Milestone 20 years for DSRU pharmacovigilance training

7 February 2020

DSRU Education & Training is celebrating two decades of training health and pharmaceutical professionals, many of whom have gone on to senior UK pharmacovigilance roles.

More than 4,000 delegates from the pharmaceutical industry and regulatory agencies including pharmacists, GPs and other health professionals have attended academic and industry courses and training events run by DSRU since it began a training programme in 2000.

DSRU Director Saad Shakir said: “Our courses are all designed to impart the latest research and best practice examples to help health and pharmaceutical professionals do their jobs better. This is good for patients and ensures the best use of medicines.

“The bulk of DSRU activity is in directly researching and monitoring the safety of medicines, so we are well-placed to offer and communicate our insight. It’s our way of contributing to improving standards in pharmacovigilance.”

DSRU now runs around 20 courses and training events a year to ensure health and pharmaceutical professionals understand how to practice effective pharmacovigilance. Some DSRU modular courses can be taken together to qualify for a Certificate, Diploma or Master of Science (MSc) in Pharmacovigilance awarded by the University of Portsmouth.

Many alumni now work in senior UK pharmacovigilance roles such as Qualified Person for Pharmacovigilance (QPPV) within a pharmaceutical company.

Dania Shamil is manager for international pharmacovigilance as well as the UK QPPV for Vertex Pharmaceuticals. She completed her MSc in Pharmacovigilance with the DSRU in 2017, studying on a part-time basis over three years, while also working full time.

Dania said: “While I was studying, I was headhunted by Meda Pharmaceuticals as a senior pharmacovigilance associate. A year-and-a-half later, I was headhunted again by Vertex.

“They were both really interested in hearing about my course. It’s very specific and shows I’m very committed to this area professionally. I’ve no doubt it helped me secure these positions.

“My job has always meant putting the patient and their safety first. But working directly in pharmacovigilance means this focus is even greater. Everything I do is ultimately about keeping people safe.”

DSRU started its training arm with just one course and 17 students and has grown steadily over its 20-year history. Among its current cohort of classes are joint training sessions with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and GP masterclasses focusing on effective prescribing, frailty and old age and pregnancy and breastfeeding.

DSRU also hosts two major international conferences on signal detection and big data in pharmacovigilance, which are attended by senior managers, regulatory bodies and academics who wish to keep up to date with the latest research for industry issues.

Courses and training are constantly updated in light of new research, regulations and industry trends. This year, DSRU is running a new course called Vigilance of Medical Devices to brief delegates ahead of new medical devices regulation coming in to force in May. There are also plans for a new conference later in the year on biologics, biosimilars and advanced therapies.

DSRU hopes to celebrate the milestone anniversary with former students and delegates later this year.

DSRU is an independent and internationally renowned research unit that monitors, studies and communicates the safety and risk management of medicines.

For more information about DSRU training opportunities, please visit https://www.dsru.org/education-training/