This Medical Affairs Professional Society (MAPS) podcast features medical affairs thought leaders offering insights into the Medical Affairs strategic planning process
https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/MedStrat-1-Featured.png 321 845 Medical Affairs Professional Society https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/logo-medical.png Medical Affairs Professional Society2020-10-19 06:31:452020-10-16 13:32:29PODCAST: Medical Affairs Plans — From Strategic Planning to Measuring Impact
https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/TownHall-1200x360-pxC.jpg 360 1200 Medical Affairs Professional Society https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/logo-medical.png Medical Affairs Professional Society2020-10-15 13:02:072020-10-20 11:18:29MAPS Global Town Hall: Digital Innovation in Medical Affairs and the Evolution of Field Medical During the Pandemic and Beyond
This special 75-minute MAPS Global Town Hall focuses on the challenges that are arising from the global Covid-19 pandemic and the emerging opportunity for Medical Affairs to provide strategic leadership.
https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Murali-Gopal-Featured.png 321 845 Medical Affairs Professional Society https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/logo-medical.png Medical Affairs Professional Society2020-10-15 12:05:062020-10-22 11:58:11Why Good Science is Good Business: A Conversation with Murali Gopal, MD
Murali Gopal, MD, remembers being a young clinician in the bygone era of giveaways during conference meetings when he would walk by pharma booths and pick up a water bottle or a tie or whatever they may be giving away. Would he ever wear the tie or use the water bottle? Probably not. But it cost him nothing and so why not? Now Murali compares this might-as-well approach to the biopharmaceutical industry’s traditional (and increasingly outdated) model of brand planning. As Vice President of the Global Medical Department at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, he is helping his organization evolve into a future that includes the contributions of science and business to attain the goal of innovation. Here the Medical Affairs Professional Society (MAPS) talks with Murali about the strategy he uses to guide this change – Integrated Brand Planning – which he not only credits with bridging the gap between science and business in biopharmaceutical organizations, but sees as a philosophy that has led to his personal development as a leader and decision-maker.
MAPS: Okay, you have to start by telling us how brand planning is like stocking up on conference giveaways.
Murali: Think about what happens when Medical Affairs comes over and says we can generate X, Y and Z data for an asset – if you’re a Commercial person and you’re trying to maximize the opportunity of the molecule, and have no financial downside or obligation…why wouldn’t you take all options? It’s the same mentality as conference swag: If you can get something for nothing, you do it. That may have worked well without today’s challenges. But now companies that still use this model place themselves at a disadvantage.
MAPS: You’re saying this model of saying yes to all possibilities for a new drug leads to inefficiencies?
Murali: Yes, I am saying that, and that it also leads to increased costs and the need for increased resources. At a previous position, we ended up with 7,000 different promotional materials for one molecule in one year. Some were used once and some just sat in warehouses. A handful of them would be the key materials that were used over and over. It was as if we were creating things for the sake of creating things and not focusing on what the external stakeholder may have felt was most compelling or intriguing. Another example can be that perhaps the organization may determine they need some data without fully understanding that it may take five years to conclude a particular study, or may cost, say, $3 million dollars.
MAPS: And how is Integrated Brand Planning different?
Murali: With Integrated Brand Planning, or what some organizations call the General Manager model, the GM becomes responsible for the profit and loss of a molecule. What this means is that everything becomes visible. Commercial, safety, R&D all becomes visible, because they’re all centered around some level of cost. It forces the organization to align on their priorities and to create targeted strategies.
MAPS: It sounds like you’re talking about a more integrated flow of information between science and business during brand planning?
Murali: Traditionally the separation between science and business was intentional. Many scientists felt, and some may still feel, that science and business need to be separated and if Medical Affairs or Commercial has input to science, it takes away some of the scientific credibility. I like business but I’m a scientist at heart – I want to be measured against the science we engage in, and fortunately the GM model allows us to do both so that I can continue to grow my business acumen as well.
MAPS: What do you mean?
Murali: Let’s say our end goal is innovation – we live longer today because innovation helped us learn to deal with illnesses that would have killed us in our 30s and 40s. And look at the effect of the cholesterol medicine race in the cardiovascular space, heart transplants, etc. or the vaccine industry in general. The biopharmaceutical industry has always struggled to articulate the impact of innovation on society. But combining the business impact and scientific development aspects together, we can now measure and even predict how a therapy is going to provide value, as well as, to understand its economic impact so that we can make better decisions.
MAPS: You’re saying business has a role in innovation?
