Experience as Pharmacist and Patient Helps Deliver Better Outcomes for Pharma Clients

Experience as Pharmacist and Patient Helps Deliver Better Outcomes for Pharma Clients

During the month of October, we’re joining the American Pharmacists Association to celebrate the integral role that pharmacists play in the healthcare of patients. The theme “Know your Pharmacist, Know your Medicine” inspired us to interview just a few of our highly skilled pharmacists.

Lisa Monette
Sr. Director, Account Management
Raleigh, North Carolina

Q. How would you describe your role at UBC?
I work with biopharma and device  companies to develop and offer solutions for their product’s clinical, peri and post-approval research needs, whether that be a phase III clinical trial, a post-approval safety registry, or possibly some REMS and / or risk management support.  I represent UBC services spanning the development cycle from phases II-IV.

I serve as a liaison between the biopharma customer and our teams, ensuring transparent communications and an accurate representation of our capabilities. My education and product knowledge is very helpful when working with our clients. I have a good understanding of the types of services that may be needed for a product, based upon where that product is in its development cycle, its therapeutic classification, impacted patient population, and mode of administration. 

Q. What was your inspiration for becoming a pharmacist?
. In school, I always loved the arts, but also excelled in the sciences and math. I decided to become a pharmacist due to the versatility of career options in this field, including opportunities for females.  Early in my career, I practiced hospital and retail pharmacy, as well as drug information pharmacy.

In my role as a drug information pharmacist, I supported one large pharma client and assisted with providing necessary product information to other healthcare professionals for all marketed products, including supporting new product launches as well as product recalls.  It was fun to see what was coming down their pipeline, but that got me curious as to what was coming down other companies’ pipelines as well.  Thus, I made the leap from a ‘traditional’ pharmacy role to that of a ‘non-traditional’ role and started my career in the clinical research services industry as a clinical research associate (CRA), then lead CRA, project manager, and crossed over to the business development and relationship management side of the research services business, which is where I have remained.

Later, I returned to school and enrolled in international business classes. The combination of a clinical background and business education has helped give me a broader view of our industry’s diverse stakeholders.

The arts are still an important part of my life; my hobbies include drawing, acrylic painting and dancing, to name a few.

Q. In your conversations with clients, are you seeing a trend in the challenges they’re facing?
Development of biosimilars is on the rise, and clients are looking for the data needed to help them stand out among their competition. Both large and small biopharma companies are moving toward biosimilars as one way to reduce some of the drug / biologic financial stress currently impacting the healthcare system.  I have seen an increasing effort coming from biopharma and device clients to show product value, through more emphasis on health economics and outcomes research.

Q. How has your experience as a patient influenced your work?
It has definitely made a personal impact on my life, and reinforces the importance of continuing to make advances in research for chronic diseases that exist today.  I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in my mid-20s after a bilateral rotator cuff tendonitis injury at the gym, which seemed to be a triggering event for the RA.   I did a great deal of research on my own and had to convince my orthopedic surgeon to do lab work to check for elevations in rheumatoid factor and antinuclear antibodies levels, which subsequently came back positive. 

When I was diagnosed, biologics had not yet hit the market.  It was a traditional treatment approach – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs - I was on triple therapy and not well controlled.  No fun, as I am a very active person, and the RA was preventing me from doing some of the activities I really enjoyed.  Once biologic therapies were approved – it was a major life changer for me, and I’m sure for many other RA patients.  I was able to come off some of those other traditional drugs, and experienced significant symptom relief, as well as a stop to the progression of the joint damage that RA causes. 

Many days I don’t even feel like I have RA. I’m able to be active, and that makes me very happy.

Knowing that the work we all collectively do in the biopharma research space ultimately helps patients like me feel better and live a happier life is very meaningful and rewarding.