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For today’s Alumni Spotlight, allow us to feature Mr. Carlo L. Perete, or Carlo of UPCP B.S. Industrial Pharmacy Class 1998 and M. Sc. Industrial Pharmacy Class 2007. He is currently the Regional Quality Assurance Manager for Asia of a medical device company where he conducts audits of GxP vendors and assists in the external/internal inspections of country operations within Asia-Pacific. He is accountable for the Quality Management System (QMS) implementation and the quality operations metrics of ten countries within the region.

Armed with his UPM Industrial Pharmacy degree, he started his career  as a Sterile Area supervisor in a local pharmaceutical company involved in the production of IV fluids. Always curious about what processes are involved in the manufacturing and testing of products, he would stay a little longer after his work-shifts ended to ask the engineers about equipment operations or go to the laboratory and intently observe the chemists and microbiologists carrying out their work. He would then read whatever books he could get his hands on in the company library to back up his observations with theoretical knowledge. All this led to his assignment to lead the first-ever validation team of the company, which eventually paved the way for his active and continuing involvement in the world of pharmaceutical, consumer health care & medical device technical and quality assurance work.

Growing up in the province of Albay, and being the eldest in a family of six, Carlo shared; “My fondest memories of childhood, apart from the street games of patintero and tumbang preso, are my parents’ inculcating the love of education to us, their children.”. Starting from an early age, his curiosity was piqued by illustrated comics, which then further grew into reading books and magazines on science and literature.

“Like most of us “ordinary students”, I didn’t have stellar grades in UP Pharmacy,” Carlo said. A transferee from the UPM B.S. Biology course in 1993, “I thought to myself – what am I getting into?”

“The important thing is that from the ashes of your struggles, you rise up like a phoenix and shine even more brightly. Always be true to your values, and anchor your strength on your family and friends who will always be there to give you unwavering support.”

– Carlo L. Perete, RPh, MS | UPCPAA 2021 Most Distinguished Alumni Awardee & UPMAA 2021 Most Distinguished Awardee

While his old classmates were dissecting cats and looking for microorganisms, he was involved in the organic chemistry lab, saying something about “witnessing an explosion” and “making sure volatile oils don’t escape vials” just so he doesn’t get an incomplete grade. “My most “significant” memory was when I got a grade of “5.0”, not just once, but three (3) times!”, he recalls; these events shattered his self-confidence, “but in hindsight, it was a most powerful lesson that gave me the courage and will to go on despite the myriad of difficulties.”

When asked about what drives and inspires him, Carlo speaks of his family, loss and faith. As someone who always considered his family “the wind beneath his wings”, with the passing of both of his parents  in the last decade, he endeavors to pass on their legacy of education by teaching part-time in the university. “Most recently, my only son Sean passed away and while the inescapable pain will linger for as long as I live, this tragic event led me to strive to live a little bit better – be it in my professional practice or in my personal life,” Carlo said. “I have always been spiritual, and I prayed to the architect of the universe to help me devote the remaining part of my life to love my family deeper, to do meaningful work more purposely, and to give my best to whatever mission will be handed to me”, he added.

His advocacy has and will always be ferreting out the truth that will lead to the best outcomes for patients. “As with our training as pharmacists and the discipline of the scientific method, I hope a lot of people will realize that not all things posted on social media about the merits of certain medications are true,” he said.  He described how the term “data integrity” is coined and institutionalized in his field of work to make sure that the decisions about products are data-driven; and that the data itself should be attributable, legible, contemporaneous, original and accurate (ALCOA principle). He hopes that this will be at the core of all fields of pharmacy, and that future advancements, besides making systems and processes more efficient, would ultimately safe-guard the sanctity of the data. He also hopes that through his professional practice and advocacy, he can do his share in protecting and promoting the health of patients and assist the marginalized sectors of society, “Ultimately, I pray that the blessings will continue to pour in as I carry on with my mission so I can provide the best version of life to my family and loved ones.”

Overall, he would like to be remembered as someone who believed that the search for truth and the struggle to practice integrity in whatever endeavors we do are far more important than the spotlight of a successful outcome.

And finally, he would like to leave us with the notion that; ultimately, failure is part of academic-life (and life in general). “The important thing is that from the ashes of your struggles, you rise up like a phoenix and shine even more brightly,” he says; that when things get a little shaky, always remember your purpose – to ensure that quality medicines and services are delivered to the patients who need it most – this will give you an impetus to hold your ground and carry on despite the difficulties. “Always be true to your values, and anchor your strength on your family and friends who will always be there to give you unwavering support.”

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