharmDs are across the company and that’s just medical opportunities. There are all sorts of commercial opportunities.”

When asked whether the industry was saturated with new graduates and that jobs are harder to find, Legg scoffed at the idea.

We have so many jobs right now, it’s almost ridiculous

“That’s news to me. We have so many jobs right now, it’s almost ridiculous,” he said. Legg explained that two-plus years of the pandemic has led to the Great Retirement and the pharmaceutical industry was not immune to that. “I constantly get emails and phone calls from headhunters. If you’re ready, willing, and capable, there’s no limit to what you can do,” he told students. “If I were you, I would be excited. I’m an old guy and I’m still excited about my career.”

Legg advised students to gain as much experience working and volunteering in a variety of settings to gain a better understanding of various health systems, patients, and how to improve public health. Despite his busy schedule, Legg still finds time to mentor WSU doctor of pharmacy students through the Fred-Meyer Alumni-Student Mentor Program.

“It’s important to explore every opportunity when you’re first starting out.”