Beauty pageants. - Impatient Health
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Beauty pageants.

January 7, 2022

Paul Simms

Beauty pageants. They have a reputation for parading luscious looks, but rarely feature the brains behind the plastic smiles.

In pharma we do it the other way around – we want the brains to shine outwardly – but perhaps we’re just as superficial.

I’m talking about the rise of medical affairs. We’ve seen a trend throughout the past 18 months for more mixed medical and commercial teams, elevating medical to a far higher status. But whilst we see MSLs more and more on the front lines, the actual management of the combined teams is increasingly run by commercial leaders.

That’s right.

Commercial leaders are calling medical’s shots, directing them according to a sales agenda. It’s a little ironic that we’re despatching learned medical personnel in a quest for authenticity, education, and scientific conversation, yet we’re asking them to hit commercial targets and meet strict quotas. A thinly veiled idea that could backfire.

Given that medical staff are not supposed to be profit-making, is this acceptable or are we heading for unacceptably blurred lines?

Is this a symptom of our failure to install medical affairs leadership at the board level?

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