How did you find your current position?
I saw that I wanted to go to the Pharma industry and seeing the different positions you can find in it and seeing the characteristics of each one I decided to with monitoring of clinical trials.
Because it still gave me a chance to work close to research, to participate in clinical trials and still be part of clinical research, and all the people I asked were quite happy with the position and after doing the master I found the position at the hospital.
Now I go to the hospitals where they are doing the clinical trials and I make sure that they are following all the rules they are supposed to follow, all the protocols, respect the rights of the patients.
If for example they are doing a clinical study where they say that the drug has to be given 3 times to the patient, do x trials and measure some parameters. My job is to make sure that they are doing it well, that the data is being handled well, that the patient knows that he is participating in the trial and understands it, that they weren’t pressured into participating.
I started as monitoring of these trials and now I work managing the trials of the department of cardiology and the one for infectious diseases. I enjoy it more now, because I am part of the research and I have more contact with the patients. Now I am part of the last step of the research before commercializing a drug.
The process of getting a new drug takes years and it starts by trying different drugs, and seeing if they have an effect or using drugs that were for something else and see if they have an effect on what you want to treat. Once you find one that works in cultures, then you start animal trials to see if they are safe and still work and the last step is the trial with patients.
I consider that I am part of the last step of research for new drugs, which is the step closest to have an impact on patients and society. I like how whilst in lab research you never know if what you are doing will have an effect in society and even if it has it will take years, here you are just at the last step and you can actually see how you are benefiting patients.
Of course I know that Pharma industry tries to obtain the highest profit and that they move millions, and there might be things they aren’t too proud of, but I try not to think about it and see it as putting my grain of salt to research and improving the lives of patients.
Even academic research has this aspect of trying to go for profit and there are a lot of people that are underpaid and have to work extremely long shifts with almost no reward. In the end you need money if you want to survive and money moves everything.
Which would you say is your biggest struggle right now?
It is a field where you have to continue learning constantly, especially in Pharma not only about the science part but also about the law part, because everything is highly regulated and you have be really strict with the rules so that you can pass the (auditing). You always have to work towards learning more, doing more courses and developing new skills. In the future I would like to have a position with more responsibility in industry.
Short term I want to continue where I am currently working. This field is small and most people know each other, so I also want to keep my interactions well and network and know more people.
So I want to continue improving in my current position and learn more about the science with the new master I am doing on pharmacology. Once I finish the master and gain more experience I want to go for a position in industry to continue growing.
The challenge is to continue growing, improving and learning from all the positions you are in.