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#RisingStars - Elizabeth Chidimma Iwuamadi

Please introduce yourself and what you do

My name is Elizabeth Chidimma Iwuamadi, I was born & raised in Nigeria and moved to England in 2021 to commence my Master’s degree in Pharmacology. I am a Medical Scientist for a Contract Research Organisation (CRO) and I’m presently working within a clinical study group for a breakthrough therapy targeted to protect from Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) through passive immunization. I am new to the world of pharmacovigilance (PV) and have spent the last six months gaining relevant experience in the field of oncology, vaccines & immunology; particularly in phase II & III clinical trials.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

As a Medical Scientist, I provide scientific and clinical input to various aspects of investigational product development to ensure that the integrity of clinical data & safety evaluation process for clinical trials is seamless and complete. In other words, I ensure clinical trials works well. My experience in the sphere of pharmacovigilance has been quite accelerated and within 6 months in my role, I was promoted. I tell my friends often that “my work can be likened to that of a student” because I learn something new almost every day. My role is mentally stimulating and requires a broad understanding of the patient’s journey among other skills. For example, reviewing clinical data per study protocol & regulatory standards is a critical aspect of my role and this provides high-quality & reliable data, which could either deter or facilitate the implementation of a new product or therapy. Importantly, being part of a team of like-minded individuals that work in various capacities to improve both the quality of life of patients globally and the body of scientific knowledge, is what I thoroughly enjoy about my role. Pretty exciting!

What was your route into industry from education?

I first heard the word “pharmacovigilance” during a conference organized by my university (College of Medicine, University of Lagos) for final-year students & it piqued my interest. I performed brilliantly in my academics but was still unsure about the career path I will embark on post-graduation. After graduation, I interned for a year at a Pharmaceutical company and thereafter secured a lab-based role as a Quality Assurance Analyst. During this period, I continued researching PV in Africa but met some roadblocks and this fuelled my drive to contribute significantly to PV in developing nations. I took various certifications to improve my knowledge of the field and decided to move to England for further education. Towards the end of my Master’s program, I secured a role as a Medical Scientist which has exposed me to my first relevant experience in the Pharmacovigilance Industry.

Did you always aspire to work in pharma?

Yes. Growing up I had always been a lover of science & serving others; so, I knew I needed a career that could consolidate these passions in a way that will be continually constructive and substantial to me. The problem of medicine safety is a major burden in the healthcare sector within the society I lived in, so aspiring to work in pharma was almost instinctive.

Has your experience in pharma been what you expected or has it been different?

My experience in Pharma has been different and surpassed all I visualized. My Bachelor’s degree was a course that was regarded as unpopular and the most promising career path for me was in academia (as I was told at that point), yet my experience so far has taught me that there’s a tremendous field of opportunities for development & growth in Pharma. The Pharmaceutical industry isn’t static and continues expanding in its bid to improve human life, therefore, there’s so much room for personal advancement.

What are your future aspirations with your career in pharma?

I intend to keep growing my skills and expertise within the pharmacovigilance niche and in the closest future, stretch out this information to the uninformed in more modest blocks through policymaking, advocacy, mentoring and educational programs. I likewise plan to create a science-based platform for career guidance and improvement in Africa by utilizing technology & an extensive variety of professional experiences. I might undertake a PhD or a Medical degree in the future but till then, I will continue snoozing 😊.

What tips would you give a new starter interested in getting into pharma?

  • I believe it is vital to define what success resembles to you at every stage of your career journey and I will advise that your goals are achievable and realistic. Stay eager to learn however much you can and please take up every opportunity to improve your knowledge through certification courses, webinars, and search for volunteering opportunities in Pharma within your area of interest.

  • Although this is quite controversial but if possible, prioritise gaining skills (create a document for tracking all your skills as you progress & update frequently), exposure, and networking/connections during the foundational stages of your career over being paid “fat” salaries. By doing this, you add more value to yourself professionally and will be in a better position to negotiate way better salaries as you progress.

  • There’s a proverb in my hometown that says, “if you want to climb up a ladder to a destination, it is wise to search for the person who is at the topmost part of the ladder and find out what they’ve seen” and this is why I am a “Mentorship Evangelist”. In this area, I utilised two sources; firstly, through the alumni group of my department/University, I was able to find my first mentor. Secondly, I searched on LinkedIn for someone who had gone through the career journey I envisaged. Mentorship will cut down mistakes and bring a great deal of clarity.

  • Lastly, from the littlest task to huge projects, put in your absolute best and do it well. This way you build a reputation for excellence. Challenges and doubts will come but concede within you that success is the only option available to you.


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