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Pharma Consultancy: PVCC Consulting is Transitioning from a Start-Up to a Sustainable MSME even though it’s Barely 4 Years Old

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“Our new innovative product, ‘Fuatilia’, is a drug safety tracking tool that helps companies keep track of their day-to-day safety responsibilities.”

Dr. Wangui Mathenge, founder and CEO of PVCC Consulting, is renowned for her inexhaustible energy and enthusiasm, wisdom, and great sense of humor. Indeed, she’s someone who leads by example.

Drawing on over 15 years’ experience and expertise in safety sciences and business management in corporate pharma and the healthcare sector, Wangui is the heartbeat of this organization. Through her focus, drive, and ever-growing leadership skills, PVCC continues to grow, expand while broadening client base dominating the African region.

Outside PVCC, Wangui serves as an executive leader of the International Society of Pharmacovigilance, Africa chapter, where she champions and advocates for standardization of stronger pharmacovigilance regulations through the formation of the Africa Medicines Agency.

PVCC Consulting, a safety competence service provider for life-sciences industry in Africa, offers the following services: pharmacovigilance and product safety services.

PVCC is headquartered in Kenya.

The Silicon Review contacted Dr. Wangui who spoke about PVCC making a difference in this segment and plans to stay at the forefront.

Interview Highlights

Q. How is the industry you serve currently evolving, and where does PVCC Consulting stand at the moment?

As the world grappled with effects and management of the Covid-19 pandemic, the pharma industry stakeholders including specialist companies like PVCC Consulting were forced to implement agile strategies that could quickly ensure business continuity (of drug safety) while maintaining relevant stipulated compliance measures.

At PVCC, we had established Business Continuity Management (BCM) plans in 2019; without considering the pandemic. We tested the plans and strategies throughout 2019 and they worked. In 2020, given the scenario was totally different, we had to formalize and train our staff on the work-from-home strategy, to ensure all of them could comfortably work remotely and safely.

To scale up our productivity as part of our BCM, we incorporated the use of the available technology solutions as well as developing own online tools to allow us effectively track all our operational activities albeit remotely.

Additionally, the implementation of our BCM, enabled us to save a lot of funds and this gave us the courage to divert from acquiring an actual office. This decision not only helped increase employee retention but also ensured employees and contractors received a raise in their remuneration. More so, we expanded our business by employing a few more staff on a contract basis, and reinvested the rest of the funds on developing other innovative technologies.

A huge section of the African healthcare sector relies on a pen to paper-based methods & the use of an uncoded or unverified electronic tool to file data including vital patient safety data. Our main mandate in adapting technology is to help our clients generate and easily store their data by moving from paper-based to coded, verified online-based files that help in reducing paper waste, and contributes in conserving environment and maximizing on efficiency.

Our strategy has not been easy to adopt in Africa due to several challenges, however, we are proud of the fact that PVCC was able to withstand the effects of the pandemic, especially where our core functions in drug safety operations were concerned, and these benefits were greatly appreciated by our clients and stakeholders.

All this would not have been possible without my team’s agility in generating BCM plans in advance.

Q. How does PVCC improve safety competence in the Sub Sahara Africa region?

We have a deeper understanding of local regulations in Africa where the regulatory landscape would best be described as VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous), and matching these insights with global standards, has given PVCC a unique opportunity in shaping safety policies and excellence in Africa.

Additionally, we have curated the common Good Pharmacovigilance Practice (GVP) standards into various services that can be integrated locally and globally, into any level of operations for a given life-science company established in Africa. These services include specialized safety training, consultancy services and safety business process outsourcing management.
Our outsourcing service has been our flagship service enabling us to cater for and provide safety competence to life-sciences industry across over 42 countries in Africa while adhering to the relevant local and global regulatory needs.

Q. How responsive is PVCC to the changing needs of ‘patIents’?

The pandemic caused a significant paradigm shift in the way people communicate and transact with each other. Today’s patient is estimated to spend approximately 80% of their waking time on their smart gadgets (phone, tablet, laptop, etc.) as tools that enable them conduct their day-to-day affairs, and access their needs; faster, easier and in top quality.

Combining this insight with our daily mantra of keeping patIents safe and sound, where we remodeled the word patIent with a capital “i’’ to remind us that we are all potential patients at some point in life. The use of digitalization and technology has given the patIent all the necessary power to demand patient-centric quality solutions by tapping their screen.

We recognize that digital and tech use today has become the biggest competition for every business that wants to survive in this era. And to remain relevant and accessible, companies must find themselves at each patIent’s phone screen.

PVCC is changing the needs of the patIents by being that strategic partner that is at the frontier of innovating affordable and easy to use drug safety tech solutions for the local pharma industry, by enabling them increase their efficiency and regulatory compliance while meeting the patIents’ rights of access to quality products.

As part of our corporate governance, PVCC is using its digital platforms to create educative content on different aspects of product safety that advocates for patIent safety in an ecofriendly way.

Q. What are your other focus areas?

From the pharma industry experiences, we have successfully diversified our safety competence expertise to other industries including animal health, medical device, cosmetics, medical cannabis, clinical trials, and Covid vaccine.

Q. What new endeavors is PVCC currently undertaking?

Our new innovative product, ‘Fuatilia’, is a drug safety tracking tool that helps companies keep track of their day-to-day safety responsibilities. Its user-friendly, maintains compliance, increases personnel productivity management, and is geared towards employee mental well-being at the workplace.

Q. No doubt PVCC is charting new territories in this segment. Given how frequently circumstances change, what plans for transformation are you pursuing to remain relevant now and in the future?

To affirm our commitment to offering compliant quality services that are environmentally friendly, we have embarked on acquiring several ISO standardizations for our processes before end of 2022.

We are excited to share this because patIents in Africa that PVCC reaches through our clients; is getting the same quality standards as their global counterpart. We attest now that it’s time for Africa!

Q. Is there anything else you want us to highlight that we might have missed?

PVCC is now transitioning from a start-up to a sustainable MSME. We are proud to have realized all this impact and success even though PVCC is barely four years old.

“To affirm our commitment to offering compliant quality services that are environmentally friendly, we have embarked on acquiring several ISO standardizations for our processes before end of 2022.”