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The Active Ingredient features expert insights and commentary from leaders of ZS Associates' global pharmaceuticals practice.

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Physicians, Payers and Patients Want Evidence, and Med Affairs Knows How to Deliver

Posted by Pratap Khedkar on Wed, Jan 16, 2019

As the pharmaceutical industry continues to stack up scientific breakthroughs, there’s a growing need for experts within pharma organizations who can articulate deep disease knowledge, link clinical results to outcomes, and demonstrate product value. As luck would have it, a small department that’s well suited to the task has steadily been building its capabilities and expanding its reach into new areas. Medical affairs, once a little-known entity, is making its mark on the industry, but if leveraged properly, its impact could be even greater.

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Topics: Pratap Khedkar, healthcare ecosystem, Sarah Jarvis, medical science liaisons, clinical evidence, collaboration, drug development and commercial, medical affairs, communicate scientific complexity

To Label or Not to Label?

Posted by Sarah Jarvis on Thu, Nov 17, 2016

Sunil John and Jon Gonzales contributed to this post.

To label or not to label? That is the question—or rather, one of the many questions that those invited to the FDA’s much anticipated public forum on off-label communication tried to come to grips with when tackling difficult questions about the topic. 

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Topics: Sarah Jarvis, FDA, off label, Sunil John, Jon Gonzales, on label, off-label communication

What’s Driving the Growth of the Oncology Field Medical?

Posted by Sarah Jarvis on Thu, Oct 22, 2015

Over the past few years, many of my medical affairs field leadership clients across all therapeutic areas have considered expanding their field-based medical teams. What struck me recently was that easily half of these clients were the oncology field medical leadership. Being ZSers, our internal medical affairs team decided to run some quick analyses to see if we could figure out what was going on. What we discovered was startling.

The rule of thumb most often cited is that for every 10 sales reps, you should have 1 medical science liaison (MSL) in field. Based on data from a few years ago, this was absolutely the case, though, of course, individual companies and teams had wide variations based on business need and their historical presence with MSLs, among other factors. But, when we analyzed PharmaForce’s 2014 data on U.S. MSL and sales rep staffing levels, we saw that the general rule of 10 to 1 didn’t hold true for oncology (see Figure 1).

Figure 1



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Topics: oncology, MSL, Sarah Jarvis, Field Sales

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