Jurijs Zaicenko, Deputy Head of Pharmacovigilance

Jurijs Zaicenko has been working at Grindeks for 9 years. When we asked about his time here, he tells us this: “This year, when I found out that I’ve been working at Grindeks for 9 years, I was surprised because I hadn’t noticed how much time had passed, which, I think, is a good indicator.” He has a medical degree and worked in healthcare before that, but he has always been more interested in the scientific side of medicine – innovations and the new medical data. “I feel like at this job I can combine my interests with work. I learn a lot more because the work is related to scientific literature and the latest data.”

Jurijs started his career at Grindeks as a Pharmacovigilance specialist, but now he is the Deputy Director of the Department and Deputy Qualified Person Responsible for Pharmacovigilance (QPPV Deputy). “I am responsible for the safety of all Grindeks medicines, and I feel a very high sense of responsibility when performing my work duties. Previous work experience is very useful for me at work, because the company needs a specialist with the knowledge of a doctor, as side effect situations must be evaluated from a medical point of view.”

Importance of Pharmacovigilance

Jurijs Zaicenko’s daily responsibilities include evaluating and handling adverse events. “It’s a very small percentage of cases, but with any drug, there will be patients who will experience side effects. All the data we collect is then combined, helping to improve the general database of medicines, even if they have been used as a treatment for very long time.” Grindeks is currently part of the European Medicines Agency’s monitoring, which helps to improve the safety of medicines, even for medicines that are well known to everyone, for example, ibuprofen and paracetamol. Patients think that we already know everything, and everyone is using the medicine, but over time, new information appears as data is collected. Therefore, it is necessary to carry out monitoring continuously so patients can feel sure that the medicines they are taking are not harmful to their health. Jurijs Zaicenko believes that “the biggest challenge at work is to continue to evolve and be even more efficient.” Grindeks is constantly growing, expanding the range of its medicines, and increasing operations in new countries, and thus the volume of work in the monitoring of side effects is also increasing. “We have to keep evolving to keep up with the time. Nothing ever is perfect, so I think it’s good that we always find things to improve.”

Your role in pharmacovigilance

Do people know how to report side effects? That is what we asked Jurijs Zaicenko. “Of course, Covid-19 creates a very unpleasant situation in healthcare, but the positive thing is that due to the pandemic, pharmacovigilance became a topical matter in society, and there were a lot of conversations surrounding it. Now more patients know what side effects are and know that they should be reported.” The Covid-19 vaccines have proven that pharmacovigilance is a process that does not stand still and that there are institutions that truly care for patient safety.

“I can tell you about an interesting case. A patient reported to us that our medicine, which she was taking to improve heart function and metabolism, had promoted hair growth. That also was a side effect, although the result was positive.” Side effects are any unwanted effects that are associated with the use of medication. Anything abnormal that you experience when taking a new medication is considered a side effect. On Grindeks’ website you can find a form where you can report the side effects you have experienced, but you can also report in any way that is convenient for you. “We are always interested and want to hear about your experience using Grindeks products, because our goal is to provide the highest quality care for every patient,” Jurijs explains.