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Field-based Medical Affairs: facilitating patient access to new therapies


Peter Rutherford
Head of Integrated Market Access, Europe and Emerging Markets
United Kingdom


This article provides a detailed overview of the MSL function and discusses how the MSL can play an important role spanning pre-launch and launch, through to providing support for an existing product line.  Equipped with academic credentials and experience, the MSL can help demonstrate value, ensure compliance and reduce time to patient access – whether through establishing a bridge between pharma companies and HCPs; acting as a trusted advisory to HCPs on scientific matters, providing objective and balanced product information, education and training, or educating and supporting internal stakeholders. In addition, they provide unique opportunities to gather key insights into the Medical Affairs organisation within pharma companies to guide clinical strategies and new developments.
MSL deployment is not, however, an insignificant investment; so this article also illustrates a number of measurement indicators which can provide insight into engagement levels, and determine whether the resource is delivering the required results and return.

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Healthcare systems across the world are evolving, as the need to ensure improved patient outcomes with increased quality of care but at a lower cost becomes paramount. Payers are increasingly demanding proof of value from new medicines, regulatory authorities are raising the bar around compliance and many stakeholders are rightly requiring more evidence of patient impact and benefit. Meanwhile Medical Affairs teams are having to adapt to the complexity involved in building relationships and communicating across multiple stakeholders. For today’s drug developers the emphasis has shifted from time to market to time to patient access.

Furthermore, as researchers learn more about the pathways and mechanisms behind a disease, treatments are becoming better personalised to patients. These include biologic drugs that target specific receptors, or immune-oncology or other therapies personalised to an individual’s biomarker or genetic pr ... ...