Head of Drug Safety, UK & Ireland, Merck Serono Ltd
Pav and his team, like their counterparts in all pharmaceutical companies, are responsible for ensuring that the benefit-risk profile for all company products remain both positive and favourable.
Pav says that the “pharmacovigilance landscape is ever evolving through constant change twinned with tight regulations, which brings with it a lot of responsibility for ultimately ensuring patients continue to receive safe and effective medicines”. The pharmaceutical industry is one of the most stringent industries globally and Pharmacovigilance (Drug Safety) is therefore audit and inspection driven. To demonstrate compliance and due diligence it is essential that the team are current in their knowledge, which can be gained and demonstrated through training and certification.
Pav chooses to attend DSRU courses and conferences because DSRU always provide relevant, informative and constructive sessions. Pav says “it’s great because the DSRU engage the key stakeholders across the industry including regulators and academics and practicing industry experts to share common knowledge, refinements to current methods and techniques, and importantly transparent interpretation that should be applied in everyday practice”.
At the DSRU’s 8th Biennial Signal Detection conference these expert speakers and delegates included individuals working in the role of Head of Drug Safety at a number of pharmaceutical companies. They were all sharing their strategies, approaches, mindsets and challenges on particular areas which require that extension of thought and knowledge. Of course, speakers have some confidential material which they cannot disclose, but this “real-time perspective” provides the necessary insights to ensure companies are fulfilling their Pharmacovigilance obligations in a compliant fashion. Pav says that “when you put such great minds in a room discussing these subjects, intelligence is shared, and together optimal solutions materialise. Without such discussion and another validated opinion, one remains channelised and narrow. Sharing knowledge is a gain, and knowledge is power”. Pav quotes Albert Einstein by adding “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”.
Pav describes the DSRU as the front runner in pharmacovigilance training in the UK and perhaps in Europe. He says “they are oceans ahead of other course or seminar providers on relevance and with this in mind, invite some of the most important key stakeholders in both industry and regulatory authorities alike”. Engagement and the mere discussion of the legislation directly with the regulators, and being able to ask them face to face for their interpretation, is of enormous benefit and the outcomes can be considered for company adoption. This level of engagement means that Pav chooses to use DSRU for his own training and conference requirements and also for those of his team. Other than specific university offerings Pav does not use other pharmacovigilance training providers.
Pav also believes that the DSRU benefit from having Professor Saad Shakir, one of the most reputable professors in the discipline, leading their organisation. The content, structure, knowledge, chronology, and relevance of the DSRU training is very important to Pav. “The DSRU integrate the practical element to their training and discussion – now you have learned the theory from the experts’ perspective, try to apply it at a company level as best as possible.” Other training providers do not have this selective and relevant “expertise”.
The networking element is also a unique benefit when attending DSRU courses and conferences, and attendees have the opportunity to have intelligent discussions in an expert environment. Pav finished by saying “it would be unfavourable and intelligence-depriving not to attend these network dinners if you want to be at the forefront of PV intelligence within the crowd who are actually influencing, shaping, refining and mapping the future of our industry”.