In The Know: Which MS medical affairs teams are winning over US neurologists?

Much has been written about the growing importance of medical affairs, and of its transition from support function to strategic partner. And yet as the role of medical affairs expands, the success of engaging with treating physicians to support treatment decisions for patients remains at the heart of matters. Understanding how physicians perceive interactions with medical affairs is important for shaping the role moving forward.

In recent research, US neurologists were asked to rate their experience of medical affairs in respect of 11 multiple sclerosis (MS) therapies (see Table 1).

Table 1: Products

Brand Name Generic Name Company
Aubagio teriflunomide Sanofi
Avonex interferon beta-1a Biogen
Betaseron interferon beta-1b Bayer
Copaxone glatiramer acetate Teva
Gilenya fingolimod Novartis
Lemtrada alemtuzumab Sanofi/Genzyme
Ocrevus ocrelizumab Roche
Plegridy peginterferon beta-1a Biogen
Rebif interferon beta-1a EMD Serono
Tecfidera dimethyl fumarate Biogen
Tysabri natalizumab Biogen
Source: FirstWord, Medical Affairs Reputations (US) -- Multiple Sclerosis (2018)

Among numerous parameters examined in the study, neurologists were asked to rank overall quality of interactions with medical affairs teams at the product level. Response to this question indicates relatively low levels of physician satisfaction with medical affairs engagement, and that considerable room for improvement exists for most, if not all, surveyed brands. The results, however, do show a clear leader, with the Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) medical affairs team several ranking points ahead of the field. And the battle for second place is a close affair, with three competing brands vying for the position.

Measuring the impact of medical affairs activities and performance is of vital importance for understanding what medical affairs is doing right and where improvement is needed.  Demonstrating the value of medical affairs actions is evermore critical as it looks to take its position at the strategic table.

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