IMU Alumnus, Nithiyaraj Rajalingam is currently a Regulatory Affairs Pharmacist at Cipla Malaysia Sdn Bhd, an Indian Multinational Company. Prior to this, he was a Regulatory Affairs Pharmacist at a local pharmaceutical company, Bio-Pharmaceuticals Sdn Bhd. for about 1.5 years. This proved to be a great starting point for him in the private pharmaceutical industry. As a Regulatory Affairs Pharmacist, he deals with, basically, anything related to the registration of pharmaceutical products to NPRA (National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency), maintenance of registered pharmaceutical product with NPRA and anything related to pharmacovigilance of the registered products (complaints, ADR etc). For this, he will have to keep himself constantly updated with the new rules/law/guidelines by NPRA.
A typical day at the office for Nithiyaraj starts off with clearing all pending emails from the day before (which are usually regulatory questions by manufacturers and NPRA officer’s emails) followed by lots of calls and personal visits to NPRA/DCA, reviewing new dossiers sent by manufacturer, updating himself with the Product Registration Guideline by NPRA, finding solutions to some regulatory hurdles that maybe present and many other issues that need to settled.
Upon successful completion of his IMU Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons) in 2009, Nithiyaraj was attached to Hospital Sultanah Aminah, Johor Bahru for about 1 year. He was then placed under the Pharmacy Enforcement Division in Selangor where he was at West Port, Klang as an Entry Point Pharmacist for about 1.5 years. With the announcement by MOH on the reduction of compulsory service, he resigned and entered into the private pharmaceutical industry, where he remained till today. Nithiyaraj explained, “Hospital pharmacist has on-calls during weekends and night shifts. Basically, the major difference between a hospital pharmacist and enforcement pharmacist is the external customers you deal with. As a hospital pharmacist, it is mostly patients and doctors. As an enforcement pharmacist, it is mostly the public and pharmacists in other sectors (government and private). Hospital pharmacist requires a strong clinical pharmacy knowledge, while enforcement pharmacist requires a strong pharmacy law knowledge.” With the ambitious plans of having his own pharmaceutical company in the future, Nithiyaraj said, “I feel that my BPharm degree has helped me a great deal, from clinical pharmacy to enforcement pharmacy to finally regulatory pharmacy background. Most of the knowledge learnt during BPharm is similar in all 3 fields, just the difference of how to apply the knowledge in reality. Further, the BPharm programme gave me exposure, albeit minor but still opened my eyes to the many roles a pharmacist can work as.” Nithiyaraj remembers fondly of his junior’s orientation week when there were a lot of fun times.
His advice for those who wants to join the pharmacy profession is “Don’t be fixated on a single career path as a pharmacist, try out all the industries and choose something that you love. There are lots of path available to us as a pharmacist.”