In our industry, it can take eight to ten years to identify, develop, get approval and launch a veterinary pharmaceutical product1.
Along the way, many different people come into contact with that product in many different ways. From the scientists in the lab who formulate and evaluate the product to the manufacturing team, and those who oversee its delivery to the market.
Despite a range of roles, backgrounds and responsibilities, all these people share a single belief – that the product must meet the highest standards. This is so the welfare of the animals is not compromised and – in the case of food-producing animals –neither is the health and safety of people. We also need to do our utmost that the impact on the environment is as minimal as possible, by ensuring the purpose, use, and potential side effects of our products are clear for each country they are destined for.
Each step of the development process is integral in ensuring the end output is of high quality and meets our high standards. Quality is something that must be front of mind throughout, not just at the end of the process.
I often think of quality as a state of mind, as well as a way of operating. It’s something you believe in and practice 24/7. In our professional lives, my team and I regularly talk about getting it right first time, whatever the ‘it’ happens to be. For me, that means taking the extra few hours to review a final study report, to be absolutely sure I’ve been thorough in critically evaluating it.
For my colleagues, who are meeting with customers or speaking with them on the phone, quality is about treating each customer as an individual, not just a number, making sure they understand they are valued and appreciated.
Quality in the drug development process is sometimes seen as a ‘cost’, but I prefer to see it as an investment – one that serves to protect the health and welfare of animals, and has our customer’s interests at heart. If compliance with procedures and quality assurance helps avoid a product recall, for example, then this makes sense from an animal and consumer safety perspective, as well as saving costs for everyone in the chain.
Taking pride in what I do each day – whether that’s interacting with people, providing constructive feedback on documents and encouraging others to believe that quality is everyone’s responsibility – helps maintain my focus and motivation.
In the words of Henry Ford: "Quality is doing the right thing when no one is looking".