Emma, Drug Safety Officer
I work as a Drug Safety Officer within the Pharmacovigilance Department, where we monitor the safety of post-marketed products and products that are currently in development. I have been doing this job for 10 months.
I usually work 9 to 5 and spend the morning assessing adverse event reports. I would also do some work on either writing a periodic safety update report (PSUR) or quality checking one that has been written by another safety officer. I would send some case reports to our offices in other countries and may do some entry of adverse event reports onto our safety database. In addition I could be asked to do other pieces of work relating to adverse events or safety reports.
I work within a team but have my own roles and responsibilities to fulfil.
I have a pharmacy degree from the University of Nottingham. I had completed a 10 week work experience placement but had no other experience of industry.
I liked the idea of being more involved in ensuring that there were actual drugs available to pharmacists. I also felt that within industry I would have more chances to move up the career ladder or across into other areas of industry. I also preferred the work-life balance I could have compared to hospital and community (both of which I have had experience in).
I decided at University that I wanted to consider a career in industrial pharmacy as I liked the modules relating to industry topics. This was reaffirmed when I arranged a summer placement for myself at a pharmaceutical company. I really enjoyed all aspects of the work I carried out and it was good to meet other pharmacist and hear their opinions of industrial pharmacy.
I have had a lot to learn in a short time and so I have very quickly gained a wide variety of new skills. I’ve also learnt a lot about how industry operates and the variety of areas within industry.
It would depend on the type of work the person wanted to do. Just being a pharmacist is a very good basis as you have a wide range of scientific skills and a good knowledge of drugs. If someone was interested in the research and development side of industry perhaps a PhD or some research experience may help. I have received lots of training specific to my area as I didn’t know anything about it previously, so I wouldn’t say anything else was essential.
There are several steps up the career ladder I can take in my current area but I could also move into a different area of industry.
Organisation, communication, good team working skills and a willing to learn.
Very good. We organise a team event at least once a month and I have made a group of friends outside my department that I socialise with.
Don’t give up looking for a job in industry because when you get one it’s very rewarding. You’ll gain good career prospects and a great work-life balance.