Introducing Anna-Leena Saarela, our new acting Head of Pharmacovigilance
A pharmacovigilance specialist, authorized translator, and a clinical trials expert – Anna-Leena Saarela has expertise on many fields. Anna-Leena joined Biocodex PhaMe in May 2021 as a Pharmacovigilance Specialist. Since October, she has substituted as the Head of Pharmacovigilance Biocodex Nordics during the leave of our permanent head of department. We decided to interview Anna-Leena to learn more about her and her interesting career!
Got carried away by pharmacovigilance
Anna-Leena started off by studying translation at the University of Helsinki, and she has an Authorized Translator’s certificate, specializing in medicine and biology. It was her first job as a medical translator over two decades ago that led Anna-Leena to the pharmaceutical industry and clinical trials. Later on, she continued university studies and now has a Master’s Degree in Pharmacy, specializing in industrial pharmacy.
“I became interested in pharmacovigilance early on in my pharmacy studies, as it was clearly a subject area where patient safety is the absolute top priority. It might sound like a cliché, but it really motivates me to do meaningful work – and pharmacovigilance makes a difference every day.”
Anna-Leena has now been working in the pharmaceutical industry for nearly twenty years, in different roles in clinical trials project management, study drug management and supply, and for the past years in pharmacovigilance and leading teams.
A fan of PhaMe
Anna-Leena had been following Biocodex already for some years before joining the PhaMe team. She had noted in different industry events, that PhaMe people seemed to have deep expertise in pharmacovigilance.
“I had a very good impression of Biocodex based on those short acquaintances. When I then was offered this role, I felt that working with an experienced team was something that especially resonated with me.”
In her role as Pharmacovigilance Specialist, Anna-Leena does all kinds of pharmacovigilance (PV) tasks such as QPPV responsibilities, client coordination, and daily PV tasks. As the acting Head of Pharmacovigilance, she is also leading the Nordics PV team and taking the overall responsibility for the PV processes in the Nordics.
“My favourite thing about this job is the diversity of the tasks. I get to see every aspect of post-marketing PV from daily case processing to QPPV tasks, from client collaboration to team leadership.”
Gardening and films
When she is off work, Anna-Leena likes to spend time with her family. They have a small cabin and garden in an allotment garden close to their home, and according to Anna-Leena, that is the perfect place for relaxing and getting her hands dirty.
Anna-Leena is also very much into films and loves going to movie theaters to watch them on the big screen. In fact, when she was studying translation, she also studied film art, and her plan was to start translating movie subtitles for a living. However as we know, she got carried away with pharmaceuticals when she ended up working at a medical translation agency almost by accident.
Future in PhaMe
Anna-Leena is an asset to the PhaMe team by bringing in a wealth of experience from her previous roles in the pharmaceutical industry and especially from clinical trials pharmacovigilance. She has been excited to be able to learn so much about post-marketing PV already. She has especially enjoyed the PhaMe PV team’s energy to resolve issues and keep the wheels of the PV process rolling every day.
“Everyone in the PhaMe team is incredibly professional at what they do, and I feel privileged to be part of this team and to be working in the front line of pharmacovigilance.”
Congratulations for the new role, Anna-Leena. We are so glad to have you onboard!
If you have any questions or requests concerning pharmaceutical or medical services, do not hesitate to contact us.