At the end of this series of podcasts, the participant should be able to:
- Discuss the functions and activities of key internal partners
- Identify potential areas for compliant collaboration by MSLs with key internal partners
MODERATOR: Kathryn Gann, PhD
INTERVIEWER: Donna Holder, PharmD
SPEAKER: Mary Beth DeYoung, PhD
Following is an automated transcription provided by otter.ai. Please excuse inaccuracies.
Kathryn Gann 00:00
Welcome to the Medical Affairs Professional Society Field Medical Focus Area Working Group’s podcast series, entitled “Field Medical Stakeholders: Partnering for Today and Tomorrow.” In this seventh podcast, we will discuss medical publications. I’m Kathryn Gan and I’ll be the moderator for this podcast. I serve as a member of the field medical focus area working group, and I’m currently an independent consultant in Medical Affairs. Having spent my 30 year career as an MSL and MSL manager and an MSL trainer. Our legal disclaimer is as follows. The views expressed in this recording are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect on the opinions of maps, or the companies with which they are affiliated. This presentation is for informational purposes only, and is not intended as legal or regulatory advice. We encourage you to engage in conversations about partnering with field medical stakeholders with other maps members by the community portal on the maps website. Simply log in with the email address and password associated with your maps account and click on the discussion tab. Then scroll down to field medical to post a question or review previous postings. The objectives for this series of podcasts are that at the end of this series, the participant will be able to one, discuss the functions and activities of key internal stakeholders and to identify potential areas for compliant collaboration by MSL with those key internal stakeholders. I’d like to thank today’s panelists for sharing their subject matter expertise with the maps membership. speaking today are Donna Holder, senior director, global MSL excellence oncology global Medical Affairs at Daiichi, Sankyo. And Donna will be our interviewer. And Mary Beth DeYoung, publications lead at AstraZeneca. Mary Beth will be our interviewee. Donna, as I turn this over to you, could you please briefly provide some information about your current position? How long an industry background prior to industry?
Donna Holder 02:08
No problem. It’s a pleasure to be the interviewer for this podcast. And in terms of my background, I have a PharmD and I’ve been in the industry for close to 30 years. And the majority of my time has been in Medical Affairs at AstraZeneca, Merck and now at Daiichi Sankyo. I spent a considerable amount of time in field medical roles as an MSL and various levels of management. And now as a global MSL excellence lead. I also should point out that I’m a co lead for the field medical focus area Working Group at maps with Ralph rowers. So what we’ll do is I’ll turn it over to Mary Beth, I’ll ask her first. Before we jump into the interview, Mary Beth, can you take a few moments to share with us your educational background and career to date?
Mary Beth DeYoung 02:59
I thank you, Donna and Kathy, like many publication leads, I have a PhD in basic science, which in my case is biochemistry and biophysics. I worked as an academic bench scientist for many years before I transitioned to work as a medical writer for CIO about 20 years ago. 12 years ago, I was hired as an Associate Director of publications for Amylin pharmaceuticals. And then after Amazon was acquired by an alliance of Bristol Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca. I worked for Bristol Myers Squibb for a year. And then I moved to AstraZeneca for the last six years. And I’m very happy to be here and speaking with you today.
Donna Holder 03:37
Great. Well, why don’t we start out first by understanding your function. So can you tell us what exactly is medical publications, and maybe describe the scope of the group’s responsibilities. And also, I think it would be also helpful to understand where they fit in the organization.
Mary Beth DeYoung 03:58
Thank you, Donna. Medical publications is basically oriented at producing all of the Congress materials and the peer reviewed publications for a specific drug. So generally, I’m a drug lead as possible that the publication’s lead may be kind of therapeutic area lead covering, you know, like cardiovascular or oncology or so on. But the, for each of the drugs, we have a cross functional group, it’s very matrix driven, where we work closely with clinical development. The publication team is really developing the literature base for a drug. It’s very satisfying, you know, to go back years later and do like a PubMed search and see all the different topics that we’ve covered. But we publish papers on the mechanism of action studies from phase one to phase four observational data on the disease, state and review articles.
Donna Holder 05:00
How would you tell us then specifically what your role is, in all of that and publications?
Mary Beth DeYoung 05:06
Sure, as the publications lead, My responsibility is first to lead the publication’s team, which again, is very cross functional, involving medical and clinical personnel also usually includes safety and statistics. And we all meet together and try to decide what really needs to be published on a given drug each year. I have a certain budget, we need to stay within that. But our questions are, you know, what, what information do physicians need to understand this drug? Once we’ve developed a plan for a given year, I hire and oversee a writing team who actually works in the publications. And then I make sure that these publications have been appropriately reviewed and approved. So because you know, once things are published, there’s no way to take it back. So we have to be very, very careful upfront. I’m also involved in working with the authors of the publications, I am involved in selecting the authors and then I work closely with them to ensure that they’re happy with the journal choices. And with the final paper, we don’t ever want any of our authors to feel unhappy with the final product. In a nutshell, my job is to bring together a group of total strangers to work together on manuscripts and find compromises until everyone agrees on every word of the final version. And I hope that explains to the msos listening why sometimes this takes takes a long time to get things published for you.
