“Third Strategic Pillar” of the pharmaceutical industry
Learn what McKinsey & Company has to say about the future of Medical Affairs, “A Vision for Medical Affairs in 2025”.
Are you ready for the future of Medical Affairs? In A vision for Medical Affairs in 2025, a new report released by McKinsey & Company, Medical Affairs is cited as the “third strategic pillar”, right along with R&D, and commercial & market access1 in the pharmaceutical industry. Essentially, Medical Affairs professionals are no longer acting as the supporting cast, they are now co-starring in the production.
As the pharmaceutical industry evolves and changes, those within it must adapt and develop the skills and competencies needed to address the emerging needs. Patients and physicians are seeking high-quality and reliable information, products, and services. Pharmaceutical companies are acknowledging the primary role that Medical Affairs Professionals play in providing this, and ultimately bridging the gap between the company and its stakeholders (physicians and patients). The need for qualified, competent, and agile Medical Affairs Professionals to fill this primary role within organizations has become apparent.
The IFAPP Academy/King’s College London, Medical Affairs in Medicines Development, Certification Program provides the training needed for Medical Affairs Professionals to not only become successful in their careers but ultimately provide a higher standard of care and service to patients and healthcare providers.
- What is your name and job title?
Epaïnète GAWA, Global Medical Expert in Sanofi Consumer Healthcare
- What do you feel is your greatest achievement?
My professional development in recent years. It’s a real opportunity to be part of the global medical team of Sanofi consumer healthcare. Indeed I have joined Sanofi at the local level by working on transversal projects, medico-marketing, pharmacovigilance, and clinical studies.
Today I have a specific medical position, with close interaction with regulatory and pharmacovigilance teams. As a partner, I give my best, and I also learn from others to face future challenges.
- What is your favorite hobby and/or activity outside of your work?
Football, scrabble, cinema, reading
- What do you enjoy most about being a Medical Affairs Professional?
As a physician, my greatest satisfaction is to contribute to the well-being of the patient through an assessment of products based on their efficacy and safety datas, and to propose a risk mitigation plan. In addition i like the medical strategy because it helps to identify the real needs of patients and to propose the appropriate actions.
- What has been the most beneficial aspect of the IFAPP Academy Program?
This program gives a broader view of the medical affairs function, and the skills required. The role of the medical affairs professional is well highlighted in all activities of the pharmaceutical industry, and this helps to better understand how we can be a key partner of other functions.
- How has your view of the medical affairs profession altered and/or improved?
I limited the medical affairs to my personal experience but this program has shown me the evolution of the profession and the added value of our role in the life of the drug. Some topics that were abstract are now concrete for me. It is a specialty that deserves to be recognized in view of the complexity of the various skills required to be a professional in medical affairs. This profession has a major role in all decisions concerning the life of the product, from the discovery of the molecule to the monitoring and innovation of the mature product. The professionals must be multi-skilled and have a critical judgment in all discussions hence the extensive knowledge provided by this program.
- Any additional comments that you would like to make about the Program?
This program is an opportunity to exchange with experts and other professionals from the pharmaceutical industry through webinars and forums. In addition to deepening our knowledge, it is a professional network that is created.
Thanks to Sanofi which is a partner of this program, and thanks to the IFAPP team for your expertise.
The below excerpt is from an article originally published on the Frontiers in Pharmacology website. To check out the full article click here.
The development of new medicines today, requires a multi-professional workforce, both in industry and the clinical research arena. Pharmaceutical physicians (PPs) and medicines development scientists (MDS) need a certain level of competence, achieved through on-the-job experience, with a postgraduate education foundation and continuous professional development programs. In order to assess the self-perception of competence, education and training needs, an on-line questionnaire based on the seven domains of competence, developed by IFAPP-PharmaTrain, was prepared and distributed among PPs and MDS members of IFAPP’s affiliated professional associations in countries with facilities for postgraduate education. The data collection was run over a fixed period of three months in Japan, Italy, Brazil, and Spain during 2017. Results indicate low but variable levels of perceived competence for the various domains as well as seniority in the job. All respondents declared a significant need for continuing professional development in all domains. These results corroborate and support the continuous efforts, put in place by IFAPP and the PharmaTrain Federation, to foster the development of accredited education and training among professionals involved in medicines development.
For some time now, the biopharmaceutical industry has been the key link between basic biomedical discovery and the emergence of novel medicines that prolong or improve life. However, the industry faces several ongoing and emerging challenges, including technical knowledge gaps, limitations in clinical testing, lowered productivity, higher development costs, increased regulatory requirements, growing payer pressures and patent expiration.
The lack of an adequately sized and appropriately trained multi-professional workforce, both in the industry and the clinical research field, is also a significant part of the problem. There is a perceived mismatch between the profiles and abilities of graduates from academic programs in healthcare professions, and the changing needs of the various health systems around the world. As a possible solution to achieving a transformative learning, an outcomes-based education, or competency-based education (CBE), has been proposed (Silva et al., 2013). Competent professionals would be able to perform their specific responsibilities effectively, such as bringing and maintaining new medicines to the marketplace. A need for competency-based education and training has been identified in the United States, Europe, and Latin America (Dubois et al., 2016).
These respective professional groups have been left with the responsibility to define the competencies needed to perform their function effectively. Competencies can be clustered in domains and can be learned through proper postgraduate education or continuing professional development (CPD) (Sonstein et al., 2014).
The International Federation of Associations of Pharmaceutical Physicians and Pharmaceutical Medicine (IFAPP)1 and the PharmaTrain Federation (PharmaTrain)2 assumed the task of producing the defined core competencies to orientate Pharmaceutical Medicine and Medicines Development as a discipline and profession. Three areas, seven domains and 57 core competencies at the cognitive level, were identified (Silva et al., 2013). The domains have been summarized in a Statement of Competence.
In addition to serving as a template for job profiles and portfolios, the domains can be used to identify general education and training needs. Based on these premises, an international survey among members of the IFAPP national member association was designed using an online questionnaire. Stakeholders were asked about their self-perception of competence and the need for education and training. The results were then assessed to identify gaps, in order to address the potential need for future development of pharmaceutical physicians and medicines development scientists.
Tatsushi Tsuda1 and
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