Ruby Derksen

You might think that the impact on patients feels far-off when you work in Supply Chain QA, but it doesn’t.

 

Pharmacist working in Supply Chain QA

I work in VLOG’s Quality Assurance department. We ensure and maintain the integrity and quality of all global AbbVie shipments. Our goal is to deliver the right products to the right markets, always. That is a big responsibility. Ultimately, it is about patient safety.

As Qualified Person, I am responsible for batch certification. This means that I need to ensure that the entire process, from start material to end product, is in compliance with laws and in accordance with the requirements of the marketing authorization. Therefore, I need to review all documentations related to the batch in scope. It is also important that I have access to deviations, investigations, change control and CAPA documents to know if and how deviations are closed before certifying a batch.

Complex, challenging and enjoyable

My job can be complex, because all processes are strictly regulated. This makes it challenging and enjoyable for me. We are also constantly looking for ways to optimise our processes. It is a fascinating puzzle, especially combined with that strong sense of responsibility. You might think that the impact on patients feels far-off when you work in Supply Chain QA, but it doesn’t. AbbVie provides the connection with the patients. For instance, we have a yearly patient experience week where patients tell us about their conditions, and the effects of the medication. But also, by letting the various departments share how they impact the overall operation of the company. This is very valuable. It is always good to learn about someone else’s perspective, and to realise the value of their contribution.  

Impact on patient and company

I am trained as a pharmacist but discovered during my study that I did not want to work in a pharmacy. I’m more interested in finding things out, discovering how they work, and how they can be improved. Pharmacists are often occupied with running their business and less focussed on pharmaceutics as such. That is why is chose for an internship at AbbVie, which turned out to be a great decision.  

During my internship I went to a manufacturing site in Italy, which was very interesting and educational. But what decided me to stay and take the job, was the serious impact I could have on the company and on the patients. Zwolle is an international environment where we work with many different departments, people and nationalities which makes this job special. And at the same time there’s a sense of familiarity and connection at VLOG, thanks to everyone’s enthusiasm for the work and for our mission. Here I really feel free to develop. 

Quality Assurance

Within AbbVie our Quality Assurance organization focuses on ensuring and maintaining integrity of drug products and components within the supply chain by following good distribution and manufacturing practices. In VLOG there are approximately 19 QA professionals who all work to ensure an uninterrupted product supply to patients.