Eu2P have offered a growing suite of certified drug-safety education courses since 2009, with renewed interest in the discipline spurred by COVID19. They are now expanding beyond the EU
Back in 2008, there was a growing awareness that there was an acute lack of formal academic training in pharmacovigilance (the safe use of medicines) and pharmacoepidemiology (the use and effects of medicines). The need had become more and more apparent thanks to the evolution in the preceding decade of pharmacovigilance practices generally, as well as the increased use of post-licensing evaluation (where data is collected on the safety of medicines after they have been authorised and are already being prescribed to patients).
The pharma industry, medicines regulators and academic researchers had been calling for the creation of a formal training programme to upskill the people working in the drug safety field, particularly physicians and pharmacists working in pharmaceutical companies, to cover topics like risk-benefit assessment of medicines, risk management, and communicating about risk to the public.
Eu2P was set up to provide a pan-European, fully-accredited (and EU-wide recognised) training programme that could supply the needed skills and qualifications for a growing and evolving field, but also to give a comprehensive view of European medicine benefit-risk assessment, which Eu2P can do thanks to its owing to its unique e-teaching and e-learning structure.
The number and variety of courses on offer by Eu2P have steadily grown, and they span the quick and generic, such as a two-hour online course on drug safety basics, to a European Masters and PhD programme. The programme is still managed by the original 2009 team, based in the Université de Bordeaux. We asked Dr Karine Palin, Eu2P programme manager, a few questions about the programme’s evolution.
Q. Can you describe the situation in 2008 that led to the creation of the academic programme?
Dr Karine Palin: Pharmacovigilance practices and post-licensing evaluation of medicines had quickly evolved, which led to the emergence of new job profiles such as project managers, pharmacoepidemiological coordinators, risk-benefit analysts and people able to work with statisticians and clinicians. In addition to the lack of trained people, there was also a clear need to explain and sensitise the public to the reality of the risk associated with medicines.
Q. Can you describe the profile of the typical person who enrols for one of your courses currently?
Dr Karine Palin: The typical person who enrols in our courses is a professional (physician or pharmacist) from the pharmaceutical industry. They often work in drug safety field and need to progress in their job level e.g. become leader of their team or update their knowledge for better and efficient results for the surveillance of medicines prescribing and use.
The people who take the courses gain a theoretical and practical understanding of the pan-European working environment, and that gives them great mobility and facilitates their contribution to drug safety at the national, supranational and international levels (read Eu2P student testimonials).
Q. What explains the enduring success of the programme?
Dr Karine Palin: The enduring success of the programme is due to the continuous investment in the development of new courses according to the demand of pharmaceutical companies and international scientific societies. The crucial element is that trainees benefit from academic accreditation and therefore can be awarded ECTS (European credit transfer and accumulation system) credits following their assessment.
Q. Can you describe briefly the business model?
Dr Karine Palin: The continuation of the programme is ensured by tuition fee income since 2016, thanks to the increasing number of Master, certificate and short course registrations throughout the years. Eu2P will continue to improve and develop its course catalogue according to the needs of public and private professionals (read a comparison of Eu2P courses).
Q. What does the future hold?
Dr Karine Palin: Eu2P is still evolving by bringing in new academic and private partners and proposing new accredited and hot-topics courses in English and Spanish. The COVID-19 crisis has increased interest in drug safety and many academic and professionals are turning to Eu2P to improve their knowledge and practice in this domain. We are currently developing courses in drug safety targeting the North America pharma industry, according to the needs of the International Society of Pharmacovigilance (ISoP). This new programme is called Am2P for American Program in Pharmacovigilance. In 2021, Eu2P will invest in both the North and South American markets.