Why working with an outsourced medical affairs team may provide a perfect solution 9 Mar 2020
The trend of outsourcing within the pharmaceutical industry shows no signs of slowing down. Indeed, some researchers have predicted that the CRO market alone could reach 40 billion dollars by 2022 (1). With pharma companies themselves becoming leaner, and small biotechs with fewer in-house resources taking a key role in driving innovation, the ways companies use outsourced services are continuing to evolve. In modern drug development, it is becoming increasingly common, especially for smaller biopharma to work with virtual teams for functions like medical affairs as well as for clinical research.
The evolving role of medical affairs
The role of medical affairs is instrumental in the development and commercialisation of new medicines. It is also a dynamic and expanding endeavour. A recent paper by Setia et al. ( 2) discusses this evolution and describes the further potential for value creation that medical affairs can bring to pharma. The authors note that over the last several years, the function of a medical affairs team has developed beyond its traditional support for internal commercial functions and collaboration with key opinion leaders to incorporate a wider range of activities, and towards a focus on generating and communicating medical evidence. Navigating this changing environment demands deep expertise and experience. Outsourcing medical affairs can allow organisations of all sizes to access and scale this expertise reliably, quickly, and cost-effectively. Below, we’ll explore three key benefits to organisations of outsourcing medical affairs.
Ability to scale
Whether you are an established international organisation looking to build a medical affairs team in a new geographic market, or an emerging biotech company needing to set up a medical affairs capability for your first product’s launch, outsourcing can be the ideal solution. Recruiting a permanent medical affairs team can be costly and high risk, with a host of indirect as well as direct overheads to consider. Recruitment timelines, especially in Europe, are frequently lengthy, and it is often difficult to assess what resource will be needed, when. The skills gap in the pharmaceuticals industry is also a very real concern- and so finding medical affairs staff with the right therapeutic and functional experience is not always straightforward. A virtual medical affairs solution removes headaches of recruitment and retention, allowing you to access an expert capability flexibly, responding to business needs as they arise.
Retain strategic focus within the organisation
One of the main benefits of outsourcing in any discipline, including medical affairs, is that it allows the function leaders to retain their strategic focus. Putting in place a virtual team of seasoned medical affairs experts limits distractions, and gives leaders the peace of mind that comes from knowing the day-to-day work is being delivered while retaining full oversight. The virtual solution frees up the medical and operational leaders to focus on value-adding, strategic activities that will grow the organisation’s productivity.
By externalising their medical affairs function, biopharmaceutical companies could also stand to benefit from cost savings. When calculating the costs of building and maintaining an in-house medical affairs team, you need to account for recruiting costs, training costs, IT and other overhead costs, as well as the employees’ salaries and benefits. Outsourcing is generally a more cost-effective solution and one of the key drivers of the sector’s growth. It also allows organisations greater control over their fixed costs.
PharmaMedic provides clients with an adaptable and high-quality Medical Affairs Solution based on a network of experienced and dedicated experts. Get in touch to find out how we could help.
Clearwater International Outsourced Pharma Services Report 2019.
Setia, S., Ryan, N. J., Nair, P. S., Ching, E., & Subramaniam, K. (2018). For further information visit the National Centre for Biotechnology Information.