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Medical Affairs

In pharmaceutical industry, there is a field called 'Medical Affairs'. And this has been well established in western countries. The objective of this role is to support marketing team from scientific standpoint. Along with the expansion of pharmaceutical industry, this area has really expanded and made great influence on medical community.
In medical community, EBM (Evidence Based Medicine) has been a buzz word. Under the name of EBM, many guidelines has been made and those influenced on actual practices of physicians. Once a guideline was made, many physicians follow the guideline. And physicians have been eager to conduct studies to establish evidences for their practicing policy (guideline).
On the other hand, pharmaceutical company want physicians to prescribe their medicine as much as possible. Between the needs of pharmaceutical company and practicing physicians, Medical Affairs teams are supposed to connect them together. Pharmaceutical companies support practicing physician to conduct their studies by supplying study drugs or financial aids. In their supports, their company names have not been noticeable, because all studies have been conducted by practicing physicians under the name of scientific purpose. In this way, many studies have been conducted under strong interest of pharmaceutical companies, and the conclusions of the studies have been utilized in guidelines which practicing physicians follow. The problem of this scheme is that many practicing physicians aren't aware of the presence of pharmaceutical company and they tend to accept the study result without caution.
I don't think Medical Affairs is unfavorable entity, because they have supported to establish guidelines and made great contributions in clinical research. They are well mediating between practicing physicians and pharmaceutical companies.
Without big support from pharmaceutical industries, many of clinical studies couldn't be conducted. But the supports should have been more revealed and transparent. Practicing physicians should become aware that what we call EBM has been affected by the interest of pharmaceutical industry.
The situation in Japan is more complicated, I will take another chance to write about it later.


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