Benefits of Hiring an In-House Quality Assurance Specialist

6 minutes

Due to an ever-complex regulatory landscape, pharmaceutical firms are working diligently to ...

Due to an ever-complex regulatory landscape, pharmaceutical firms are working diligently to ensure their quality assurance policies are as robust as possible. They understand just how important quality assurance is to the drug development process, as a failure to follow regulations can result in reputational damage, reduced patient safety, and diminished profits. If you are a pharmaceutical firm that wants to bolster your company’s product quality and regulatory compliance, then hiring a highly skilled quality assurance specialist to join your team may just be the perfect option for you. 

Quality assurance specialists in the pharma industry are tasked with implementing strategies that guarantee drugs are of the highest quality and produced efficiently. They pay in-depth attention to every part of the drug development process, from clinical trials to the supply and manufacture stage. The level of rigour that a quality assurance specialist will bring to your business is sure to help you boost customer experience and minimise product defects. 

In this guide, we’ll explore the impact of quality assurance on the pharmaceutical industry, delve into the key reasons why you should hire an in-house quality assurance specialist, and examine the skills and qualifications you should look out for in candidates. 

The Impact of Quality Assurance on the Pharma Industry

Quality assurance is fundamental to the drug development process, ensuring safety, continuous improvement, and regulatory compliance. Having strict quality assurance protocols in place not only prevents defects and results in better and safer medication, but it also maintains public confidence in a pharma company’s products. With effective quality assurance measures in place, pharmaceutical firms minimise the risks of costly product recalls, negative publicity, and compliance breaches. 

Rigorous quality assurance checks are a top priority for pharmaceutical firms; however, implementing these measures presents a number of challenges. Bringing your staff up to speed with the latest rules and regulations regarding quality assurance can be a lengthy process, and conducting QA frequent training sessions typically requires plenty of time and money. Another key difficulty that arises when introducing new QA procedures is an inability to keep up with the pace of change, an issue that particularly affects pharma firms that still rely on manual and paper-based systems. 

Although quality assurance measures may be somewhat time-consuming and costly, the reputational and long-term financial risks of mishandling QA protocols far outweigh these inconveniences. There are various strategies you can implement to  ensure that your quality assurance measures are effective and compliant with regulatory standards, including: 

  • Conduct regular employee training sessions 
  • Create a culture that champions continuous improvement and learning 
  • Use state-of-the-art technologies designed to identify potential defects
  • Routinely review your quality assurance procedures


Why You Should Recruit a Quality Assurance Specialist

While it is understandable that smaller, cost-conscious pharmaceutical companies may be hesitant to hire additional staff due to the added expense, the pros of hiring quality assurance specialists far outweigh the drawbacks. Many smaller firms rely on seeking external assistance for QA for financial reasons, but having in-house expertise provides an array of important benefits.  

Not only will having extra QA support give you an edge over your competitors when it comes to regulatory compliance, but it will also improve customer satisfaction and retention. Research shows that acquiring new customers costs five times more than retaining existing ones, a statistic demonstrating the potential economic benefits of better quality assurance. 

Not convinced yet? Here are the top reasons why you should seek the expertise of a quality assurance specialist: 

1. In-Depth Knowledge

While you and your team may have general knowledge about QA, a quality assurance specialist can offer you greater expertise. They’ll have a deep understanding of the rules and regulations that the pharma industry must abide by. With expertise in crucial areas like Good Manufacturing Practices and Good Distribution Practices, your quality assurance specialist will have the know-how to help you navigate through the drug development process while complying with all the relevant guidelines.  

2. Enhanced Product Quality 

By implementing preventative measures to mitigate risk and boost regulatory compliance, quality assurance specialists are instrumental in improving product quality. Having a loyal customer base is something every business relies on, not least pharmaceutical companies. With a top-of-the-range medicine that yields better results than anything that your competitors offer, you’re bound to see an increase in profits that more than justifies the cost of your new QA specialist. 

