Shilpa Jain: For the benefit of our young women at AFH, can you explain what does your job involve at Lupin?
Nilanjana Basu: I am heading the Technical Training Vertical at Lupin Limited. This vertical ensures the regulatory requirement compliance on Training front as well as contributes in enhancing Training effectiveness.
SJ: Did you always want to pursue Pharma as a career?
NB: As you know, when we are in school, we lacked visibility and holistic awareness on what are the possibilities of different fields. Similarly in my case, pharma happened through competitive exam outcome rather that me chasing it – as I knew, at that point of time, very little about it.
SJ: Given that your core competency is Quality Assurance in Pharma, how did you go about specializing in these functions?
NB: My core competence in Quality Assurance was built , bit by bit, through working at multiple areas viz. documentation, validation, Quality Management System and so on. I did hands on work and that’s how I learnt.
SJ: What is your advice to our young women who wish to pursue a career in pharma? And what are the various options within that sector that they can pursue?
NB: I would advise them to be thorough on whichever sections that they find it most interesting- Pharmaceutics, Quality Assurance, Quality Control techniques etc. Getting into details is the key to success.
With credentials in Pharma, one can join the Pharmaceutical manufacturing Plants in different sections/ Join in R&D/ join different educational institutes.
SJ: Is it possible to shift functions within pharma, for e.g. from R&D to QC, etc?
NB: Yes very much possible depending on the core competence developed.
SJ: Is a career in QC financially rewarding?
NB: QC is an area of focus for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing. We have been talking about Quality by Design since long so that our reliance on Quality Testing diminishes, however, we are yet not there and testing of our products still remains our most important mechanism to ensure patient safety and medicine efficacy.Thus QC remains important as ever and if one develops the expertise , will bound to rise up the ladder and it becomes financially rewarding too.
SJ: Given that QC requires someone to be physically present in the office, how did you manage work during the lockdown?
NB: I belong to the corporate office and my team is located across sites. Site remained operational throughout pandemic and thus the show went on..
SJ: Would you like highlight some of the challenges you faced in the journey to achieve professional success? How did you combat them?
NB: Addressing each and every challenge in the best possible manner at that point of time is the key. Just to put your heart and soul in resolving one problem at a time, and channelizing entire energy in dealing with one single thing, without multi tasking , does wonders.
SJ: Is QC and training a woman-centric function within pharma?
NB: Yes and No. Still very less number of girls are in Pharma and Training is an evolving field in Pharma. Thus it is not yet time to conclude. What I can say is compared to core manufacturing function, we get to see more girls in QC . The % is higher in Regulatory Affairs too.
SJ: As our primary cause is aiming to make young women financially independent, why is being financially independent important to you?
NB: For any living being, Freedom is extremely important – freedom of speech, freedom of taking actions that one feels right- one struggles if there is a financial dependence. That saps confidence of the overall personality. To become self reliant, becoming financially independent is the first and foremost step – the rest will follow.
SJ: Any message to the members of Aspire for Her? And any message for the Foundation in general
NB: I feel you are on a fantastic and much needed mission . As each of us travel our own path , try to chase excellence etc, it is extremely important to consolidate , share and discuss – so that the change starts rolling . If you look back at history we have travelled quite some path- in Vedic era, women were quite empowered and then there was a change , there was discrimination and as we know, time moves like a wheel and probably you all are those change agents that will contribute in bringing back the golden era of women empowerment and gender equality.
My best of wishes are with you!!!