Medical Affairs Improving & Re-inventing Itself For Global Success


The role of Medical Affairs continues to evolve and grow in importance in the pharmaceutical industry. Intensified regulatory scrutiny, increasing competition, and growing price pressures are all hurdles that leaders must overcome. As organizations seek to grow customer loyalty and maximize the full potential of their marketed products, strong Medical Affairs departments are increasingly growing into extremely valuable assets to a company.

As external environments and business priorities shift, top Medical Affairs executives must also constantly re-invent themselves. Leaders must learn to look inward as well as outward at industry standards to identify key strengths & weaknesses that call for improvement. Understanding Medical Affairs in its totality can help leaders when creating a clear roadmap for world-class excellence.

It is important for leaders to keep improvement areas on their minds at all times. Re-examining & re-aligning functional needs can be the key to global success. Key areas to improve in, identified in Best Practices, LLC benchmarking research, included:

  • Improve in: Processes to Enhance Operational Efficiency & Effectiveness: Improving communication and coordination between key executives, (e.g. medical directors/team leaders and sub-functional heads) can significantly increase effectiveness. Improving in key processes enables medical teams to identify potential issues and conflicts earlier, as well ensures that marketing objectives and strategies are better coordinated with brand objectives.
  • Improve in: Hiring, Training & Development: Putting the right people in the right positions is critical. Having an appropriate organizational structure is powerful, but it is still through the people that the jobs get done.
  • Improve in: Knowledge of Appropriate Levels of Outsourcing, Staffing & Spending: This will clearly change from organization to organization. Despite this, all benchmarked organizations outsource part of their Medical Affairs activities at varying degrees. There is no one right answer for the appropriate levels of outsourcing, staffing & spending. However, our research found that team-based and rigorous fact-finding and cost-benefit analyses are absolutely crucial for making informed decisions.

Although these functions are constantly faced with countless challenges and hurdles, analyzing industry standards can propel an effective organization into a top-performing, industry leader. As the pressure for high-performing Medical Affairs departments increases, leaders must find ways to easily modify their operations to achieve Medical Affairs excellence.

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