Murali: Certainly. At a previous position, we hired a top scientist in their field to work with a new molecule. He had great relationships, knew the unmet need, knew what the molecule could do, but he didn’t take into account what other companies were doing, or the needs of payor organizations, or the high level of focus on pricing at that time. When we got ready to introduce the molecule, the potential price and utilization scared the payors – they said it was going to break the healthcare system and that we would need to somehow restrict who is eligible for the therapy, and if we couldn’t do that, possibly no one would get it. Our internal leader couldn’t accept these business realities and the drug was by many measures unsuccessfully launched. For me, that was a very poignant experience. The fact is, you need relationships with scientific leaders, but to run a therapeutic area, you need just as much acumen on the landscape and business side to marry with the scientific aspects to be successful.
MAPS: This sounds like a cautionary tale of science overbalancing business, but of course we have cautionary tales in which business overbalances science as well.
Murali: I believe there are companies out there increasing profitability and cost because they can, but there are also companies trying to do the right thing, and it all gets lumped together. Integrated Brand Planning creates checks and balances.
MAPS: Oh, interesting! And how is that?
Murali: It’s about collaboration at the stage of annual planning. Instead of Commercial proposing studies to R&D, or R&D proposing studies to Commercial, with Integrated Brand Planning, it’s a collaborative, open discussion from the start. Scientists don’t need to also be MBAs and Commercial doesn’t need to hold PhDs, but the dialogue helps scientists elevate their business acumen, and Commercial elevate their scientific acumen. You need the perspective of external stakeholders as well. Most companies will put the patient or a disease at the center of what they do, then you have your organization or company’s resources sitting in the next circle around this center, but there’s an external circle as well that includes: advocacy groups for that therapeutic area, politicians, KOLs in academia, clinicians, etc. This brings the awareness and impact of patient journey and access journey into the planning process.
MAPS: It sounds challenging to help organizations transition from the traditional, siloed way of doing things into this new model of collaboration. What do you do to help generate this?
Murali: Three things. First, I’m trying to educate the scientific organization this can work and not to be afraid, but rather to embrace it. Second, I’m trying to explain what good actually looks like by walking through my own process of evolution from previous experiences at other companies – maybe by seeing how it’s worked elsewhere, we can skip some of the painful learnings. Third, I try to lead by example by sitting in wherever I can as a leader for the Medical organization.
MAPS: With collaboration comes complexity…
Murali: These actions have helped me develop not just as a better leader, but as a better individual. Balancing business and science in this collaborative process of brand planning helps me to not look at things as only black and white. It affects how I approach complex challenges. Sometimes in a discussion, you find out how complex something is and it surprises you through all of the aspects that may need to be considered and planned for. That’s fun for me. How we work together to solve complex problems is fundamentally interesting to me. And when you’re constantly looking at all these variables to make decisions, you get better at it, not just with regard to business decisions, but life decisions as well. When there are things that are hard to pick between, you can use the same mentality to make a well-rounded decision. It might sound strange, but after engaging and leading in this process for so many years, I feel like I ruminate on decisions a lot less, and that I am more secure in my decision-making ability. Don’t get me wrong, it takes effort. You can go through the motions and not get anything out of it. But I dug into it. I really wanted to unpack how far we could take commercial and scientific collaboration and I think it’s facilitated my growth as a leader and attaining this level in my career and in my life.
https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Charlotte-Op-Ed-Featured.png 321 845 Guest Author https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/logo-medical.png Guest Author2020-10-13 10:31:462020-10-22 11:59:52MAPS Board Chair, Charlotte Kremer: Why The Strategic Rise of Medical Affairs Is Central to Pharma’s Future Success
It’s no secret that major forces have pushed the pharmaceutical industry to think differently about how it operates and how it can deliver greater value to society. The good news is that we’re seeing more connected, more agile and more outcomes-focused organizations arise from the disruption.
R&D teams have increasingly broken free from traditional scientific silos through increased internal collaboration and external partnerships with biotech and academia. They have embraced transformative science and technological advances and we are starting to see a new generation of medicines forged by our enhanced ability to capture, interpret and apply data.
Our engagement models have also adapted to changing stakeholder needs. More specialty products with more complex data mean that our clinical and access stakeholders are demanding deeper scientific exchanges to understand the patient impact and value to society.
What’s changed in Medical Affairs?
Like many pharma companies, the role of Medical Affairs at Astellas has transformed in recent years, from a support function to a strategic organization to internal and external stakeholders.
Today, Medical Affairs is comprised of the most important and valued capabilities in the business, playing the role of key connector between internal pharma and external stakeholders.
We are driving scientific exchange and evidence generation with an ever-expanding external stakeholder community of healthcare professionals, scientific experts, health authority bodies, payers and patients.
Our role is not just limited to knowing what these stakeholders want and need. We’re fulfilling information needs through data-generation (clinical trials and real-world data analyses), data sharing through publications, medical information and scientific exchange, pinpointing the investments and activities that will drive the biggest impact for each of these groups. The result, ensuring the safety, efficacy, value and real-world utilization of our therapies are fully understood.
