“Diversity, vitality and bustle suit me fine”

“Working in a public pharmacy was pleasant. I did it for four or five years after getting my pharmacy degree. But I was looking for something more challenging. At that moment I’d started thinking about a career in the pharmaceutical industry. It’s just that it didn’t happen right then and there. I moved to Britain with my husband, where we both did PhD research.

Once back in the Netherlands, I did make the switch to the industry. And two years later, in 2012, I started working at MSD as Qualified Person. In this role, I have final responsibility for the release of batches of medicines.

As a pharmacist, I could have branched out in a variety of directions in the pharmaceutical industry. The role of Qualified Person suits me best. Not a single batch of medicines leaves the factory without the approval of a QP such as my colleagues or myself. That means that you’re a linchpin, always busy looking into things and solving problems. And it gets pretty frenetic now and then. A lot is demanded from you in this job, but that’s exactly what I was looking for. Actually, it’s also an exceptional position at MSD, for in fact there aren’t all that many really big pharmaceutical companies in the Netherlands that are also carrying out their production here on a large scale.

The variety in my work is what appeals to me most. You get involved with many of the various facets of the production of medicines and with many different people. From operatives to process engineers and from pharmaceutical specialists to quality experts. And far beyond Oss, too, even internationally. With colleagues, but also with inspectors, for example. That’s also enjoyable and instructive.

That’s of course one of the advantages of a large firm: the diversity. But the vitality of a large organization also greatly appeals to me. An extra advantage is that you’re not always having to reinvent the wheel, because there’s a lot of knowledge and many systems are already in place that you can build upon.

You get opportunities here, too. For instance, I was recently involved in the introduction of a new way of administering one of our medicines. At the time about the launch I was responsible for all quality-related aspects. Challenging, because I came across all kinds of things along the way that I’d never encountered before. Educational! And shortly, I’ll be getting involved in a new project again: one I don’t yet even know the details of. That suits me down to the ground. I can’t wait to get on with it!”

Karin van Elburg is Qualified Person, Quality Release at MSD Pharmaceutical Operations in Oss