As we approach our 100th birthday, we wanted to introduce you to some of the hardworking people that help make Johnson’s Veterinary Products happen! Meet Lisa – an ex-veterinary nurse turned Pharmacovigilance & Regulatory Affairs Manager – whose busy and varied role includes ensuring that all our products are effective and safe for your pets to use.
How I started at Johnson’s
I spent 15 years working as a Veterinary Nurse before first joining Johnson’s as a customer service supervisor in 2008. I have several pets myself; including cats, dogs and horses, so I completely understand the very special bond people share with the furry members of their family.
Since 2008, I have undertaken a lot of training to improve my expertise of animal medicine safety, which is how my role eventually evolved to becoming Johnson’s Pharmacovigilance Manager. In 2009 I became QPPV for Johnson’s (Qualified Person for Pharmacovigilance) and qualified as an SQP/RAMA (Registered Animal Medicines Advisor). In 2016 I also took on the responsibilities of Regulatory Affairs Manager, so my job is very varied and busy!
What is a pharmacovigilance manager?
Pharmacovigilance is monitoring the safety of medicines for patient use. In the UK, all authorised veterinary medicines must go through a rigorous process of assessment that includes scrutiny of safety, quality, and efficacy by the independent regulatory authorities.
At Johnson’s we provide cost effective, quality products that are available without prescription in pet shops, garden centres, and online retailers. Any Johnson’s veterinary medicine that you purchase goes through rigorous testing until it has been approved for animal use.
The approval comes from leading safety establishments that involve veterinary practitioners and medical researchers. Therefore, not only are our products considered safe by experts, but they have been put through various processes to ensure their quality and effectiveness as animal medicine.
What happens if we receive a complaint about one of our products?
A significant part of my job is also ensuring that any product complaints we receive (although rare) are dealt with and – for complaints related to licensed medicines – reported to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate for assessment and monitoring. Luckily, we have an excellent customer care team and are proud that our customers can always speak to an ‘actual person’ at the end of the phone – something they find quite surprising!
Safe medicines are approved for market when the benefits to animals outweigh any known potential risks. Where there is potential risk or possibility of adverse events (e.g. medicine side effects, risks to animals with certain conditions), we must openly advise the customer of these by including them on the packaging and in the safety precautions and documentation included in each product. We will also include appropriate advice on use and disposal of each medicine.
What are regulatory affairs and how do they differ to pharmacovigilance?
The second part of my job is regulatory affairs, which is equally as important as it includes constant monitoring of packaging and label text to ensure compliance with Regulatory Authorities.
I am responsible – along with our quality team – for overseeing various stability studies of our products, as well as the development of new products. I also organize any safety audits for external companies we work with as well as Johnson’s own internal safety inspections.
We are regularly inspected by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate for both Pharmacovigilance and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) to ensure that our products are consistently produced and controlled in accordance with the quality standards appropriate to their intended use. I regularly attend meetings with our Trade Associations to keep updated with any new legislation, as well as completing compulsory CPD (Continuing Professional Development) to enable me to demonstrate continued competency and hold my status on the RAMA Register.
My other responsibilities & upcoming events
Alongside my main duties, I also have the pleasure of engaging with our various charities and any extra requests for donations. As this is our 100th year of trading, we have chosen 5 charities who will benefit from sales made on our birthday on 31st July 2021.
We are also running a contest for the best pet shop window and shop displays, with lots of prizes up for grabs including a £600 voucher to spend on a fun day out for the entire team.
Pet shops have always been at the heart of our business, so it is important for Johnson’s – especially considering the difficulties small businesses have faced over the past year – to give something back.