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Medical Affairs now and before

I started working as an Expert Physician in the pharmaceutical industry approximately 15 years ago. At that time, it was common practice that even in large pharmaceutical companies, medical departments mainly consisted of people working with drug safety, regulatory affairs and clinical trials. The so-called Medical Affairs operations, as they are understood today, were almost unfamiliar or very rare in most pharmaceutical companies operating in Finland. When I first started working at a medical department, I was responsible for the medical support in almost all therapeutic areas of the company.

Times have changed, for several reasons. One of the most important reasons is that new medicines under development have ever more complex mechanisms of action, and indications for increasingly limited patient groups. This creates an automatic information need for both the company and health care professionals, and the need is sought to be addressed with scientific experts, helping distribute and interpret such information. The tendency seems to be, already for several years, that Medical Affairs departments are enlarging in local companies.

In the future, medicinal mechanisms of action and indications will become even more complex. Although part of the necessary information can be provided from outside Finland, the need for local information and support cannot be ignored. The need for information – particularly local information – will further increase.

We have noticed this clearly in our operations. There is more and more demand for projects targeting treatment paths and practices. The amount of the so-called Stakeholder Mapping type reviews conducted by us is also increasing. Such mappings, depicting the local circumstances, are necessary in order to obtain a complete picture of the therapeutic area and its treatment practices. The mappings serve as great support tools and signposts for both marketing and Medical Affairs units.

Stakeholder Mapping vs. Stakeholder Perception Mapping

Stakeholder Mapping type projects have thus become popular among our service provision. One reason for this must be the adjustable nature of the service, which responds to the actual needs of each customer. Such information on making different treatment decisions, on decision-makers and on operational premises can be primarily utilised in companies with limited prior knowledge of the therapeutic area in question and which might have insufficient personnel resources to conduct a proper mapping. In addition, companies that have operated for a long time in the therapeutic area can benefit from more comprehensive information, in the form of the so-called Stakeholder Perception Mapping. These mappings study treatment decisions and paths and more specific reasons for why such treatment decisions and paths are made and constructed in a certain manner. Furthermore, they increase understanding on why treatment models vary greatly in different parts of the country.


Jaana Ahlamaa

MD (Specialist in Surgery), PhD

Medical Affairs Director

+358 50 576 7325

Read more about Medaffcon’s Medical Affairs services here!

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