NCAH prizes awarded at NOAH annual dinner

The highest scoring candidates that gained the NOAH Certificate of Animal Health (NCAH) during 2013 received prizes at the NOAH annual dinner in London on 15 May.

First prize of £100 went to overall winner Lisa O’Donnell, Customer Development Manager for Novartis.

Lisa says: “The NCAH has not only broadened my knowledge of clinical areas that I deal with at present but given me an overall insight and understanding of clinical diseases that affect our customers and end users. The course covers all species, ensuring a suitable level of knowledge and understanding exists should you decide to change roles within your career”.

Second overall winner was Helen Walker of Vetoquinol and the third overall winner was Richard Chew, now working for Zoetis.

There were 2 NCAH examinations during 2013. Lisa was the top student in the May exam with Helen and Richard in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

In the September exam Nadia Rogers from Novartis was top student, followed by Charlotte Hobby from Ceva in 2nd place and Gemma Cairns, MSD in 3rd.

The NOAH Certificate of Animal Health (NCAH) is designed to give candidates a thorough grounding in animal physiology, animal disease and treatment options, as well as giving them a full knowledge of the legal framework in which medicines are regulated, advertised and sold. It is aimed at sales staff in the animal health industry.

The NCAH evolved from the Marketing Authorisation Holders (MAH) certificate administered by AMTRA (Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority). It came under NOAH’s remit at the beginning of 2011 to avoid confusion with AMTRA’s Suitably Qualified Persons (SQP) qualification. The qualification continues to be formally academically accredited by Harper Adams University under its jurisdiction as an institution with its own degree awarding powers. Harper Adams University also hosts the training courses and examinations.

NOAH Technical Executive, Donal Murphy, who presented the awards said: “Congratulations to our top students this year — and indeed, to everyone that has achieved the NCAH qualification in 2013. NOAH believes it is very important that our representatives are qualified — indeed it’s written into the rules for NOAH membership that all companies’ sales representatives (other than vets) involved in the direct technical selling of medicines (other than products classed as AVM-GSL) are on the NCAH Register and take the examination within two years of joining the industry.

“The NCAH qualification equips member company representatives be able to give their customers good support — so we call on you to spread the word about their level of qualification — and to use their expertise to your advantage!”


Notes for Editors

  1. The National Office of Animal Health represents the UK animal medicines industry. Its aim is to promote the benefits of safe, effective, quality medicines for the health and welfare of all animals.

    For more information contact Alison Glennon or Donal Murphy, NOAH, 3 Crossfield Chambers, Gladbeck Way, Enfield, Middlesex, EN2 7HF. Tel: 020 8367 3131. Email:

  2. Biographies and comments on the NCAH

    Lisa O’Donnell

    I joined Novartis Animal Health in 2011 having previously been employed in veterinary practice as a registered veterinary nurse and laterally as Lecturer for student veterinary nurses for RCVS Diploma and BSc in Veterinary Nursing. My role at present is Customer Development Manager for majority of Scotland within the Farm Animal Business sector of Novartis. I work with Veterinary practices and trade merchants supporting our Farm Animal Portfolio. Categories include predominantly parasitology for sheep and cattle and also Cattle health care with a vaccine for BVD (Bovidec) and antibiotic for Mastitis (Framomycin).

    The NCAH has not only broadened my knowledge of clinical areas that I deal with at present but given me an overall insight and understanding of clinical diseases that affect our customers and end users. The course covers all species, ensuring a suitable level of knowledge and understanding exists should you decide to change roles within your career

    Helen Walker

    Having previously worked for an FMCG electrical retailer and within equine nutrition I joined Vétoquinol in May 2011 as companion animal Product Manager. I have looked after a variety of brands from anti-invectives through to non-prescription products.

    In January 2014 I moved over to the dark side and joined the sales team as Key Account Manager.

    Outside of work I live with my partner in a small town in Buckinghamshire where I enjoy spending time with my cat Molly and horse Rio.

    The NCAH course genuinely improved my animal health knowledge and has really boosted my confidence. As a zoology graduate it was also refreshing to study animal physiology without a raging hangover!

