How is Medical Affairs Proving its Value?
Life sciences is doubling down on its investment in medical affairs, with mid-sized companies spending an average of $10 million on their global MSL teams – and as much as $48 million for top biopharma.1 However, despite this increasing stature, the industry lacks an effective means to measure the impact of medical’s core competency – strategic stakeholder engagement – against business objectives. Beyond direct thought leader surveys – currently leveraged by 58% of life sciences companies, according to industry research – companies are struggling to define what success really means when it comes to medical affairs.2
This gap creates a disconnect between the crucially important work medical affairs does – providing deep scientific expertise to improve patient outcomes – and the actionable insights it is able to glean from these engagements. Guidance from compliance organizations strictly firewalling the commercial and medical aspects of life sciences has made companies cautious about how they approach measuring the impact of medical’s activities. Moreover, assessing the often-intangible aspects of scientific relationships is not straightforward. Reach, frequency, and other measurements handed down from commercial teams barely scratch the surface of medical affairs’ relationships, failing to capture their strength and depth.
Of all the engagements that healthcare decision makers can have with life sciences, these peer-to-peer interactions with medical are the most unique, and arguably the most valuable. They have the ability to produce a staggering amount of information on healthcare data points that life sciences companies often try to piece together from multiple of sources. By aligning on qualitative KPIs to complement their existing work, and bringing these metrics together with an accurate view of the healthcare landscape, medical affairs would demonstrate true organizational impact to help companies achieve long-term objectives. These include measures linked to enhanced development and commercialization timing, improved patient retention, and the evolving delivery of accurate and trusted data. Today, industry leaders are evolving strategies to apply new metrics that fully leverage the value of medical’s work, connecting medical engagements to more impactful measures.
In a recent report3, Sanofi CMO, Dr. Ameet Nathwani describes this growing trend. “We have to become an agile evidence generating engine,” says
Nathwani. “We have to develop the data scientifically, put the data into context for a healthcare system, and, in particular, be able to describe the value in terms of the benefit to patients. All this has become a fundamental skill.”
Our upcoming webinar, “Leveraging Medical Insights for Better Healthcare Engagement,” outlines a new approach for using strategic medical insights to gain deep visibility into individual stakeholders and better understand the full network of critical decision makers within a therapeutic area. Join me and Sital Kotecha to gain in-depth best practices on increasing organizational share of voice in healthcare, and get your stakeholder engagement questions answered. Please drop by—I look forward to hearing from you on how your medical team is generating insight today.
Robert Groebel, Vice President, Global Medical Strategy – Veeva Systems