In this article, we shine the spotlight on Finn Pulfer, a regulatory consultant at NDA. When you meet Finn, you can’t help but being inspired. His excitement to learn new things while helping people is invigorating. Starting a career in Regulatory Affairs, Finn considers himself as having a rather unique problem – the endless learning opportunities that this role offers. Get to know Finn and prepare to become inspired.
The making of an expert
Ikigai is a Japanese word describing the feeling where you wake up in the morning being excited. It’s placed in the intersection between doing what you love, what you’re good at and what the world needs. For Finn Pulfer, regulatory consultant at NDA, this place is undoubtfully in regulatory affairs.
Finn has an overarching drive to help people, there was no doubt that he was going to work in medicine. However, the question that puzzled him was “in what field?” Stuck at a crossroads between choosing medicine and pharmacy, he chose the latter and went on to become a pharmacist. This gave him the opportunity to be at the edge of the pharmaceutical development and stay up to date in a high-impact field of work.
As it happened, regulatory affairs caught his attention early because, in his own words, “as a pharmacist, I can only help people entering into pharmacy, but in regulatory, I can help many more people all over the world”. By going into regulatory affairs, Finn felt that he scaled up his possibilities to make a difference and provide more people with the medicines they need.
“By making this choice I had the chance to not only help a limited amount of people but a larger population”, he says. “This is highly motivating”.
In 2020, Finn came across the opportunity for an internship at NDA through a personal recommendation – something he is tremendously grateful for. He describes it as a stroke of luck, as he, through this opening, got the chance to see a lot of the industry side of pharmaceuticals in a considerably short time.
“It was a steep learning curve”, he admits, “but the best way to learn is to get familiar with the material and start doing smaller tasks. Over time, the tasks and responsibilities grew, but thanks to my education I had the ability to hit the ground running. I felt that I was actually helping”.
Success is best when shared
Finn is enjoys preparing and reviewing material and submissions. For him, the highlight of his day-to-day work is the generosity of his colleagues. He recounts that he has never heard any of them say, ‘I don’t have the time to help you’. He also adds that his colleagues are always open to open to communicate and share information and this has boosted his career even further.
“Making a medicine is not a one-man-show; it is a team effort”, he says. “It is a set of abilities and characteristics that no one person can have. Every team member brings in special abilities and views – only when all of those are combined will you create success.”
As a result of his hard work and dedication, Finn returned as a full-time employee at NDA after finishing his degree. He claims that he has never had a dull day at work. He loves to learn new things and the best part of the job is when he gets the opportunity to process a lot of new data. What is the story that needs to be put together? What is the main message hiding in the vast amount of data? Finn enjoys the challenge of unravelling the essentials because knowing what should be communicated to the authorities is key to prepare a data package.
Communication conveys confusion to clarity
Finn understands the importance of communication. He knows that effective communication must be precise yet short, and this is not only for communicating with authorities, but with clients and colleagues as well. He mentions that it is crucial for everyone involved in a project to communicate in a way that reduces misunderstanding or delays as everyone may have their own interpretation.
“Communication in writing is an important skill but sometimes you just need to pick up the phone”, he says with a laugh. “To get everyone on the same page, a quick call beats having lots of emails going back and forth”.
Finn wants to dive deeper into communicating within Regulatory Affairs and develop his skills in medical writing. We think it will suit him well as it requires regulatory knowledge, data analytical skills, and the ability to write scientific documents in a well-structured and articulate manner. Nevertheless, his career might take a different direction. The role of Regulatory Affairs can be underestimated, but Finn is well aware of the wide variety of assignments that is covered by this area of expertise. He considers himself as having a rather unique problem – endless learning opportunities and he compares the vast opportunities that this role offers to “being a kid in a candy store”.
Finn repeatedly mentions how lucky he is to have found an interesting field to work in, a very varied job, helpful and generous colleagues, and the opportunity to have an impact on the lives of patients. He says that his job at NDA makes getting up in the morning meaningful, enlightening, and fun, and the work environment is an excellent atmosphere for cultivating future experts. Notwithstanding, we think that it is Finn’s passion and enthusiasm that has helped him make the right decisions and led him along this path.
Finn is a person who creates his own luck.