My name is Daniela Victoria Grohmann and I am a trained physician working in the Global Pharmacovigilance department of Bayer. As long as I can remember, I have been interested in exploring alternative fields of work beyond the traditional clinical practice setting which is where most physicians eventually end up working.
First contact with the industry
Contributing to the development of new drugs, improving patients’ quality of life and being able to impact the healthcare system were some of the reasons why the pharmaceutical industry fascinated me throughout my university career. In 2011, shortly before starting my final year at medical school, I was given the opportunity to join Bayer for a 4-month internship in the department of Risk Management, Global Pharmacovigilance in Berlin. When visualizing physicians working in industry, I always imagined them in a research-type laboratory. However, during my time at Bayer, I was introduced to a wide variety of career opportunities for employees with a medical background. By the end of my internship, I had gained a first glimpse of the life of a physician working in the field of pharmaceuticals and the organizational structures at Bayer. I had also established valuable networks. I was convinced by the challenging environment at Bayer and its motivating corporate culture, so it was then only a matter of time until I decided to return. After graduating from medical school in Hamburg, Germany, followed by a one-year hospital residency in radiology, I joined Bayer’s Global Pharmacovigilance department in Berlin in the summer 2014 as Case Evaluator in the therapeutic area of Oncology.
Being vigilant about pharmacons
Pharmacovigilance or drug safety comprises a complex system of monitoring pharmaceutical products and identifying possible risks to ensure patient safety. We collect and evaluate data on adverse effects, in other words undesirable reactions that occur during treatment with a particular drug.
Following the Thalidomide scandal in the 1960s, Pharmacovigilance departments have become an integral part whose absence from any pharmaceutical company can no longer be contemplated. In Bayer’s Oncology department, we specifically focus on the constant re-evaluation of the benefit-risk profile of our cancer drugs in early or late stages of development as well as our established, marketed products. Colleagues in our international team work all over the world, at sites in Berlin, Germany, São Paulo, Brazil and New Jersey, US. Most Case Processors and Evaluators are trained physicians, pharmacists, or have similar healthcare backgrounds. Pharmacovigilance is a highly regulated field and reports have to be submitted to health authorities on the basis of defined timelines. Therefore, precise time management and personal resilience are essential for everyone working in Pharmacovigilance.
Working at Bayer in Brazil
One of our fundamental parts of corporate culture at Bayer is to challenge the status quo and constantly question and improve the way we do things. Personal development is key to accomplishing our mission. In this context, I recently spent almost three months working at our site in São Paulo. Bridging intercultural differences and gaining a deeper insight into our organization in Brazil were just some of the things I learned. Living and working in São Paulo and exploring all the diversity Brazil has to offer at weekends was a fascinating experience. That included visiting the Iguaçu Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in the world, Oscar Niemeyer’s inspiring architecture in Brazil’s renowned capital Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro’s endless beaches, to mention just a few. The hospitality and warm welcome given me by our Brazilian colleagues was very rewarding to experience and something I will never forget.
Science for a better life
If you are a physician thinking about working in industry, I would like to encourage you to take this step. For open-minded team players who are committed and flexible, Bayer is an inspiring place to work and develop. I have never regretted my decision to leave hospital work. In the end, I still practice medicine and help patients but from a different perspective with patient safety being our highest priority in Pharmacovigilance. By monitoring products and their effects as well as identifying possible risks in order to make our drugs safest, I am contributing to a better life for patients. With this being the greatest motivation and number one reason why I love working at Bayer, I am looking forward to continuing my journey.
This post is also available in: German