Staff profile - Caroline De Luca
Senior therapeutic group manager
A love of hospital pharmacy and working with sick children is still being put to good use for Caroline De Luca, but in a different way at PHARMAC.
Caroline is one of PHARMACs’ therapeutic group managers, or TGMs, who manage medicine funding applications. The role is demanding and complex, combining a detailed knowledge of pharmaceuticals and clinical information and working with pharmaceutical companies to reach national agreements.
A Hamilton native, Caroline decided early on that hospital pharmacy was for her, eventually specialising in paediatrics at Auckland’s Starship Children’s hospital. Along the way she had a stint in London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, and also found the time to become a qualified winemaker after study the art of winemaking – oenology – through Napier’s EIT.
Then came PHARMAC.
“I loved my job at Starship but it’s not something I felt I could do forever because it was very intense. The emotional side of seeing very sick children was part of it – that can be hard but it can also make it very rewarding.”
Arriving at PHARMAC had a strange familiarity for Caroline. Not only did she find herself working under her former boss at Auckland DHB – Sarah Fitt – but on her second day she was asked to pick up a proposed change for the transplant medicine tacrolimus; something she had already been involved with in her Starship role.
“I was thrown in at the deep end, but it was great to be able to find my feet with a clinical topic I knew well. I had been providing feedback to PHARMAC from my old role, now I was the one seeking and receiving that feedback.”
Two years in, Caroline is one of 11 pharmacists on PHARMAC’s staff and loves the role, which has a national aspect as well as making decisions that affect individual people.
“It is different but you do see where you are directly helping people, like through the Exceptional Circumstances process, NPPA. You don’t see the patient but you are still doing something for an individual person.”
“What I enjoy the most is seeing the difference you can make at a national level. You still need to maintain relationships with clinicians and patient groups, and you get to see the commercial side too. I really enjoy that because you’re seeing things from all angles.”
(Originally published in our 2016 Year in Review)
Last updated: 25 October 2019