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Overview of the Medical Affairs Sector

The medical affairs sector of the pharmaceutical industry has recently evolved from a traditional support function to a critical strategic matrix of responsibilities pertaining to any and every task that has a clinical implication. The sector bridges disciplines ranging from clinical research and development to medical information; from pharmacovigilance and post-market surveillance to health economics and outcomes; and from data management and statistics to regulatory affairs and new licence applications.

The medical affairs sector is a vital hub providing hospital consultants, key opinion leaders (KOL's), regulatory agencies (IMB, FDA), professional groups and other healthcare professionals with scientific and medical information relating to the value and correct usage of products; significantly enhancing the reputation and credibility of the pharmaceutical organisation as a whole.

Intra-organisationally, the medical affairs function also has an important role supporting the sales and marketing function though medical education, market intelligence and market access. The overall success of a medical affairs department depends on its ability to achieve a delicate balance between its medical focus and commercial reality.