Today, I am brimming with enthusiasm at the thought of being able to write to you after quite a long time. In fact this January-July 2020 edition of Oviya MedSafe‘s newsletter (the 94th in the series) is the very first one to be published in a non-monthly frequency ever since Oviya MedSafe was founded in 2012. While continuous inflows of new projects since the beginning of this year and the efforts we had to invest in order to move to a complete Work From Home (WFH) model due to the COVID-19 pandemic kept me away from my cherished routine, I am delighted to place on record that Oviya MedSafe has risen up to the global challenge and has been extremely successful in ensuring 100% business continuity for all of our clients, thanks to our diligent and proactive team members whom I am always proud of.
The year 2020 started with yet another recognition for Oviya MedSafe on a global stage, when I was invited to be part of a very well-received session on Asia Region Updates that was chaired by Dr E Stewart Geary, on Day 1 (27th January) of the Drug Information Association‘s (DIA) Pharmacovigilance & Risk Management Strategies Conference 2020 at Washington DC. I spoke on pharmacovigilance obligations for the industry in India, while Rie Matsui and Stella Xu spoke about the recent developments in Japan and China respectively. Apart from giving me this wonderful opportunity to present India’s phenomenal achievements at this prestigious gathering of pharmacovigilance professionals from several parts of the world, DIA extended the privilege further by publishing the summary of the entire session in the March 2020 edition of Global Forum.
All through the busy months of January & February, I never thought the 8th Anniversary of Oviya MedSafe’s founding, which was due to be celebrated on a grand scale in March, would instead go virtual and turn out to be a simple observance close to our hearts. But, what could better signify the festivities of pharmacovigilance than adversity? And, isn’t having no time to celebrate an anniversary because of a slew of long-term end-to-end global Drug Safety and Medical Information contracts being awarded in quick succession, a reason for celebration by itself? So, that was how and why we silently rejoiced at Oviya MedSafe’s triumphs, while preparing ourselves for the New Normal of WFH. Thanks to our forethought that navigating this pandemic could be a long haul and further to the excellent co-operation provided by each member of the Oviya MedSafe family, we have swiftly and completely adapted to the sudden paradigm shift that COVID-19 enforced upon all of us.
Thankfully, I was also able to do my bit in raising awareness about COVID-19. The interesting combination of my medical qualification and my entrepreneurial experience was instrumental in me being identified as an ideal candidate for moderating an awareness webinar on the COVID-19 situation, conducted jointly by the Kerala Chapter and the Coimbatore Chapter of The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE) on 16-Apr-2020. The online event which was primarily meant for owners of Micro, Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs), had Dr Sudha Ramalingam as the Subject Matter Expert. The recorded version of the hour-long webinar is available on YouTube and I believe watching it will be worth your time, as it provides authentic yet practical tips on all that you need to know about COVID-19. Although the audience was comprised of MSME entrepreneurs, the proceedings of the session could be useful for anyone outside the healthcare fraternity. Please feel free to share this link with your near and dear.
As we traversed the month of May, I involved myself in two activities linked to the International Clinical Trials Day 2020. The first was an unplanned article that I wrote within an hour of an idea flashing in my mind while I was wondering how everyone seemed to demand a drug or a vaccine to be developed for COVID-19 immediately. The article published with the decoy title ‘Happy Birthday, Clinical Trials! Thank you, COVID-19!’ succeeded in evincing the inquisitiveness of the naive reader and received accolades from doyens in the Clinical Research domain for simplifying the subject using a scenario that anyone could relate to. The second was an invited speech to 500+ attendees on the topic ‘Role of Community Pharmacists and Hospital Pharmacists in Pharmacovigilance’ at a well-structured webinar organized by the South Chapter of the Indian Society for Clinical Research (ISCR) & the Karnataka Registered Pharmacists Association (KRPA) on 23-May-2020. In my lecture (which begins 14 minutes and 20 seconds after the video starts), I passed on the essence of pharmacovigilance as I comprehended it over the years instead of making a regular presentation using slides. It was heartening to hear from the organizers that they liked the approach and the students who participated had commented that they understood what pharmacovigilance is all about.
In June, I was fortunate to produce the article ‘Data Handling and Reporting for Ongoing Clinical Trials During COVID-19‘ in my honorary role as the India Regional Editor of Global Forum, a DIA publication. I take this opportunity to thank Nithiya Ananthakrishnan and Priya Govindasamy of Algorics for authoring this insightful account of international significance that has emerged from India. In July, I chaired the first-of-its-kind ‘Pharmacovigilance Awareness Campaign‘ organized by the Pharmacovigilance Council of ISCR, meant exclusively for healthcare professionals (HCPs) involved in patient care (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, etc), with Indu Nambiar being the speaker. I see this as a significant step in sensitizing Indian clinicians to pharmacovigilance and the best news about this initiative is that this live webinar will be conducted on a monthly basis by different chairpersons and speakers every month, with the August 2020 session already being open for registration (free but mandatory). Please feel free to share this link with interested HCPs in your circles.
To summarize, the first half of 2020 has indeed been very different from the times we have experienced so far. For Oviya MedSafe, it has been a period of monumental growth amidst the fact that COVID-19 has impacted the global economy quite strongly. We express our gratitude to our clients for trusting us during these testing times and are delighted that we have not only lived up to the trust they had on us but have actually set a new benchmark for a reliable service provider in the pharmacovigilance discipline. Above all, we humbly feel a deep sense of fulfilment within, as we have had chances to spread the light of knowledge when there was darkness all around and our endeavors resulted in a palpable difference for the better.
Looking forward to meeting you soon with our August 2020 newsletter,
With thanks & regards,
Dr J Vijay Venkatraman
MBBS, F. Diab., MBA, FPIPA (UK)
Managing Director & CEO,
Oviya MedSafe Pvt Ltd,
Oviya MedSafe UK Ltd,