As I sit to write this October 2020 edition of Oviya MedSafe‘s newsletter (the 97th in the series since April 2012), I tend to turn nostalgic about certain happenings in my personal journey in Pharmacovigilance, triggered by a social media reminder of a post I made in October 2008 when I was a young physician from the Clinical Medicine stream who had entered the Pharmacovigilance field just a little more than a year ago. I had then written “I am working in Pharmacovigilance” but when I re-shared the post now, I remarked “When I posted this 12 years ago, I thought I was only working in Pharmacovigilance. I didn’t know that it actually adopted me“, as this was the best way in which I could explain why almost all of my efforts in Pharmacovigilance have been so fruitful all along that a spectator may consider my milestones to have been a string of serendipities!
October 2020 began on a happy note for Oviya MedSafe as I was featured in an online initiative of the International Society of Pharmacovigilance (ISoP) named ‘Using Medicines Safely during the COVID-19 pandemic’ meant for patients and caregivers. ISoP developed this campaign to underline the significance of procuring medicines from legitimate sources, acting on undesirable outcomes associated with use of medicines, ensuring adherence with prescribed therapies while maintaining communication with the prescribers, and speaking out against the dissemination of unscrupulous messages about unproven cures for COVID-19. I am glad that I had a chance to be grouped with ISoP members from New Zealand, France, USA, Uganda, Iraq, Germany and Colombia who participated in this activity. Please click here to view the official collage of ISoP’s infographic at our respective workplaces.
Although COVID-19 is not a pleasant subject to go on and on about, I need to continue dwelling upon it for just a little more time in this issue, as the forthcoming content is indeed ‘good news‘ (both literally and figuratively) to Pharmacovigilance professionals working in the industry. The Hindu Business Line, one of India’s most reputed business-focused daily newspapers, published a story titled ‘Demand for Pharmacovigilance services rise amidst COVID-19‘ mentioning me among my colleagues in other organizations. I am particularly proud to state that Oviya MedSafe was one of the only four companies that were approached by the newspaper for insights on the industry trends. I also earnestly thank The Hindu Business Line for allotting enough space to accommodate my views on several aspects of this topic quite elaborately. The news story can be accessed online by visiting this link.
During the month, I had an opportunity to serve as the Chair of the Pharmacovigilance Track of the virtual Autumn Conference of the Indian Society for Clinical Research (ISCR) titled ‘Clinical Research Landscape – Post 2020‘. The session brought back memories of October 2008 again, as it was the time when I joined ISCR as a Life Member immediately after attending my first ever event on Pharmacovigilance (a two-day workshop conducted by ISCR at Mumbai). Incidentally, the social media post I mentioned in the opening paragraph of this letter was made in the same month after gaining the confidence that I got to meet at least 100 other Pharmacovigilance professionals working in different organizations. This might come as a surprise to the current generation of entry level Pharmacovigilance professionals, as this field employs more than 20000 people in India alone now! That I later became an Executive Committee Member of ISCR and the Chair of the then newly formed Pharmacovigilance Council (from 2015 until I handed it over to my successor Dr P S Karthik Babu in 2019) seems to be pre-destined when I see this from a third person’s (quite philosophical) view. But, as a rational person, I would rather call it a culmination of my persistent attempts to make Pharmacovigilance a more mainstream word among all stakeholders, a mission that was effectively supported by all Pharmacovigilance enthusiasts I have come across so far.
I wish to conclude this communiqué with an invitation to all of you to register for the 7th Annual Pharmacovigilance Symposium of ISCR titled “Pharmacovigilance 2020: Adapting to New Age Patient Safety” which is to be conducted virtually on 3rd and 4th December 2020, in which I will be moderating a Panel Discussion titled “Connecting the Dots in the ADR Reporting Value Chain“. This minimally priced meeting is all set to bring to you reputed international and national speakers/panellists not only from the industry but also those at the helm of affairs at the US FDA and at the Indian Medical Association (IMA). For further details, please refer to the official flyer of the symposium which is available on this web page.
Before signing off, let me take the pleasure of wishing all of you and your families a very Happy Deepavali!
Waiting to meet you with more intriguing content in our November 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,