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Keeping our pharmaceutical products safe

Ensuring pharmaceutical products are safe is vital for patient health and wellbeing.

That’s the focus of Yvonne Udenwa (MSc Analytical Science: Methods and Instrumental Techniques, 2011), a Senior Associate in EU Regulatory Affairs Strategy at Pfizer. Discover how her time at Warwick helped her to succeed in the pharmaceutical industry and what motivated her to pursue a career in regulatory affairs.

Why Analytical Science at Warwick?
I’ve always had an interest in the pharmaceutical industry and specifically product development. I wanted a course that would provide me with the skills required by industry, such as working in the lab and developing products.

What’s your favourite memory of studying Chemistry?
Collaborating and getting to know my course mates. Most of the cohort were new to Warwick and hadn’t studied there at undergraduate level. People came from all over the world, and we formed good friendships. I’m still in close contact with some of them today.

How did your course and your time at Warwick help you personally, and in your career?
Resilience and perseverance. It was an intensive course that helped me to prepare for life after university as a working mother. Professionally, my time at Warwick encouraged me to try new things and this gave me the confidence to explore a variety of roles to find the right one for me.

What motivated you to start a career in regulatory affairs?
Being in the lab wasn’t what I wanted in the long term. While on a course at work, I came across regulatory affairs and didn’t know much about it at the time. Speaking with friends working in the industry really sparked my interest and I applied for a role in regulatory affairs. I haven’t looked back since.

What skills or attitudes do you think are essential in your line of work?
Being able to work under pressure is crucial, especially when there are important deadlines. Failing to meet them can have quite a big impact on the product lifecycle. An understanding of regulatory compliance and good organisational skills. Being able to manage high levels of confidentiality is integral, as we often develop products that are commercially sensitive.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
No two days are the same. I love the variety of work and the way it challenges me to keep learning. I need to be aware of regulations and requirements that are constantly changing. It’s also rewarding to play a part in developing a product that can potentially benefit millions of people.

What are your future plans?
I want to continue to grow my career. I’d like to progress into management so I can mentor the next generation of pharmaceutical professionals. Before the pandemic, regulatory affairs was not well known outside the sector. I’d like to ensure it remains in the public eye and raise awareness of its importance as we emerge from the pandemic.