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Building Strong Cross-functional Medical Affairs Teams.

Product Code:
Publication Date:
May 2015

Could your Medical Affairs team be better integrated for more effective cross-functional working that drives performance improvement? 

Building Strong Cross-functional Medical Affairs Teams examines how numerous pharma companies are working to leverage the potential of Medical Affairs in today’s healthcare environment.

Gain insights on why cross-functional collaboration is essential in order to meet current and future challenges.   Discover how Medical Affairs teams are playing a pivotal role in reshaping pharma business models and structures. Learn from real-world case studies that depict how companies like Astellas, Baxter, Boehringer Ingelheim and Novartis are integrating the Medical Affairs function more fully to achieve better results.

Medical Affairs is now uniquely positioned to provide cross-functional teams with valuable scientific and market knowledge at every stage of the product lifecycle. How can your company best leverage the new opportunities?  

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Key Benefits

  • Understand the structure and organisation of integrated Medical Affairs teams and how this impacts operations and performance at a global level
  • Understand the diversity of functions performed by Medical Affairs teams and their role in strategic development at the global medical affairs level
  • Learn which teams Medical Affairs interact with most and how the collaborative approach is best managed through defined cross-functional teams and less formal partnerships
  • Determine the optimal point for Medical Affairs to get involved in a project, and grasp how their role changes during the lifecycle of a product
  • Gain insight into the flow of information between Medical Affairs and other teams and how this is monitored and controlled
  • Find answers to the internal challenges Medical Affairs teams face, as well as challenges posed by changes in the healthcare environment

Gain Answers to Key Questions

  • How can Medical Affairs be better integrated to become a more powerful force for business success?
  • How can Medical Affairs teams become more effective internal partners and key participants in cross-functional teams?
  • How can Medical Affairs be made part of a more holistic, and productive, approach to product lifecycle management?
  • How are optimal Medical Affairs teams structured, and how do they interact with other teams?
  • How are some of pharma’s leading players leveraging their Medical Affairs Teams to meet today’s business challenges?

Top Takeaways

Expert Contributors

  • Nine case studies of cross-functional Medical Affairs structures and operations based on the knowledge and experience of senior medical affairs professionals
  • Expert insights into the value Medical Affairs teams bring as internal partners and key participants in cross-functional teams
  • The challenges and the key drivers of change for the Medical Affairs role is identified, discussed and interpreted
  • Analysis of the critical challenges faced by Medical Affairs operating in cross-functional team environments, locally and globally
  • Insights into developing the Medical Affairs as part of a more holistic approach to product lifecycle management
Experts Interviewed
  • Head of Regional Medical Affairs
  • Vice President, US Medical Affairs
  • Associate Director, Field Medical Affairs
  • Executive Medical Director, Medical Affairs
  • Franchise Head, Medical Communications
  • Global Medical Affairs Director
  • Vice President of Medical and Scientific Affairs
  • Head of Strategic Global Medical Affairs Operations
Experts from these Companies
  • Actelion
  • Astellas Pharma
  • Baxter
  • Boehringer Ingelheim
  • Karyopharm
  • Novartis


Table of Contents

Medical affairs structure and organization

  • Case study: Medical affairs structure and organisation at Company A
    • Therapeutic areas and strategic medical operations
    • An integrated structure
  • Case study: The changing structure of medical affairs at Company B
    • Changes to the field medical teams
    • Geographic medical affairs organization
    • Franchise-based medical affairs structure
    • Cross-functional responsibilities
    • Operational support from global business services
  • Case study: Medical affairs structure and organisation at Company C
  • Case study: US medical affairs team structure and organisation at Company D
  • Case study: A vision for medical affairs in a small company

The diversity of medical affairs functions

  • Communication and education
  • Medical information
  • Engaging external medical experts
  • Health economics and outcomes research
  • Data generation and dissemination post-approval

Building strong cross-functional teams

  • Case study: Cross-functional development of an integrated strategy for each molecule
    • Medical affairs has a key role in cross-functional strategy teams
    • Medical affairs involvement on R&D project teams
  • Case study: Strategic involvement of medical affairs from proof of concept
    • Early involvement as part of a therapeutic area cross-functional team
    • Medical affairs involvement increases once clinical studies begin
    • Cross-functional team dynamics change but key members remain
    • Effective communication is vital within a cross-functional team
  • Case study: Increased participation in cross-functional teams from Phase II to Phase III
    • Strategic planning from Phase II
    • Medical affairs involvement increases from Phase III
    • The level of involvement of teams changes through the lifecycle
    • Regular interaction with sales & marketing is important
    • Sharing a physical location is helpful
  • Case study: Field medical affairs is less involved from pre-launch to Phase IV
    • The field medical team has limited involvement pre-launch
    • Cross-functional interaction is limited to three or four meetings per year
    • Field medical involvement increases from Phase IV
  • Information flow and the importance of the internal firewall

Challenges for medical affairs and the main drivers for change

  • Internal challenges in a cross-functional team environment
  • Increasingly complex external demands
    • The rising importance of payers
    • Transparency
    • Compliance
    • Better disease understanding
  • Smarter use of digital technology for data storage and communication

Key Findings

About FirstWord

FirstWord is an innovative industry intelligence leader serving over 240,000 Pharma and MedTech professionals worldwide. FirstWord offers a range of products and services designed to help your company gain a competitive edge by making key business decisions with speed and confidence.

  • FirstWord Pharma PLUS is a personalised and comprehensive intelligence service delivering up-to-the-minute pharma news, insight, analysis and expert views of importance to your company’s success.
  • FirstWord Reports deliver timely, need-to-know intelligence about your products, your competitors and your markets. Covering biosimilars, market access, medical affairs, sales & marketing, technology and therapy areas, FirstWord Reports provide expert views and intelligence on the challenges facing pharma today.

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