Let me begin this February 2021 edition of Oviya MedSafe‘s newsletter (the 101st in the series since April 2012) by thanking each one of you who had replied with your warm compliments on the publication of our 100th newsletter edition last month. It is no exaggeration to say that my drive to connect and be connected with you has remained intact not only because of my determination but also due to your consistent patronage of my writing for which I shall remain ever thankful to you. I am pleased to inform you that the archive of all our newsletter editions released so far can be accessed via this link.
As a son of physician parents and as a physician myself, the term Indian Medical Association (IMA) has always been a subject of my adoration as well as an institution close to my heart since my childhood. For the uninitiated, IMA is the largest representative voluntary organisation of Doctors of Modern Scientific System of Medicine (holders of MBBS and/or higher degrees) in India. With a current strength of about 4,00,000 life members, IMA looks after the interests of doctors as well as the well-being of the community at large. Naturally, IMA was one of the first professional bodies I believed I could turn to in 2010, at the time I started my advocacy measures aimed at taking the concept of Pharmacovigilance to the fraternity of medical practitioners across the length and breadth of India. As I expected, IMA not only embraced the idea but also provided several platforms for me at many levels to emphasize the importance of Pharmacovigilance awareness amongst clinicians, the first of them being a Free Paper presentation I made at the 64th State Medical Conference of IMA Tamil Nadu State Branch on 24th April 2010. Please click here to view some pictures of this historic event.
Surprisingly, one of the judges of the session was quite well-informed of Pharmacovigilance and enlightened me about what IMA had been doing for Pharmacovigilance until then, while expressing genuinely critical comments on my presentation, which motivated me to keep voicing about Pharmacovigilance in public in every possible manner. He did not stop with that occasion alone but continued to involve me in several academic initiatives he was leading within the IMA organization. Thanks to the significance he attached to my passion for Pharmacovigilance, other leaders in IMA also took notice of me and recognized my contributions. Over time, after I made a name for myself in the Pharmacovigilance discipline, I invited him to express his views as an IMA representative in various missions I either led or was a key part of. He was gracious enough to accept all my invitations and actively participate in them in spite of responsibilities mounting on him as he grew higher and higher in the IMA hierarchy. At one point of time, he surprised me by nominating me as the Chairman for the Pharmacovigilance Standing Committee of IMA Tamil Nadu State Branch, when he took over as its President. During those times, I became well-positioned to speak about uniting Prescribing Physicians and Drug Safety Physicians for the cause of Patient Safety, which was the first step towards achieving my Life Goal of making Translational Pharmacovigilance a reality! The judge had judged me correctly indeed
The name of the IMA Leader who was the judge of that day is none other than Prof Dr J A Jayalal, the incumbent National President of IMA. At that time, I did not realize that it was serendipity at its best! But now, when he has announced me as the Chairman of the IMA Headquarters Standing Committee for Pharmacovigilance, I understand that the seed for this tree had been sown on that day I first met him! At this moment, I can think only about the following statement Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose made on 30-Sep-1917 while dedicating the Bose Institute to the country:
“When one dedicates himself wholly for a great object (cause), the closed doors shall open, and the seemingly impossible will become possible for him.”
Of course, this is not the end but is rather a new beginning. With IMA having given me this leadership position along with a stellar set of highly accomplished individuals as distinguished members of the standing committee, I clearly sense the monumental responsibility on my shoulders and comprehend the high level of expectation that IMA has of me. I look forward to doing my best in this role in due course, with the support of all stakeholders of Pharmacovigilance in India. I take this opportunity to thank my entire team at Oviya MedSafe, especially the key management personnel, board colleagues and shareholders, for allowing me to pursue such non-business interests in Pharmacovigilance without viewing these as potential distractions from my primary role as the Managing Director & CEO of Oviya MedSafe! I am ever indebted to them for their unshakeable trust on my ability to balance my commitments.
Moving on from this context, I am happy to present to you a unique article titled Digital Therapeutics (DTx) for Incontinence and Pelvic Pain in India which I had the pleasure of editing for the January 2021 edition of Global Forum (a publication of the Washington DC-headquartered Drug Information Association for which I am the India Regional Editor). Authored by Mr Sanjai Murali and Mr Shyam Ramamurthy of JOGO Health, this succinct report provides an overview of the niche subject from an Indian perspective. I personally believe that DTx as a concept has a bright future in India. Please click here to read the article. Comments are welcome, as usual.
Before concluding, I wish to invite you to register for the 14th Annual Conference (Virtual) of the Indian Society for Clinical Research (ISCR) themed “Clinical Research – Transforming Lives: 2021 and Beyond” and to be held on 19th and 20th March 2021. As the Executive Committee Member responsible for the Pharmacovigilance part (which is grouped under Track 2) of this conference, I am excited about the constellation of international speakers and the relevant topics our organizing committee has put together. I am certain that all enthusiasts of Pharmacovigilance will find our sessions engaging and educative. For more information, please download the conference brochure by visiting this link and scrolling down. Kindly note that registration closes on Tuesday 16th March by 4 PM IST.
Waiting to meet you through our March 2021 newsletter soon,
With thanks & regards,
Dr J Vijay Venkatraman
MBBS, F. Diab., MBA, FPIPA (UK)
Managing Director & CEO,
Oviya MedSafe Pvt Ltd,
Oviya MedSafe UK Ltd,