3. Constant Improvement

Whether you are flying high or struggling with sales, opportunities will always exist to develop and refine your operations. By creating a culture of continuous improvement within your organisation, you will not only prevent your team from becoming complacent, but you can also anticipate a boost in productivity, profit, and product quality. Your quality assurance specialist will be at the forefront of your drive for continuous improvement, helping your team to master their knowledge of QA best practices. They’ll also use their analytical skills to monitor potentially problematic trends and identify specific areas of improvement. 

4. Internal Training

Having an in-house quality assurance specialist will not only positively impact retaining customers and maintaining regulatory compliance, it will also aid your staff in their understanding of quality assurance protocols. Regulatory compliance is vital and complicated, so having an in-house QA specialist who can impart their knowledge to your team is advantageous. They can conduct regular training sessions on topics such as core quality assurance principles, best practices, and the reasoning behind regulations. 

5. Bolster Your Brand Reputation 

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a series of short-term and long-term impacts on the pharma industry, ranging from demand changes to approval delays. Pharmaceutical firms are striving to emerge from this unprecedented period of disruption by doing what they can to bolster their reputations, and hiring a dedicated quality assurance specialist is certainly a way to instil confidence in your brand. It will demonstrate to your customer base that you take regulatory compliance and product quality seriously, and your market perception and profit margin will benefit as a result. 

Hiring the Ideal Quality Assurance Specialist 

Once you have decided to hire a quality assurance specialist to support your organisation, you should get to grips with the ins and outs of the role so that the candidate you hire perfectly suits your needs. The ideal applicant should have a combination of necessary professional skills, relevant qualifications, and hands-on experience in a quality-related position. To give you an idea of what skills and qualifications you should be looking out for, here is a guide on what the role entails: 

Skills and Responsibilities of a Quality Assurance Specialist 

Quality assurance specialists involved in overseeing QA in the drug development process not only need to possess an exceptional knowledge of the latest industry requirements and regulations, but they should also have impeccable analytical skills, outstanding communication, and a clear passion for the product that your business sells. The role is dynamic and varied, and the post holder will need to be able to perform a wide variety of tasks, including: 

  • Implementing quality assurance strategies designed to ensure that regulations are consistently followed 
  • Investigate product quality issues and come up with solutions based on QA best practices 
  • Devise risk-management procedures to minimise product defects 
  • Perform routine inspections to identify production and quality issues and resolve them accordingly
  • Conduct regular training sessions on core QA principles for colleagues 

Quality assurance specialists play a fundamental role in maintaining product quality, mitigating risk, and boosting brand reputation. While there are a number of general responsibilities that QA specialists must fulfil, it is paramount that you make your job listing as specific as possible. Be sure to take stock of your current quality assurance situation beforehand to identify areas that need special attention from your incoming QA expert, then add those responsibilities to the job description. 

Relevant Qualifications and Experience 

While it’s not typically mandatory for quality assurance specialist candidates to hold degrees or certifications, it is certainly a desirable quality. If a candidate has a professional qualification like a CQA and is a member of a body such as the Chartered Quality Institute, along with all the required skills, they should be at the top of your shortlist. 

You should also look out for applicants with a demonstrable pharmaceutical background, whether a related degree or work experience in the industry. Prior roles like quality control assistant should be taken into account, as this will show that they have had valuable experience in a similar environment. 

The Final Word

In an ever-evolving pharmaceutical landscape, where reputation and patient safety are paramount, hiring a dedicated quality assurance specialist is a strategic move that aligns your company with industry best practices and sets you on a path to consistent success and market leadership. 

By hiring an in-house quality assurance specialist, pharmaceutical firms gain access to unparalleled expertise, in-depth knowledge of industry standards, and the ability to implement effective strategies that minimise defects and maintain regulatory compliance. This investment safeguards against costly recalls and reputational damage and fosters a culture of continuous improvement within the organisation.

So, when considering your next strategic move, remember that quality assurance is not just a necessity; it's an opportunity for growth and excellence in the pharmaceutical industry.

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