The Medical Affairs function serves as the bridge between the industry and its stakeholders via the medical community and is uniquely tasked with managing external relationships with the scientific community as well as with patient groups, authorities and beyond.
In Medical Affairs you will work within a matrix environment, effectively linking science and commercial activity.
One of the first steps into Medical Affairs is usually in a junior Medical Information role. Medical Information involves handling enquiries around company products, both externally from healthcare professionals and patients and internally, for example from sales and marketing teams and providing an accurate response.
Some enquiries are straightforward and can be answered with a standard response from company product information but as you get more experienced in Medical Information you will handle more complex enquiries that involve literature searching and preparing responses.
Some more Senior Medical Information roles involve copy approval which is the review process for promotional and non-promotional materials that are produced by the company. The materials are checked against the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) code of practice as they have to be compliant to this code in the UK –“The detailed provisions in the Code aim to ensure that pharmaceutical companies operate in a responsible, ethical and professional manner.“ (www.pmcpa.org.uk).
Scientific Advisors are also responsible for copy approval as well as providing support to brand/marketing teams with scientific information and code compliance for marketing materials, conferences and other events. They are also involved in building relationships with Key Opinion Leaders in a specialist therapeutic area to build or maintain awareness of the products and brands.
Medical Science Liaisons have a very similar role to Scientific Advisors however they are field based in a designated territory where they focus on building relationships with KOLs. In addition they support sales and marketing teams, ensure compliance to the ABPI, co-ordinate investigator initiated trials and run medical events such as advisory boards. MSLs can also support clinical trial functions as part of the role.
Medical Affairs is a crucial function in any pharmaceutical company and there a variety of roles and progression pathways to build your career. If you are looking to move into this area the minimum requirements are usually a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy or Life sciences. It is essential to have a good ability to interpret scientific information in both written and verbal forms and be able to communicate this to customers at all levels.
Author: Julia Day
Tel: 01246 457719