As Medical Affairs integrates its wealth of external insights into a consolidated and aligned strategy to guide its own global activities, it also needs to align with Commercial and R&D colleagues. Through governance and operational excellence, Medical Affairs ensures information needs and data are shared across organizations, as and when needed, to enhance the effectiveness and impact of all respective groups.
Leading value creation in the future
As our operating environment has changed, Medical Affairs has become a more business-savvy, scientifically influential, connected and agile function. While we’re making great progress, companies like Astellas know that the disruption won’t stop.
New challenges lie ahead, such as our ability to address wider societal issues and to create value for a variety of stakeholders that is wider than ever before. Another key challenge for us will be the use of artificial intelligence to generate data from combined big data sources, such as clinical health records, real-world data and the variety of ‘omics’ data sets. This information will need to be delivered in an increasingly digitally-savvy way, for example via interactive medical information websites and other digital channels.
We also know that downward pricing pressures are unlikely to go away. We will need to demonstrate how innovations create value to a wider variety of stakeholders than ever before. So, every commercial decision will have greater consequences.
With this mind, I believe that Medical Affairs professionals must continue to build on the range of capabilities that enable them to act as orchestrators of company strategy with R&D and Commercial functions. Central to this is effective leadership. Medical Affairs leaders need to be ready to interact with the C-Suite and inform corporate strategies because it is helping companies to make smarter decisions and focus performance measures on patient-centric outcomes. And that’s value creation that makes a real difference.
Charlotte Kremer, M.D.
EVP, Head of Medical Affairs,
Astellas Pharma Inc.
https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/MedStrat-Podcast-2-Featured.png 321 845 Medical Affairs Professional Society https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/logo-medical.png Medical Affairs Professional Society2020-10-05 05:30:522020-10-01 12:53:34PODCAST: Executive Leadership Perspectives on MA Strategic Planning – Episode 2
In this second of two podcast episodes, Pete Piliero moderates a discussion on contributions Medical Affairs makes to Asset Strategic Plans and Resourcing of a Medical Affairs Plan.
https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Sumegi-Featured.png 321 845 Medical Affairs Professional Society https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/logo-medical.png Medical Affairs Professional Society2020-10-01 11:47:072020-10-22 12:07:23The Future of Medical Affairs: A Conversation with Beat Sümegi, SVP Medical, Sanofi
MAPS speaks with Beat Sümegi, SVP Medical with Sanofi, about major areas of change and the need to help Medical Affairs professionals build new skills to succeed in this world of increased responsibility and opportunity.
https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Disruption-Opportunity-Webinar-Featured.png 482 1268 Medical Affairs Professional Society https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/logo-medical.png Medical Affairs Professional Society2020-09-28 12:32:302020-09-30 15:27:03Disruption to Opportunity: The Next Digital Frontier for Medical Affairs and Healthcare with the New Normal
This Webinar features Medical Affairs and leading technology thought leaders exploring emerging trends and viewpoints on the next frontier for digital in Medical Affairs and the broader healthcare environment with the “New Normal”.
https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/MedStrat-Podcast-1-Featured.png 321 845 Medical Affairs Professional Society https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/logo-medical.png Medical Affairs Professional Society2020-09-28 06:14:562020-09-28 14:14:53PODCAST: Executive Leadership Perspectives on Medical Affairs Strategic Planning – Episode 1
Pete Piliero, MD, moderates a discussion on contributions Medical Affairs makes to Asset Strategic Plans.
https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/GTH-Evidence-Dissemination-Featured.png 642 1690 Medical Affairs Professional Society https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/logo-medical.png Medical Affairs Professional Society2020-09-23 07:44:092020-10-22 12:01:14Global Town Hall: An Opportunity for Medical Affairs Strategic Leadership During the Pandemic and Beyond
Medical Affairs thought leaders Q&A on topics including virtual congresses, digital platforms, and pre-print scientific publications.
https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Value.MA_.White_.Paper_.png 642 1690 Medical Affairs Professional Society https://medicalaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/logo-medical.png Medical Affairs Professional Society2020-08-19 19:54:022020-09-16 20:30:47Communicating the Value of Medical Affairs
Medical Affairs’ role in securing a bright future for pharma is undeniable, yet many before have struggled to bring forth concise and consistent descriptions that communicate the full range of benefits and expertise that Medical Affairs (MA) brings to the table. As a result, the wider understanding of MA’s role is not where it should be. To that end, this white paper explores the role and value of MA, backed up with commentary from industry leaders, as we define clear pillars of MA that communicate its true value. What’s more, we propose a short elevator pitch that MA professionals can use to quickly yet succinctly describe the importance of MA for every successful pharma venture in the future.