Donna Holder 06:34
It does. And in your answer, it clarifies for me that and I want to make sure I have this right that in publications, you don’t actually do the medical writings that correct. It sounds like you are more facilitating partnering working with authors.
Mary Beth DeYoung 06:50
That’s correct. I do review every publication multiple times at each draft. And I look for consistency, because it was very important that we don’t have any of our publications contradicting any others. So I actually have a unique role in that way, because very few people have time to read everything that we put out. But I don’t write myself, although having a background in writing, you know, many PhDs having written a thesis and written papers already, where we start out as medical writers, and then when you understand what the writers are doing, it really helps you to lead the team.
Donna Holder 07:28
So next, I’ll ask you, if I know you’re familiar with the MSL role, but maybe what can you tell me about your experiences with MSL? And how can field medical partner with medical publications?
Mary Beth DeYoung 07:43
Yeah, um, you know, I wasn’t really very familiar with the MSL role when I started in industry at the CR row. And I was first became aware and was introduced to MSLs when I really needed to reach out and connect with some authors. We had a situation where the authors were just letting the publication sit on their desks. And everyone was saying, Where were they and, you know, the people just dropped off the field, you know, dropped off the face of the earth. So I found out who the correct MSL was, and I was so pleased to meet somebody who knew the author and had a good relationship with the author, and then could find out for us what’s going on. You know, in some cases that turned out the author was in an accident, or was on another was on leave. And one time, it turned out that the person just really didn’t like the paper wanted a complete rewrite. Or sometimes they’ll say, Hey, could you just call me on the phone, I’d really rather do that. Because, you know, for really good collaboration, we want to accommodate what the author wants to do, but we don’t always know what that is. So it’s really great to be able to reach out to the MSL visits, and you know, get that information from them. So the information from the MSL tells us what’s really going on and helps us move to the next stuff. Sometimes we’ve also had crises where we were doing an encore, you know, repeating a presentation, sometimes in a remote region like South America, and the doctor would say that they couldn’t show up to present. And the msls are always so knowledgeable in the field, you know, in the area, so that they’ve gotten us out of some tough spots. The MSLs know people and they can either find someone to present that data or they will go and present it themselves, but it’s just great to have them as colleagues.
Donna Holder 09:34
Yeah, makes sense. Again, because obviously MSLs they have such great relationships and networks. And so to be able to partner with publications, there’s, as you described, some different ways that that can be very beneficial. How else can MSL assist the publication’s lead?
Mary Beth DeYoung 09:53
So I’ve reached out to msls for all sorts of reasons. I often ask them for information on doctors that we’re considering to have as an author, the MSL is can tell me detail that I can’t find out any other way. They know who has intellectual curiosity and creativity, who’s a great communicator, and who can be dependent on what to do what he promises. When I’m asked to find a rising star to be an author, I always reach out to the MSL because they can tell who’s going to have that great future ahead. Furthermore, MSL being in the real world know the information, the doctors need to be comfortable with a drug. Sometimes those of us in the home office may think a certain benefit of a drug is very important. But then we learn that the practicing physicians and patients really see it differently. Alternatively, I may show them some data that I don’t think is very interesting, and they’ll be intensely interested. So we don’t always know how people will actually react to what we’re doing. I count on msls to bring back insights and what the doctors are thinking and the information on what the doctors need. I’m always impressed by how much physicians care about their patients. And I really respect it when I get the feedback that they want to see data specifically in elderly patients, or in patients with certain racial background before treating those patients with a new drug. I’m in a position where if we have that question, we can request that data and turn it into a peer reviewed manuscript. I’ve also heard from MSLs that physicians may have misunderstandings, which are sometimes spread by competitors. We once wrote a paper about a low incidence of skin reactions, which was essentially a negative result, because there was a strong rumor that a medication caused huge rashes. So generally, the MSL insights are gathered by the medical information group that transmit them to me. But since I now have more than 20 years of experience, I meet with representatives of our MSL teams quarterly to receive their feedback directly. The MSLs examine our papers, presentations and data very closely, and their viewpoints help us to improve our communications.
