Biocodex supporting master’s thesis on adverse drug reaction reporting

2022-02-04 16:28

In the following interview, Veera Salminen explains her master’s thesis on adverse drug reaction reporting and how Biocodex PhaMe, Pharmaceutical and Medical Services unit, supported her in the process.

How did Biocodex join into the master’s thesis project?

At the end of 2019, I was just finishing the semester as an exchange student in Singapore. At that point, I didn’t have a clue about the subject of my upcoming master’s thesis project. Before I went to Singapore, I had just worked half a year at Biocodex beside my studies. I had really enjoyed the variety of tasks they had given to me. These included e.g., regulatory, pharmacovigilance, quality, and medical information tasks. To be honest, I really wanted to get back to work there. I was so happy when they continued the part-time contract with me in January 2020 after my time in Singapore.

However, also the master’s thesis was strongly in my mind. I was seriously looking for interesting subjects to start with. After discussions with the University of Helsinki and Biocodex, a pharmacovigilance related subject was accepted for my master’s thesis research. We also agreed that I would have one supervisor from the university and one from Biocodex. I was really excited about the opportunity to work in a pharmaceutical company and practically learn more about pharmacovigilance while at the same time doing my master’s thesis research about the subject.


What was the exact subject and how did the project continue?

We decided to prepare a survey to healthcare professionals about how the current adverse drug reaction reporting scheme could be improved in the Finnish healthcare environment. Before conducting the survey, I first needed to do a literature review about the subject. After that, the next steps were to make a research plan as well as plan the questionnaire itself and test it with a pilot group. While creating the questionnaire, it was extremely important to get my supervisors’ comments. With their help I could improve the questions so that they would provide meaningful responses from participants. It was also very helpful to get comments from another researcher from the University of Helsinki who had previously conducted a similar kind of online survey. I am very grateful for all the support that I got at this stage since I had not conducted survey research myself earlier.


What kind of thoughts do you have at the end of master’s thesis project?

Now when I’m finally finished with my master’s thesis, I’m happy to share my thoughts and experiences about the whole project. I definitely think there are many benefits when the university is collaborating with a pharmaceutical company in master’s thesis projects. One great benefit is to get support from the experts who are really working with the subject on a daily basis. For example, Susanna Heinonen, the Head of Pharmacovigilance at Biocodex PhaMe, was one of my supervisors, and she is a real expert on pharmacovigilance, having more than 10 years of practical experience about it.

In addition, as Biocodex Oy was also my employer, the flexibility was another great benefit during my master’s thesis project. As an example, it was not so straightforward to get responses to the questionnaire from different groups of healthcare professionals. There were some time periods when I just had to wait to get enough responses to the survey. I was so happy that during those time periods I was able to work at Biocodex. Also, I think that I actually got some good ideas from practical work. I was able to later utilize those ideas in the discussion part of my master’s thesis.


Final words of wisdom

Like always with master’s thesis projects, it is extremely important to be active yourself. You have to make sure that you have a schedule to follow so that the project will end one day. I definitely encourage students to think about the opportunity of collaborating with a pharmaceutical company when doing their master’s thesis!

You can find more information about the research and its results from here.

Written by Veera Salminen, newly graduated M.Sc. in Pharmacy