Medical Affairs USA 2018

Apr 10, 2018 - Apr 11, 2018, Philadelphia

eyeforpharma Medical Affairs USA will bring together global medical leaders to help position this department as a business critical partner. The role of Medical Affairs is changing, and the insights generated at this summit will help shape decisions across your entire organization.

Could Data-Driven Chat Win HCPs' Hearts?

Evidence-based interactions have the potential to forge strong new ties with one of pharma's most crucial touchpoints: the HCP



Five letters. One syllable. For such a fleeting utterance, trust has dizzyingly profound connotations. Our society is predicated on its principles, enabling law and order to peaceably govern. In our lives, it is the glue that holds our friendships and relationships together.

Trust is also brittle. Breaking it can have far-reaching ramifications. The pharma industry knows this all too well. Marred by scandals, the industry has had to rebuild its reputation, brick by brick. Fortunately, strides in medicine and a concerted push towards patient-centricity has helped to dispel some of the distrust, but there is still a long way to go.  

This is where data comes in. Pharma’s advances in evidence-gathering have the potential to cement trust with one of its most crucial touchpoints: the Health Care Professional (HCP).

How? “By providing HCPs with research-based information and data relevant to the treatment decision-making process,” says David Montgomery, Vice President, Global Science Exchange, Pfizer Oncology.

Medical is well placed to optimise these evidence-based interactions, says Sotirios Stergiopoulos, Chief Medical Officer, SVP and Head of Global Medical Affairs, Ipsen. Medical’s involvement in all parts of the value-chain, its ability to generate and analyse data, and to bring KOLs closer to the organisation, gives them both the authority and insight to lead these conversations, he says. 

Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs) will be critical in this space, says Stergiopoulos. “MSLs are very valuable in the sense that they are at the frontline, they are the ones that instantly get the conversation going and challenge the status quo. The ability to get into the granularity of data allows for academic or other non-industry colleagues to say, ‘Okay, these guys are not just pushing a drug, they are thinking about the patient population that fits best with this sort of treatment’”.

Above and beyond
To truly build trust, MSLs must go beyond pitching the hard science, says Montgomery. “It is not merely about the raw science. It’s about the value proposition for the patient; what the impact for the patient is. That conversation requires us to be fluent in more languages than just the traditional scientific one that we've historically used.”

The ability to contextualise data calls for seasoned MSLs. “The biggest challenge we face is having the right people having the discussions, which is key because you don't want to bring in someone that's a glorified salesperson. You want somebody that is going to have that conversation and that's  why many KOLs to this day will prefer to have the conversation in a peer to peer manner than having an MSL that knows a couple of things and can spit out some data but doesn't have the finesse to know how to analyse,” says Stergiopoulos.           

This level of analysis will require a gear change, says Montgomery. With a greater breadth of knowledge about drug treatments and their impact in specific patient populations, MSLs can bring more to the conversation, he says.   

Stergiopoulos shares this sentiment. Sales people are trained to be reactionary. A more proactive model will “drive discussions ina much more scientific manner, where evidence-based interactions are utilised to their fullest effect,” he says.

The call for more analytical, data driven interactions has been an organic evolution, says Stergiopoulos. It stems from the fact that therapies have been around long enough to demand more analysis, he says. He cites immunotherapies as an example of this evolution.

“Immunotherapies have been around for a long time, now comes the challenge of how to use them. Do we use them with other therapies? Do we use a cytostatic beforehand to be able to change the immune system? That sort of discussion has now become much more involved, much more analytical, and it is not just black and white.

“We are very much in the experimental phase in science and figuring out how to do it right, which I think is very important to take into consideration when discussing today with physicians,” he says.

It takes two to tango
Building trust through evidence-based discussions will require buy-in from the HCP. This is complicated by the fact that pharma companies will always be perceived as having a vested interest in encouraging the use of their drugs, says Montgomery.

“The question is how do you present different kinds of evidence for a medicine in a science-based and objective way that allows clinicians to see differentiation?

“Companies who can assimilate the cost effectiveness, the quality of life and the patient experience data with more traditional clinical outcomes, in a way that allows clinicians to evaluate the totality of the value of that medicine to the patient, will have an advantage compared to those who can't do that. Clinicians will appreciate a value assessment that they understand and can communicate.”

Having detailed value conversations will be a decisive step in the right direction for building trust, says Montgomery.

He believes it is high time pharmaceutical companies move to a more nuanced, evidence-based approach to HCP interactions. Attempts to build a more collaborative partnership with HCPs should be championed. 

Stergiopoulos will be joining a line-up of keynote speakers at the eyeforpharma Medical Affairs USA event in April   

   

 


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Medical Affairs USA 2018

Apr 10, 2018 - Apr 11, 2018, Philadelphia

eyeforpharma Medical Affairs USA will bring together global medical leaders to help position this department as a business critical partner. The role of Medical Affairs is changing, and the insights generated at this summit will help shape decisions across your entire organization.

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