Donna Holder 12:05
Wow, Marybeth, it sounds like in your career and in publications, you’ve had numerous opportunities to partner with msls and, and really leverage again, their networks, their knowledge, as well as the their ability to bring in insights. Are there any specific best practices that you can share?
Mary Beth DeYoung 12:28
Yeah, I would really ask msls to carefully gather their insights, which I consider their real world data on what physicians are thinking about a drug, so that those of us back at the home office have a good picture of the population. I would also ask that you reach out to your manager if you have a publications idea or one of your physicians has an idea. Your manager can then determine the publications pathway to the publication sleeve for that specific drug in your company. If you’re in a small company, you may be able to contact the publications directly. Publications lead directly. But in larger companies, the medical information group may gather the information quantitated and pass it on. It’s also good practice to have someone represent the MSL on the publication teams. And that person who’s usually for medical information or Medical Affairs should receive ideas or feedback from your team as a whole to start. That way, if we are very excited about an idea, and it starts to get onto the plan, we can reach out directly to you later, you know through the networks. So having good clear communication pathways is really helpful.
Donna Holder 13:41
Thanks Mary Beth for all the great examples very helpful. A quick question about the publication’s team is your sense that your colleagues other publications leads that they are also aware of the MSL role or are you unique in this way or do publications functions generally work with MSL?
Mary Beth DeYoung 14:04
Do you know, my impression is that it’s something you kind of learn over time you know, when you’re starting as a publication Lee particularly coming from academia, you may not really understand the role of of, of the MSL and I’ve been encouraged you know, by Medical Affairs leads and other colleagues and then again by positive experiences, you know, when I Kathy Gan and I work together, and she would be very clear about what she and her team did and then we kind of developed together what could be done to help. So I really think that you know, some some publications minute leads may not be as aware, but that may be something else that the MSL is can do to help with the publications function.
Donna Holder 14:47
Great suggestion Marybeth. You’ve talked about successes in working with MSL teams. Are there any areas of caution for MSL to keep in mind when working with the publication’s team? Any don’ts?
Mary Beth DeYoung 15:02
The main area of caution I have is the same caution that you have when talking to a doctor about being an investigator or applying for a grant that you don’t want to over promise. If a doctor thinks that an MSL has said that they could be an author on a paper, and then we can’t accommodate them, it could create her feelings. So we definitely want you to be cautious take in the information, pass it back to us. But again, just kind of work as closely with us as you can to make sure that we’re all aligned.
Donna Holder 15:33
Great guidance, Marybeth, completely makes sense. So what advice do you have for those in Medical Affairs that don’t currently have a relationship with their publications function? What is the best way to go about making a connection and building a relationship with them?
Mary Beth DeYoung 15:53
Well, what I would suggest is talking to your manager and requesting that the publication’s lead calm and present, a Congress or publications plan to your MSL team. Speaking for myself, I’m always happy that people are interested in what our team is doing. And you know, very happy to make that connection. When you meet the lead, it would help be helpful, you can open the dialog about talking about the ways that you might be able to help with publications, kind of based on what we’ve discussed today. You can help by contacting authors with your knowledge of potential authors and positions that you work with. You can communicate, you know, direct insights from your own experience talking to the doctors. And then you can also provide us with your feedback. Since you look at our presentations and publications. Please let us know what you think and help us to improve because we really want to work together as a team on this to help educate the physicians. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share this, Donna.
Donna Holder 16:55
Oh, you’re welcome. You know, it was very insightful to hear your very specific examples. I have seen over my years in leading field medical great partnerships with publications. So I hope this was helpful for those MSLs that are listening. And I’ll turn it back over now to Kathy and thank you for the opportunity to partner with Mary Beth and learn more from her about her experiences with msls.
Kathryn Gann 17:24
Well, thank you, Donna and Mary Beth. I mean, this was really interesting. And I want to thank you both for participating today. And Mary Beth said we I remember meeting over breakfast and discussing what medic MSL did as well as what publications do or did and working out how could we work together. And I have very distinct memories of that breakfast meeting Mary Beth, where we really got to know each other and put together a working plan for the teams to work together. And I think that this talk has really also brought home the value of MSL relationships, what that brings to an organization, the value of MSL insights, which we keep hearing again and again, in these podcasts as a theme and also the strategy or the the activity that MSL should know, which is don’t over promise. And it’s always very easy to say yes, but we learn don’t over promise. So Marybeth, I really appreciate your giving us the good ways to do things, and the not so good ways to do things. This has been the seventh podcast in our series on the topic a field medical stakeholders Partnering for today and tomorrow. If you are a maps member, thank you for your support of maps. If you’re not yet a maps member and would like access to additional resources in this area, please visit the maps website to explore joining. And that website is Medical Affairs.org forward slash membership. This concludes the podcast.