How to Bridge the Medical-Commercial Divide

Posted by Sarah Jarvis on Tue, Apr 09, 2019

John Bienko co-wrote this blog post with Sarah Jarvis. 

Collaboration across field medical teams and commercial sales teams—what’s allowed and what’s not—is a big point of contention in the U.S. pharmaceutical industry today. No wonder, given the spotlight on compliance: since 2008, ZS estimates U.S. pharma companies have been charged $22 billion in fines for improper marketing alone. But there’s more to the collaboration question than just compliance. As we covered in a previous blog, several factors are driving companies to reassess their medical-commercial interaction, including changes in the overall healthcare landscape, increasing ecosystem complexity, and declining commercial sales rep access to physicians. According to ZS’s AccessMonitor™ survey, the percentage of accessible physicians reached by the majority of reps declined from 77% in 2008 to 47% in 2016. In certain specialty areas like oncology, the decline is even steeper: from nearly 77% to 23%. 


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The Evolving Role of Medical Affairs: Four Trends to Watch

Posted by Sarah Jarvis on Wed, Jan 02, 2019

Sunil John co-wrote this post with Sarah Jarvis

Over the years, pharmaceutical companies’ medical affairs organizations have continued to grow not only in size but also in scope. Now, medical affairs groups are being leveraged as key strategic partners, and they’re being tapped for everything from generating real-world evidence to engaging patient advocacy groups to HEOR research. As a result, pharma companies are increasing their investment in medical affairs organizations: ZS’s 2018 Medical Affairs Outlook Report, which surveyed more than 100 medical affairs personnel from 45-plus companies,


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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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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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