SOURCE: Cutting Edge Information

Cutting Edge Information

January 13, 2011 09:13 ET

Medical Affairs' Role Expands While Funding Holds Steady

Economic Rebound Has Prevented Cuts as Strategic Shift Drives Rapid Change, According to Cutting Edge Information

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwire - January 13, 2011) - Medical affairs organizations' budgets will likely remain steady or increase slightly in 2011 as life sciences companies continue to expand the function's global role, according to a new study.

Cutting Edge Information, a management consulting firm, reveals in "Medical Affairs: Effective Global Resource Allocation" that average Medical Affairs organizational budgets and staffing levels largely remained unchanged from 2008 to 2010 -- but that many observers expect accelerating investment in the near future. The benchmarking study also found that Medical Affairs was one of the few departments that, on average, did not experience budget cuts during the recession.

Strategic Changes

"We've seen medical affairs evolve into a global group over the past several years as it has separated itself from Marketing," said Jason Richardson, president of Cutting Edge Information. "While it's always been pivotal, the function is slowly taking on greater responsibilities in new and different areas, including R&D, compliance, and health economics.

"Companies support such growth and build elite medical affairs programs by maintaining or increasing resource levels."

A major driver of this steady resource support is a strong focus on relationships with thought leaders and key opinion leaders (KOLs), according to survey data from more than thirty of the largest life science companies. Among sub-teams, medical science liaisons (MSLs) remain the largest single group (30% of medical affairs personnel in 2010, compared to 32% in 2008) and receive the largest budget slice. 

Resources for Eleven Critical Subfunctions

The study breaks data into U.S., global and country-level (affiliate) groups, including budget and staffing data for 2009, 2010 and 2011. Researchers also segmented the findings for 11 critical subfunctions -- ranging from MSL Management to Investigator-Initiated Trials to Medical Information. 

Medical Affairs: Effective Global Resource Allocation ( is designed to help all biopharmaceutical companies, regardless of size or geography, distribute medical resources efficiently while providing top-tier support for all stakeholders. The report's benchmarks and strategies will enable decision-makers to:

  • Build global, US and affiliate medical budgets
  • Structure Medical Affairs groups more efficiently
  • Balance staffing and spending demands across different sub-functions
  • Understand trends in medical function outsourcing

For the latest medical affairs management research, contact Elio Evangelista at +1 919-403-6583.

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