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Study: Drug Companies Allocate 43% of Medical Affairs Team Budgets to Medical Communications

Fri, 03/21/2014 - 8:08am

A recent study found that medical affairs team resources fluctuate alongside product lifecycles, with budgets largely being consumed by medical communications.

New product launches have a significant impact on medical affairs resources. Regardless of large or small company size, medical affairs departments must commit additional resources to product support well in advance of expected approval.

The study published by Cutting Edge Information, “Medical Affairs: Resource Allocation for the Global Marketplace,” discovered the first medical affairs subfunction to see workloads rise is the medical communications team, consisting of medical information and medical publications personnel. This subfunction should receive earliest consideration for resource expansion. The medical communications team is able to initiate strong product launches — from a medical perspective as well as from market access and commercial perspectives. An average of all companies surveyed shows that 43% of a medical affairs budget is dedicated to medical communications — 28% for medical information and 15% for medical publications.

The next medical affairs subteam to necessitate additional resources is medical science liaisons (MSLs). Leveraging resources to meet a changing MSL workload is essential to managing the largest medical affairs subfunction — a team that averages 18 FTEs and 28% of the total medical affairs budget.

In the years following a product launch, medical affairs teams see an uptick in medical information requests and investigator-initiated trial (IIT) proposals as physicians begin prescribing the new drug. As products approach maturity, incoming medical information requests and IIT proposals decline. This decline prompts a draw down in call center, MSL and IIT support. Once a drug loses patent protection, medical managers often elect to outsource product-related activities so that internal resources focus on newer products

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