Navigating The New Landscape

As pharma finds new ways to define value, the chief medical officer has never been busier. But what challenges do they face?



Strides made in real-world data and patient-centricity are ushering in a new age for pharma. In pursuit of the possibilities presented by these innovations, pharma companies are overhauling internal processes across the board, making critical decisions that will define their role in this new paradigm.  

In this state of constant flux, challenges will come thick and fast. To avoid the potential pitfalls, the role of the chief medical officer must remain key to the operation and be developed further where necessary.   

The five pillars that should define the chief medical officer’s role in this new paradigm are “patient engagement, patient safety and decision making, data integrity and ethical practice,” says Dr. Patrick Delavault, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Ipsen.

Ensuring Patient Safety means i) ensuring the performance and compliance of the company’s global pharmacovigilance (PV) system and ii) developing a proactive integrated safety science approach to support benefit/risk decision making.

Besides ensuring the paramount objective of Patient Safety, the CMO should play a critical role in ensuring proper communication about scientific data and avoiding misrepresentation of scientific data. The increasing emphasis on data is a key area of attention for the CMO. It underscores the importance of making sure the CMO uses language that accurately matches the data that he/she is describing. Because data findings are having a direct impact on patient outcomes and informing executive decisions, consistency and clarity is more essential than ever before, Delavault says. “Spin in scientific reports can also disseminate in press releases,” he cautions.

One other critical aspect of the CMO duties is dealing with the patient focus and the inherent ethical dimension of business and its context for decision making. “The Hippocratic corpus states that the mission of the physician is about ‘serving the highest interests of my Patients through the practice of my science and my art’.  CMOs should fully embrace this mission” says Delavault.

“In an increasingly complex environment, it is important for the CMO to develop as a ‘phronetic leader’ to develop experiential learning and situational judgement capabilities to deal effectively in a broad wealth of complex situations with significant implications at stake” he adds.

The key to circumventing this problem requires embedding a looser, more flexible framework within your organisation, giving the CMO breathing space to step back and consider alternative ideas and approaches, says Delavault. It also helps CMO’s to identify and avert potential risks, he adds.

Delavault borrows insights from consulting firm Mckinsey and Company to point to another key area where the CMO needs to adapt and adjust: patient-engagement. “CMO’s naturally provide a doctor’s perspective but they must make additional efforts to see through the patient’s eyes.”

For Delavault, the answer lies in a slight restructuring of internal operations. “CMO's should be involved in the definition and implementation of the patient-engagement value model and involved in the definition of the so-called ‘patient-centric’ strategies which are aimed at providing better patient outcomes.”

What progress has Ipsen made in pursuit of this goal? Delavault collaborated with Ipsen’s Chief Patient Affairs Officer Isabelle Bocher-Pianka and consulted with a broad range of leaders in the organisation to devise a “clear strategic direction to change the culture,” he says.

“What we have created is a strategy, created the operational framework to guide the teams into dialogue with patient organisations and patients throughout the entire value chain.”

Patrick Delavault spoke at the eyeforpharma Medical Affairs Europe 2017 event. Check out the line-up of key-note speakers billed for our upcoming Medical Affairs Europe 2018 event. 

 

  

 

 

 

 


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