Last March 3rd, IFAPP Academy has co-organized jointly with Medical Affairs. Professional Society. (MAPS) and Australian Pharmaceutical medical and scientific Professionals Association (APPA), a dedicated webinar related to Professional Education, Capabilities, and Identity in Medical Affairs.
This virtual meeting of the medical affairs community investigated currently available educational opportunities with the view of developing a universally recognized base qualification that can be regionally adapted for medical affairs and medicines development professionals.
The main topics discussed were: Medicines Development Professional Identity; Core Competencies in Medical Affairs; Professional Education in Medical Affairs – the IFAPP Academy / King’s College experience; personal experience from University of New South Wales (UNSW) Alumni, and the experience of the University of Sydney with a Master of Medicine (Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Development) course.
The following quotes and summaries were retrieved from the panelists’ presentations:
Victoria Elegant, Amgen’s Vice President and Region Head of MAPS JAPAC, commented that the job requirements had changed substantially. “We’ve gone from needing to know about our therapeutic areas to actually needing to know about therapeutic areas plus needing to know about safety, about drug development, about regulatory, about access, and that’s why these courses are so critically important,” she said.
Matthew Britland, Vice President, APPA, explained to the audience: “We all know that medical affairs has exponentially grown over the last decade. It’s moved from very much a support function to a trusted strategic partner – and the skills set has also evolved significantly over the past few years. But there’s still a void in a globally recognized advanced scientific qualification or a capability framework across medical affairs, and there’s certainly no accreditation or certification that’s accepted across industry and peak bodies.”
Gustavo Kesselring, IFAPP Academy Vice President, stated: “At IFAPP Academy, our strong belief is that education and training for key professional development is the cornerstone for everything that we do in our professional life. Unfortunately, when we graduate as physicians or pharmacists or nurses, or in other areas of health science, we do not learn the science that is behind medicines development. We know the foundational knowledge of this science is unique and needed for the progression of our careers.”
“Our credo is we need a professional identity with a strong career pathway that needs to be developed (either as) medicines development or medical affairs professionals.”
Peter Stonier, Visiting Professor in Pharmaceutical Medicine, King´s College London, gave a detailed explanation about the IFAPP-King´s College London Professional Certification Program of Medical Affairs in Medicines, and its success in delivering an online competency knowledge-based course in the last 5 years to more than 400 students from 55 countries.
At the end, Lara Stallard-Taylor, Roche’s Senior Medical Manager, who completed a Masters of Pharmaceutical Medicines from UNSW, said ensuring consistent industry knowledge through education is the key. “We all find our way into medical affairs via our own path. It´s really important to have a rich pool of experience and diversity, but a foundation course like a Masters of Pharmaceutical Medicine for both aspiring and existing medical affairs professionals would provide a consistent industry knowledge base”.
Gustavo Kesselring, MD, GFMD