Medical Affairs—a third strategic pillar for the pharmaceutical enterprise

Innovation in both digital technology and the bio sciences is advancing at a furious pace, while the quantity of data generated is skyrocketing. Business models are starting to evolve both around and beyond the “product” to encompass the wider therapeutic context, while organizations seek to explain and contextualize the ever-more-complex medical science to a diverse range of stakeholders (physicians, patients, payers). Advanced analytics of patient data have become central to supporting decision making on product use and to demonstrating patient value.

The winners will be those who succeed in positioning their science—especially their ability to combine, analyze, and interpret disparate data sets—to inform their interactions with stakeholders and ultimately improve patient outcomes. This will involve real-world evidence (RWE), electronic medical records (EMR), and novel sources of data, such as genomics in combination with innovative ways of mining and interpreting that data.

Today we see an even clearer case for medical affairs taking on a more strategic leadership role in the face of current technology, economic, and regulatory trends. Significant aspects of medical affairs activity need to be updated: for instance, to rethink medical performance management to maximize the impact of medical activities. There is an overwhelming need to embrace the power of data and analytics, as well as digital-engagement techniques. A far larger and more ambitious vision for medical affairs is defined by the following:

1. Innovate evidence generation: Leading rapid-cycle integrated and comprehensive evidence generation

2. Accelerating access to treatments: Articulating clinical and economic value to make our products an option for patients who need them

3. Transform and personalize medical engagement: Upgrading physician and patient decision making around our product

4. Step up internal medical leadership: Delivering strategic medical direction to the organization

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