What is the Future of Medical Affairs in the UK Pharmaceutical Industry?

I find it intriguing the differing opinion that exists within the market with regard to the medical affairs function as a whole, the ongoing changes that are occurring within it, along with its value and indeed future in the modern day pharmaceutical industry.

From a recent survey PiR Resourcing conducted it became clear to me that there are a number of apparent issues directly impacting upon the function. I suggest there aren’t many that would disagree that medical affairs departments are increasing becoming leaner. However, the question is, is this due to a lack of medically qualified individuals entering industry, a result of companies removing the focus from and cutting the budget to the function or a combination of all of these factors? Whatever, the answer, it is becoming increasingly obvious to me that whilst there are a number of senior medics within industry who entered into it back in the much talked about ‘glory days’, there now appears to be a hollow middle developing at middle management level which can only be worrying for the future of medical affairs.

However, it would be ignorant of me to just talk about medics in relation to medical affairs. Although controversial to some, recent years has seen an increase of non-medically qualified staff moving into the area. Whilst there are arguments as to the value that such individuals bring and reasons as to why this increase has occurred, I feel a diverse medical affairs function consisting of both medically and non-medically qualified personnel from differing but complementary backgrounds can only be beneficial.

Whilst some feel that economic pressures will lead to the medical affairs function being incorporated into larger ‘external affairs departments’, it is my belief that despite the issues facing it, the value of the function in acting as a bridge between the development and commercial organisations is crucial and therefore it has cemented its place in the future of the UK pharmaceutical Industry.

Paul Hoey, Resourcing Manager

Leave a Reply