Pharma Shuffles Thought Leaders
Medical affairs departments have increasingly moved from marketing over the past six years. More than two-thirds of pharma companies have centralized medical affairs (MA), and roughly half align the function by therapeutic area.
These are a few key findings from a new report released last week by Cutting Edge Information. The study tracks how pharma has repositioned MA since 2002 and how money is allocated within the department.
The study was based on interviews with 14 pharma companies and focused on seven functions: thought leader development, MSL programs, publications. information, education, investigator-initiated trials, and grants.
Of the departments surveyed, 14 percent now report to a stand-alone MA function, a division that didn't even exist in most companies in 2002, according to Cutting Edge.
"The medical affairs function has been elevated within pharmaceutical organizations because of compliance reasons, such as the OIG guidelines, and the restructuring of departments stemming from new regulations," says Amanda Zuniga, senior research analyst at Cutting Edge. "KOLs and thought leaders are branching out from marketing and becoming much more focused than previously."
"This is being done to ensure that medical affairs is focused more on the science of the pharma business, rather than risking MSLs having marketing influence," Zuniga said. "It gives them the opportunity to not be tied to marketing and to focus on what the clinical data is really saying."
Look at the same functions in terms of staffing, and MSL programs receive 31 percent of full-time equivalents, 11 percentage points more than thought leaders. Med-ed employees accounted for only 9 percent of total staffing.
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