Pharmaceutical Call Centers: Agents on the Frontlines of Physician Communication

Jacob Presson, pharmaceutical market access researcher
By Jacob Presson,
Senior Research Analyst

When frontline communication with doctors comes to mind, many life sciences companies will turn to the commercial side of their organization.  After all, pharma sales reps are the ones touching base with physicians and presenting the product to them. But within their medical information groups companies should also look to pharmaceutical call centers for another perspective on how doctors are approaching and using their products. Continue reading


Pilot New Medical Science Liaison Programs with Contract MSLs

David Richardson, pharmaceutical commercialization and launch expert
By David Richardson,
Director of Research

Life sciences companies point to the outsourcing of MSLs as a way for field-based medical teams to pilot new programs and activities while avoiding the risks of taking on fulltime headcount.  Whether the activity is HEOR, managed care, or whether it is testing a hybrid medical science liaison position, it is fairly simple to contract one or two experienced MSLs to pilot it out in the field, see how it goes, and then learn the results. Continue reading


Medical Information Leaders Justifying Resource Increases with Increased Responsibilities

David Richardson, pharmaceutical commercialization and launch expert
By David Richardson,
Director of Research

Just like virtually every other function within pharmaceutical organizations, medical information teams must make strong cases to increase — and often simply justify — budget and personnel resources.  For many medical information leaders, one avenue to justifying their resources is an expansion of their teams’ duties beyond the primary duty of answering inquiries placed by internal and external clients. Continue reading


Investigator Sponsored Trials: Structuring Evaluation and Approval Committees

Natalie DeMasi, clinical development and medical affairs researcher
By Natalie DeMasi,
Research Analyst

There are many key elements to running a successful investigator sponsored trials (ISTs) program, such as:

  • Evaluating IST proposals efficiently
  • Only approving ISTs that have high scientific merit and align with corporate research objectives
  • Maintaining compliance with fair market value (FMV) and milestone payments

The investigator sponsored trials evaluation committee is at the heart of many of these processes.  A company’s IST team runs the program, but the IST committee is responsible for evaluating the submissions. Continue reading



Medical Publication Strategies Start with Compliant Teams

Sarah Ray, regulatory affairs and safety researcher
By Sarah Ray,
Senior Research Analyst

Medical publications remain an important consideration for companies’ dedicated and non-dedicated medical affairs staff. Earlier this year, Cutting Edge Information conducted a study examining companies’ guiding medical publication strategies and their annual output patterns.

Figure 1 shows that the highest percentage of surveyed companywide, business unit and country-level teams ranked the following as extremely relevant publication goals: Continue reading


Contacting Medical Information Teams: What Channels Are Physicians and Patients Using?

Victoria Cavicchi, pharmaceutical medical affairs researcher
By Victoria Cavicchi,
Research Analyst

It’s no secret that our communication practices continually evolve to match our communication capabilities. Why write a letter when you can make a phone call? Or call when you can send an email or text message? Why not use any number of social channels to reach out to, not just people you know, but the companies that you support?  Medical information teams must now take on the daunting task of meeting customers — both patients and physicians — where they operate, while still remaining compliant.

Many pharma companies’ medical information teams receive requests via a number of different channels, including telephone, email, social media and fax.  Physicians may also submit inquiries through intermediaries such as sales reps and medical science liaisons (MSLs). While traditional channels — telephone and reps — remain prominent, digital channels are gaining traction.  One interviewed call center manager noted, “I’d say that just as recently as 3 or 4 years ago, three-fourths of our medical inquiries came in on fax or letter or phone call. Now I’d say that over two-thirds come in by email.” Continue reading


Setting the Pace for Clinical Publications, One Step at a Time

Sarah Ray, regulatory affairs and safety researcher
By Sarah Ray,
Senior Research Analyst

The foresight necessary to produce clinical publications is similar to preparing for and running a marathon. Before the race begins — or before a product launches — a lot of hard work goes into ensuring that the final outcome matches the desired result.  Runners may train for weeks, months or even years to prepare themselves for an upcoming competition. In similar fashion, dedicated publications teams spend a lot of time ensuring that products will receive ample clinical publications support both before and after product launch. Continue reading


Staying in the Loop: Pharmaceutical Call Center Audits

Jacob Presson, pharmaceutical market access researcher
By Jacob Presson,
Senior Research Analyst

Pharmaceutical companies medical information groups often use outsourced call centers to support their activities.  As such, keeping close track of the performance of these vendors has grown in importance.  Many medical information groups have a set list of performance indicators paired with internal goals that must be met to ensure a consistent experience for callers.  Pharmaceutical call center audits, in their various forms, allow companies to monitor vendors with the same level of detail that they would be able to do for an in-house team. Continue reading


Pharmaceutical Call Center Management: Evolve to Respond to Better Informed Customers

David Richardson, pharmaceutical commercialization and launch expert
By David Richardson,
Director of Research

Lets face it, Google makes us smarter.  Well…not really.  But it certainly gives us a window into all kinds of information that used to be held only by professionals.  The healthcare industry has certainly seen an uptick in customer knowledge over the last several years.  Patients and healthcare providers alike can now use their search engines to do fairly deep dives into diseases state information and treatment options.  This access has a big impact on pharmaceutical call center management teams.  Patients and health care providers can answer many of the questions that they formerly asked of medical information groups with quick internet search.  Medical information teams are also receiving additional, more complicated questions than in the past. Continue reading