About ISoP - A message from the President of ISoP

Mira Harrison-Woolrych

Mira Harrison-Woolrych President of ISoP

Dr Mira Harrison-Woolrych BM DM FRCOG

November 2019

I am honoured and delighted to have been elected as President of ISoP – as announced on 28th October 2019 at our Annual General Meeting in Bogota – and am especially proud to be the first woman to ever hold this role in our professional society.

I would like to thank all ISoP members who voted for me and the other members of our new Executive Committee and Advisory Board Worldwide, women constitute approximately 70% of the pharmacovigilance workforce: it is therefore both gratifying and appropriate that membership of the ISoP Advisory Board for 2019-2022 reflects this distribution.

In this article I would like to summarise my vision for ISoP and pharmacovigilance during the next three years, following on from my first presidential address in Bogota. If this is the first time you have read about ISoP, welcome to our professional society! For those of you who have been members for a long time (as I have) please accept my personal thanks for your commitment and enthusiasm for pharmacovigilance worldwide and I look forward to working with you in my new role.

We are all pharmacovigilantes!

ISoP now includes over 800 members from 100 countries, and the key elements that unite us are much stronger than any of our individual differences. I live and work in New Zealand, where the indigenous Māori people have a saying “He waka ake noa!” literally meaning “We are all in this canoe together!” and more broadly encouraging a unity in purpose. This is my philosophy for how we should operate in pharmacovigilance. Whether we come from a clinical or academic background; from medicines regulation or other governmental bodies; from NGOs or charitable organisations; or from the pharmaceutical industry, within ISoP we must all paddle in the same direction to achieve safer use of medicines worldwide. Our professional society is a place where we can educate, collaborate, network and support each other in conducting the essential tasks of monitoring the safety of pharmaceutical products, whatever our personal or professional backgrounds.

Patient-centred pharmacovigilance

We must never forget that patients are at the heart of our work. In my experience as a clinical doctor, having also been employed in academic research, medicines regulation, pharmacoepidemiology (as former Director of the New Zealand Intensive Medicines Monitoring Programme) and working as a writer (see miraharrison.com), I have learned that in order to maximise the safe use of medicines/devices, and to conduct appropriate risk management in any environment – including drug development in clinical trials – we must understand how products are used in real life. This includes knowing how drugs are obtained by patients; how they are taken, inserted or applied (or not!), and – in addition to the clinical factors which may affect safety (e.g. personal medical history; concomitant medicines) – how societal or cultural environments may affect efficacy or safety in each individual. Including and consulting with patients, and helping to better integrate pharmacovigilance with clinical medicine and public health systems, should be fundamental parts of the ISoP mission.

Special Interest Areas

International pharmacovigilance has broadened in scope to include study of medication error, medical devices, herbal and traditional medicines, vaccine safety, women’s medicines and risk minimisation methods. This is reflected in our ISoP Special Interest Groups which I encourage all ISoP members to join and participate in, depending on your area of interest. There are plans to develop common themes across all the ISoP SIGs – for example, patient involvement in pharmacovigilance, risk communication practices – with presentation of this work at future ISoP conferences. Our leadership team also has ideas for new SIGs, for example on biologicals and advanced medicines, and would like to include more pharmacoepidemiology into ISoP courses and conferences. We will reach out to colleagues worldwide to assist and collaborate with us.

The new ISoP leadership team for 2019-2022

The new ISoP Executive Committee (EC) and Advisory Board (AB) include pharmacovigilance experts from a wide range of countries, backgrounds and workplaces, see ISoP Executive & Board. All have been democratically elected by ISoP members worldwide and conduct their work for ISoP as volunteers. I would like to acknowledge their generosity in donating so much time to our society: the enthusiasm and support which every EC/AB member provides to our leadership team is inspiring! I am extremely lucky to have such a hard working and diligent team behind me.

In addition to the EC roles of Vice-President (Rebecca Chandler), Secretary General (Deirdre McCarthy) and Treasurer (Jean-Christophe Delumeau); the following EC/AB members have agreed to undertake other roles for ISoP:

Chair of Fellowship Nominations Committee
Deirdre McCarthy

CIOMS representative
Manal Younus

Communications Team
Deirdre McCarthy

Communications Team
Mónica Tarapués

SIGs Co-ordinator
Angela Caro Rojas

Chapters Co-ordinator
Rebecca Chandler

CIOMS representative
Sten Olsson

Communications Team
Angela Caro Rojas

ISPE and EnCePP liaison
Gianluca Trifirò

UMC/WHO liaison
Rebecca Chandler

ISoP Global Areas and Regional Leaders

ISoP is a truly global society, growing each year in number and diversity of members. We welcome everyone with an interest in the science and practice of pharmacovigilance, and seek to serve our membership to the best of our ability.

In order to better represent ISoP members, I have appointed two Regional Leaders for each of the eight areas of the world where we have members as shown in the table below:

Global Area ISoP Chapters ISoP Regional Leaders
AFRICA African Chapter Helen Ndagije & Sten Olsson
ASIA China Chapter
Indonesia Chapter
South East Asia Chapter
Jean-Christophe Delumeau & Li Zhang
EUROPE (NORTH WEST) Italian Chapter
Swiss-Austria Chapter
Rebecca Chandler & Gianluca Trifirò
EUROPE (SOUTH EAST) South East Europe Chapter Katarina Ilic & Jan Petracek
LATIN AMERICA Latin American Chapter
Mexican Chapter
Angela Caro Rojas & Mónica Tarapués
NORTH AMERICA North American Chapter Deirdre McCarthy & Jan Petracek
MIDDLE EAST Middle East Chapter
Israel Chapter
Egypt Chapter
Manal Younus & Magnus Ekelo
WESTERN PACIFIC Western Pacific Chapter Jo Barnes & Mira Harrison-Woolrych

All ISoP members are encouraged to contact the Regional Leaders for their area, informing them of how our society can serve your needs. We want to hear from you about the type of training and support you want, your ideas for ISoP Chapters or SIGs, or your concerns about pharmacovigilance issues in your country. Please email the ISoP Secretariat at administration@isoponline.org and we will put you in touch with the best person to help.