    Richard Chew

    I originally started training as a vet but didn’t pass all my first year exams, and ended up changing to a 3 year science course. I never turned my back on clinical science however and my career has taken me along a parallel path, still involving animals. I began working with Pfizer Animal Health in 2004 in Clinical Research and Development, then worked as an Animal Genetics Customer Advisor with the company’s fledgling genetics division, followed by a Technical Advisor role, before my current role in Zoetis.

    I am now employed in a Quality Assurance role, ensuring contractors who manufacture products for Zoetis do so to the required standards. The contractors I look after make diverse products for many species ranging from insect-repelling eartags to antimicrobials. My current manager encouraged me to continue and complete my NCAH studies, which I’d started whilst working as a Technical Advisor.

    In my spare time I enjoy cycling and bike renovation, modern languages, and spending time with my two young children.

    Studying the NCAH course has been a great opportunity to show that I can still apply myself to intensive study, and I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in the modules I’d chosen. The qualification has given me greater understanding of our company’s portfolio of products, which I find very useful when giving presentations to contractors about Zoetis.

    Nadia Rogers

    I had been a qualified veterinary nurse for 12 years and decided that I wanted a change of direction in my career so joined Novartis Animal Health in 2010 as a Technical and Pharmacovigilance Advisor. Through this role I learnt about the technical aspects of the Novartis Companion Animal, Farm Animal and Aqua portfolio, but developed a keen interest in the commercial aspect of the business. So in 2012 I moved to an Internal Sales role and progressed to a Territory Manager role in 2013, in the companion animal business. I currently live in Cardiff and my territory covers all of South Wales, so I certainly cover some miles in some very remote and rural areas.

    I enjoyed studying for the NCAH exam as it was a chance to learn new things and also a refresher on some areas I covered in my veterinary nursing training many years ago! I think that the course has been useful to support my knowledge around some of the therapeutic brands I promote to my customers and boosted my confidence when having more technical discussions in my customer meetings. The course was also a great opportunity to meet and chat with colleagues from other pharmaceutical companies.

    Charlotte Hobby

    I am currently Livestock territory manager for Ceva Animal Health having joined Ceva in January 2012. We currently focus on cattle and sheep fertility and large animal anti-infectives, covering cattle, sheep and pigs. As a territory manager I cover the Midlands, East Anglia, North and Mid Wales and everywhere between those places, calling on mixed and farm vet practices.

    I studied Microbiology at Leeds University 1998-2001 then travelled around the world for a fantastic 6 months. I then joined Leo Pharma, working as a rep in human pharmaceuticals for 9 years. Redundancy came up giving me the opportunity to look at veterinary pharmaceuticals which had been my interest for some time. I was lucky enough to start at Ceva 2 weeks after finishing at Leo. I absolutely love my role within Ceva and the company and so pleased I made the change to veterinary. I am married to Steve, a police officer, and we live in Northants with our cat Gizmo. I am a huge Formula 1 fan and try to get to a couple of races a year!

    I was thrilled to pass my NCAH qualification last year. It is a great qualification to have ‘under my belt’ to make me part of the veterinary world and I hope has truly cemented my career transition into Veterinary pharmaceuticals.

    Gemma Cairns

    Originally from the West coast of Scotland I relocated in 2002 to Warwickshire where I completed a 3 year degree course in Equine Studies BA (Hons). Although I have a passion for all things equine I quickly realised that they tend to cost more money than they can earn you so decided to venture into the Veterinary Industry world.

    I continue to live in Warwickshire just south of Stratford-on-Avon and have been working for MSD Animal since September 2011. My territory covers various parts of Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and West Midlands. I look after all of the Companion Animal Product Portfolio which include Vaccines, Ectoparasitics and Endocrinology.

    In my spare time I love to do lots of challenging experiences. Highlights to date have been competing the ‘3 peaks challenge’ and trekking Mount Kilimanjaro last autumn. This year I will be walking the West Highland Way whilst being eaten alive by the infamous Scottish midges. I do as much road cycling as possible after work and at the weekends and regularly participate in ‘Mud Runner’ events.

    I really enjoyed the NCAH exam experience as it gave me a chance to get back into the classroom and learn lots of new things. It had given me better background knowledge on a wide number of topics that has enable me to talk to customers about more than just the products we promote.