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Five Key Skills Needed for a Pharmacovigilance Job

Kathryn Taylor our consultant managing the role
Published on 6 May 2024

Due to an increased global drug demand, and a thriving pharmaceutical market, the need for pharmacovigilance professionals is growing. 

Pharmacovigilance, or drug safety, plays an integral part of drug discovery and development procedures. In the wake of a COVID 19, attention was drawn to the important part pharmacovigilance plays in supplying the world with safe and effective drugs and vaccines.

What does a pharmacovigilance specialist do?

In a pharmacovigilance job, you’re at the heart of protecting public health and getting life-changing medicine on the market. The main purpose of the job is to inform and protect the public from adverse side effects of pharmaceutical products. 

A huge part of the pharmacovigilance 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. This means that people in pharmacovigilance 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

What are the skills required to work in pharmacovigilance?

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

You also need to master the following skills:

Technical skills

Getting to grips with the basics of medical products and good pharmacovigilance practices (GVP) is an essential part of any pharmacovigilance job. This can be ascertained through a formal education (a pharmacovigilance degree or qualification) or gained through working in pharmaceuticals coupled with a generic life sciences degree. On top of this, you should have a 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, as you will need to meticulously record, analyse and process your findings. Incorrect information can have serious health and safety implications for public health.

Analytical and problem-solving skills

As a pharmacovigilance specialist, 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.  

Ability to write clearly and concisely

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.

How to find your next pharmacovigilance job?

At Quanta, we understand the value that pharmacovigilance jobs have in protecting public health and keeping our communities safe. We are committed to providing recruitment support to the life sciences sector and to helping candidates find their perfect pharmacovigilance job. 

Pharmacovigilance can make an incredibly rewarding career. If you are looking for a life-changing and a life-enhancing role – get in touch with our team today or check out our current pharmacovigilance and drug safety vacancies.