Careers in Pharmacovigilance

young medical researcher writing reportIf we think of a vigilante as someone doing good for the general public, it is easy to understand the need for vigilance in pharmaceuticals. Pharmacovigilance is both a job and a duty within the healthcare sector to monitor, assess and prevent the adverse long and short term effects of medicine. If you have an interest in scientific work and have received a drug safety and pharmacovigilance certificate, there are several careers involved in this field. As an employee in pharmacovigilance, you will use scientific techniques to monitor, research and evaluate data from healthcare providers on the effects of medication on a patient. This can mean drugs being tested in clinical trials and those which are already on the market.

Adverse drug reaction (ADR) is a term used in pharmacovigilance to describe any healthcare problems associated with taking medicine. There is a code which classifies all adverse drug reactions in order to better and more efficiently analyze data. The seriousness of a reaction can range from death to disability to “medically significant”, meaning that no injuries were sustained but medical intervention was needed to stop the reaction from becoming worse. With the thousands of drugs now on the North American market, you can see that the role of pharmacovigilance in medicine is vital to ensuring the health and safety of citizens who need medication.

 Micro test tube plate containing research results

Career Options: Drug Safety Associate

Pharmaceutical quality control will maintain the consistency of the contents of a drug, but drug safety associates are responsible for reviewing the effects these drugs take. Drug safety associate is one of many jobs in the field of pharmacovigilance. Responsibilities in this career include supporting the clinical trial team and reviewing clinical trial data. An associate will also code adverse effects, research scientific information, review ADRs, enter and review data and write case narratives.

Drug Safety Scientist

Drug safety scientists are responsible for ensuring that a drug works, and reporting the details of a drug to doctors. While an associate has more responsibility to review and manage data, a drug safety scientist is more in the realm of analyzing products and their safety, with the responsibility to effectively identify risk factors in a drug.

Clinical Research

As drugs must undergo a clinical trial, clinical research training is largely involved with pharmacovigilance. A clinical research assistant will monitor drug trials and document their efficiency, and any ADRs. To be a clinical researcher you must have a keen eye for detail and excellent data recording skills. You will communicate and share information with doctors and prepare progress reports throughout various stages of the testing.

Pharmacovigilance cannot be reported accurately by technology, meaning trained individuals are always needed for this in-demand job. There are many options for working overseas and travelling with this career, but also plenty of opportunity in North America. If you haven’t yet received your certificate for drug safety and pharmacovigilance, consider doing so today!


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