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5 key skills needed for a job in pharmacovigilance

Kathryn Taylor our consultant managing the role
Published on 30 November 2022

Due to an increased global drug demand, and a burgeoning pharmaceutical market, the need for pharmacovigilance professionals is growing. Pharmacovigilance – or drug safety – plays an inevitable part of drug discovery and development procedures, and in the wake of a COVID 19, attention has been drawn to the important part they have to play in supplying the world with drugs and vaccines. In a pharmacovigilance job, you’re at the heart of protecting public health and getting lifechanging medicines on the market. It can make an incredibly rewarding career, and here are five skills that you need to land your next pharmacovigilance job.

What is pharmacovigilance?

The main purpose of pharmacovigilance and drug safety jobs are to inform and protect public health from adverse side effects of pharmaceutical products. A huge part of the role involves assessing, evaluating and reporting on reactions to drugs that are hitting the market. The information is drawn during developmental stages, clinical trials or once they have been distributed, meaning that people in a pharmacovigilance job work closely with pharmaceutical scientists as well as commercial and marketing departments.

Whether it is from your pharmacist, doctor or the leaflet tucked in your painkiller box, the information that you are given before taking a course of tablets are the work of pharmacovigilance professionals.

bottle flipped upside down pouring out pharmaceutical pills

Skills needed to work in pharmacovigilance

Currently, pharmacovigilance jobs are flooding the market. To successfully land yourself a job in the sector, it is important to be degree educated (in a life sciences, pharmaceutical or medical discipline), have a passion for public health, and master the following skills:

Technical skills

Getting to grips with the basics of medical products and good Pharmacovigilance practices (GVP) is an essential part to a job in pharmacovigilance. This can be ascertained through a formal education (PV degree or qualification) or gained from a working background in pharmaceuticals coupled with a generic life sciences degree. On top of this, you should have good understanding of the laws and legislations relevant to drug safety prescribed by agencies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Attention to detail

Pharmacovigilance jobs involve monitoring and assessing the benefits vs costs that a patient will experience when using a specific medical product. You are required to be as accurate with your information as possible, meticulously recording, analysing and processing your findings. Incorrect information can have serious health and safety implications for public health.

Analytical and problem-solving skills

You must not only be able to observe a risk or side effect of a drug but be able to put in plans to reduce or minimise these risks. It is essential to evaluate the benefit-harm profile of a medical product, make a decision on its safety and put in the necessary procedures to improve the product or distribute it.  


Writing reports and case narratives are an important part of a pharmacovigilance officer’s role. Case narratives aim to draw a causal relationship between the drug and its effects, so writing concisely and the ability to get to a point quickly are highly valued here. Side effects and risks must be accurately documented into reports submitted to regulatory bodies and these will need to be technically written and detailed.

Excellent communication

Pharmacovigilance jobs demand excellent communication skills. It is likely you will work alongside many different teams of people – including medical professionals, doctors, regulatory bodies, commercial departments as well as patients. You need to be able to accurately convey information in a way that can be understood by a number of different audiences.

Find your next pharmacovigilance job

At Quanta, we understand the value that pharmacovigilance has in protecting public health and keeping our communities safe. We are committed to our life changing industries and finding candidates their perfect pharmacovigilance job is one of our specialisms. If you are looking to step into a life changing, and a life enhancing, career – get in touch with our team today or check out our live drug safety and pharmacovigilance jobs here.