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Why Lighthouse?

A metaphor for pharmacovigilance and drug safety

Lighthouses are often used a metaphors for pharmacovigilance or drug safety. But is that because we think lighthouses are there to prevent a disaster – the ship on the rocks situation? Or is it because the person choosing the logo knows their true purpose as navigational aids? So that you know where you are with respect to drug safety? We would love to have the precision of navigation in the pharmacovigilance world but is that possible? It’s how we manage uncertainty that is the challenge.

With GPS and other navigational aids is there still a place for lighthouses? Just like our operations, the network of lighthouses have been partly outsourced and mostly automated. No longer are there 3 dedicated people living on site running the equipment. It’s now monitored from a central location and someone comes in when something needs fixing (like the changing the bulbs!). There is still a place for lighthouses despite GPS. Smaller craft still use them to confirm their position, just as many companies still use people to monitor their safety profiles.

So next time, you see a lighthouse logo for a pharmacovigilance department or consultancy, remember it’s not there to prevent a crisis but to help you know where we are. We'd be happy to assist you.

Reproduced with thanks to Sharon Leighton Consultancy.

"Vicki took over a very virtual pharmacovigilance function that needed significant development to cope with the anticipated rate of company growth (in terms of both portfolio and geographic spread). She succeeded in meeting that objective, driving the development of in-house systems and capabilities to the highest standards, while managing a range of external vendors (along with the challenges that they always present). Her drive and commitment were outstanding, and I am very happy to provide this recommendation."

Group Medical Director
Pharmaceutical Company