Medical Affairs’ Excellence: Spend Allocation & Staffing
As the Medical Affairs function continues to change, so too does the way that leaders are staffing this critical function. In today’s competitive healthcare environment, there are many pressures that are affecting the spending & staffing levels of Medical Affairs in both mature and emerging marketplaces.
According to a recent article from Forbes, big pharma is changing and companies must adjust their staffing and budget in order to keep up. The article mentioned, “As drug development costs increase, it became more important for pharmaceutical companies, specifically medical and clinical affairs functions to manage costs effectively.” Due to the critical nature of this function, our Medical Affairs Consortium sought out the best practices in spend allocation & staffing. Some of the key findings from our 1st roundtable included:
- Staffing in Mature Markets: The Mature Markets segment from our Medical Affairs study allocated 53% more of its headcount to Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs) compared to the Emerging Markets segment. This difference is likely the result of Emerging Markets being in an earlier stage of using field-based medical teams.
- Spending Increases in Thought Leader Management: In emerging markets, the budget allocation for Thought Leader Management increased by 19% in 2013 as compared to 2012. Today, 13% of total Medical Affairs spend goes to Thought Leader Management, Medical/Clinical Operations. On the other hand, we saw a 6% decrease in 2013 spend.
- Reasons for Change in Spend & Full Time Employees (FTEs): Medical Affairs Spend and FTEs are increasing overall in both the Mature Markets and Emerging Markets segments. Various reasons for the increase included:
o New product launches & geographic expansion
o Greater focus on Outcomes Research
o Increased influence of different decision makers within the healthcare system
As the healthcare environment continues to change, Medical Affairs’ leaders must reevaluate the way that they spend and invest in these critical functions. Changes in spend and staffing levels as of recently have occurred due to leaders increasing their investment in other areas, shrinking pipelines, hurdles in access to thought leaders, and a tighter regulatory environment.