Medical affairs outsourcing trends and benefits 19 Dec 2022
Pharma companies are increasingly recognising the convenience and cost savings to be made from outsourcing certain functions, one among them being medical affairs.
Between 2022 and 2030, the global medical affairs outsourcing market as a whole is projected to grow at a CAGR of 12.2%, reaching over US$4.28 billion by 2030.
The medical affairs function is expanding, having influence earlier and later in the drug development process, and across the full life cycle of the product. Increasingly, medical affairs’ role extends beyond the healthcare professional and payors to the patient experience and real-world evidence.
The medical affairs function includes medical monitoring, medical writing and publishing, medical information, as well as the work of medical science liaisons (MSLs). Of these, the medical writing and publishing segment took the largest share of revenue in 2021, at 35%.
The rapid development of new pharma products means the industry is increasingly subcontracting clinical data management to specialist suppliers. In the past, there were concerns within Big Pharma that medical affairs should not be outsourced because of the proprietary nature of both research and scientific strategies. However, companies now recognise that they can maintain oversight while benefitting from the flexibility brought by external teams.
As the pipeline expands and contracts, headcount can be increased and decreased accordingly. External teams have an aptitude for the work and can be trained quickly. Their job is to focus on medical affairs, freeing the company to concentrate on other requirements in the business.
Impact of Clinical Trials
Alongside the boom in new drug discovery and medical devices is the rise in clinical trials. This necessitates a corresponding involvement from medical affairs in preparing submissions, analysing, rationalising and disseminating the results.
The global clinical trials market stood at US$53.87 billion in 2022 and is forecast to reach US$84.43 billion by 2030 (CAGR of 5.7% during the period). Therefore, the upward trend in trials will be reflected in increased demand for medical affairs capacity, both in-house and externally.
The industry’s general move towards collaborations, acquisitions and partnerships demonstrates a greater recognition of the value of outsourcing to specialists. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to do more business virtually, and, in turn, to realise that it worked. Companies can connect with the experts they need, wherever they are in the world, and are more willing to take this approach.
Outsourcing for Large and Small
It is not only Big Pharma that can profit from the outsourcing route. Newly established biotechs can also utilise the flexibility of an external medical affairs team. Outsourcing needs can be scaled and adapted as the business grows and requirements change, with different specialists brought in as required. This can be a cost-effective option, as well as allowing the smaller firm to focus on developing other aspects of the business.
Another benefit that should not be overlooked is the building of a close relationship with the external medical affairs team. As understanding of the business grows, the expertise of the consultants can be leveraged, bringing an outside perspective and new ideas, alongside the assurance that the right medical affairs support is being provided at the right time.
If you are considering outsourcing your medical affairs needs, please get in touch with us at PharmaMedic Consultancy for an initial chat about how our agile team can help you. Our experts would be pleased to work with you.