Researcher at the Norwegian Medicines Agency (Statens Legemiddelverk)
Since most of my work revolves around assessing the cost effectiveness of different pharmaceuticals, all the courses on economic evaluation, economic modelling, statistics and decision making have been extremely important, David Ngaruiya Mwaura says.
David Ngaruiya Mwaura, former student at the master programme in Health Economics, Policy and Management
What is the job?
I am a researcher in the pharmacoeconomics department at the Norwegian Medicines Agency (Statens Legemiddelverk) which is the governmental administrative agency for pharmaceuticals in Norway. The Agency’s mandate entails ensuring that the public consumes medicines that are both safe and effective, in addition to promoting the proper and rational use of medicines. This is done through the supervision of all the stages in the production, testing and marketing of pharmaceuticals.
My department manages the blue prescription scheme (Blåreseptordningen) where the state reimburses the cost of certain pharmaceuticals based on their appropriateness and cost-effectiveness. In addition, the department sets the price of pharmaceuticals and also monitors the financial situation of pharmacies operating in Norway.
My tasks therefore fall in the refractive area between medicine, pharmaceuticals and finance such as;
- Assessing applications for pre-approved reimbursement of pharmaceuticals in the blue prescription scheme by analyzing whether the treatment value is reasonably related to the costs.
- Evaluating and monitoring reimbursement decisions and drug policies
- Contributing to the development of regulations in relation to the prescription of drugs available on prescription
- Representing the agency in meetings, seminars and courses with industry players: governments, the pharmaceutical industry, academia, health care, etc
How did you get the job?
Immediately after receiving my final grades, I started looking for relevant jobs in the newspapers and internet. In one of the searches I found out that Statens Legemiddelverk had advertised some positions. Positive feedback from fellow students who had been interns at the agency coupled with good feedback from professors from our institute who have a close networking role with the agency, I applied for the position.
To what extent do you benefit from the knowledge acquired from studies in Health Economics, Policy and Management?
Since most of my work revolves around assessing the cost effectiveness of different pharmaceuticals, all the courses on economic evaluation, economic modelling, statistics and decision making have been extremely important. In addition, courses such as health and medicine, structure, organization and financing of health care systems etc have been crucial in understanding both the clinical and organizational practice of the Norwegian health care system.
As a testament to the relevance of the master’s program, I am still using most of my text books in my day to day work context. In addition, all staff in my department take at least one course at HELED on economic evaluation.
Are there any possibilities for further development in the job?
Lots of opportunities are available due to the high amount of interactions with different industry players such as health professionals, bureaucrats, pharmaceutical companies, policy makers and policy analysts. The ever changing disease profile and societal priorities also mean varied experiences and new learning. Last but not least, seminars, courses and different forms of interaction take place continually.