Who Will Be The Navigator of Pharma’s New World Order? Medical Affairs Is The Answer.i-Pharm takes a look to see how Medical Affairs will be the most important cog in the machine of future pharma.
Why is Medical Affairs the most important cog in the machine of future pharma?
Medical Affairs has long been looked at as a support role; however, this will be the most important role in the emerging future of the pharma industry.
For decades, Medical Affairs roles have been defined firstly by information support and the management of regulatory reporting requirements. Fast forward to the present where Medical Affairs now encompasses everything from strategy to safety to communications to field teams and much more! Medical Affairs has become the command centre for the pharma industry.
Amazon has recently announced its entrance into the healthcare industry, with the aim of controlling costs whilst empowering the consumer simultaneously. The need to devise a more results-driven system has never been more important as information accessibility and customer experience expectations surge.
If the pharma industry is going to appropriately defend itself against giants like Amazon, it needs to go above and beyond simply enhancing efficient and effective drug production. It will need to improve the quality and value of overall system management and patient outcomes. Medical Affairs will soon become the most powerful tool in helping pharma companies achieve this. Those working within Medical Affairs will find themselves directly responsible throughout the product lifecycle and interacting with almost all stakeholders both internally and externally.
What we can say with absolute authority is that the pharma industry will need to invest in their Medical Affairs departments to keep pace with the ever-evolving pharma market. Those unable or unwilling to invest whole heartedly in Medical Affairs will be at a significant disadvantage as the pharma industry continues to shift towards a patient-outcome and value-based system.
Outcome-Based Models Are Changing the Business
For the longest time, experts have been talking about the ever-evolving role of consumer-driven healthcare. In today’s world, patients can track down their health-status in real time as well as treatment results. This includes their ability to engage with advocacy programs to further educate themselves and broaden their perspective on expectations of quality of care and treatment outcomes. With the proliferation of social media and patient-empowerment platforms, the voice of patients is more powerful and louder than ever before.
Amazon’s health insurance plans have emphasized treatment outcomes for patients even more because healthier employees are better for business. In the immediate foreseeable future, pharma companies without clinical data or meaningful patient outcomes could find themselves outside of Amazon’s healthcare circle. This is a risky move, considering no one knows what Jeff Bezos’ ambitions are in the healthcare industry should his lens widen within the market. In summation, it is critical that Big Pharma takes into account how they can support the patient throughout their treatment lifecycle.
"As we enter the digital era, we are seeing several health-tech companies emerge who are also looking to hire Medical Affairs professionals – this offers a new angle for those who are perhaps looking for a non-conventional, more entrepreneurial position."
Anything commercial and clinical can’t do, Medical Affairs can do better
Medical Affairs is the department that can put all these pieces together. Medical Affairs can provide guidance when creating a complete patient journey map, beginning with desired outcomes, the needs and expectations about the quality of healthcare received and the result of that care.
One of the most effective ways the industry will be able to track the whole patient lifecycle is use real-world evidence (RWE). This is where patient-outcome data is gathered outside of randomised controlled trials. The 21st Century Cure Act will increase the demand for RWE, but according ZS Associates, only 47% of respondents in a recent survey say that they have a plan to support RWE and also no clear evidence of who would lead that support.
This is a huge opportunity for organisations to rise to the challenge and become leaders as RWE dominates product lifecycles, with medical affairs teams being the owners of how RWE is collected and deployed.
What Medical Affairs need now more than ever are strategic partners to complement extended roles and responsibilities within the department. All indications are pointing to a fundamental and long-term shift in drug development and commercialisation. Pharma manufacturers must evolve to the new world order intelligently, where Medical Affairs will be the protagonist of the new chapter of Pharmaceuticals. There is a new trailblazer setting the course for the pharma industry as it sets course through an uncharted healthcare landscape.
How We Can Help
i-Pharm Consulting are very well placed to assist on all your Medical Affairs requirements. We have a dedicated team of consultants who are experts in recruiting at all levels from Medical Science Liaison to Senior Medical Director.
We are seeing an increased amount of Medical Affairs vacancies as companies move to ensure their drugs are the most effective on the market. There is increased demand for Medical Science Liaisons to have either a pharmacist or medical background as pharmaceuticals must send the message to the market that the patient is at the heart of everything they do.
As we enter the digital era, we are seeing several health-tech companies emerge who are also looking to hire Medical Affairs professionals – this offers a new angle for those who are perhaps looking for a non-conventional, more entrepreneurial position. We work with companies across the spectrum and adapt to the requirements of both our candidates and clients.