My Career as a Pharmacometrician and Commentary on the Overlap Between Statistics and Pharmacometrics in Drug Development

As part of a series of articles celebrating the American Statistical Association’s 175th anniversary in 2014, this article provides a historical perspective of key statistical contributions to pharmacometrics (the design, modeling, and analysis of experiments involving complex dynamic systems) as well as a commentary on the author’s career as a pharmaceutical industry statistician and pharmacometrician. Individuals with training in various academic disciplines including pharmacokinetics, pharmacology, engineering, and statistics, to name a few, have pursued careers as pharmacometricians. While pharmacometrics has benefitted greatly from advances in statistical methodology, there continues to be tension and skepticism between biostatisticians and pharmacometricians as they apply their expertise to drug development problems. This article explores some of the root causes for this tension and provides some suggestions for improving collaborations between statisticians and pharmacometricians. The article concludes with a plea for more statisticians to consider careers as pharmacometrics practitioners.