MAPS EMEA 2019 meeting – Unlocking the potential of medical affairs

Written by Louise Carrington & Shreena Chotai on Tuesday 29th October 2019

The second EMEA meeting of the Medical Affairs Professional Society (MAPS) was recently held on 6–8 October in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, with leading Medical Affairs professionals attending from across the globe. Colleagues from OPEN Health Medical Communications were in attendance to hear the latest and greatest in Medical Affairs and, through sharing experiences, understand how the industry can overcome the barriers facing Medical Affairs today.

Medical Affairs is a key pillar

It is a well-recognised reality that Medical Affairs is now seen as a key pillar within the cross-functional team. However, as therapy areas, treatment landscapes and novel therapies advance at lightening pace, there is a need to be agile and ensure that Medical Affairs teams are prepared to face the challenges (and opportunities) that lie ahead and add real value in a transforming landscape.

From discussions with the expert faculty and during workshops, it was evident that more support is required to encourage collaboration between the various business units. Cross-functional exposure between all teams is essential so that the medical team can be elevated from a support function to a strategic partner.


During a plenary session delivered by McKinsey & Company four core operational changes that need to be embraced to support the evolution to the MSL role was identified:

  • Lead integrated evidence generation
  • Clearly articulate clinical and economic value to build trust with internal and external partners to accelerate access to treatments
  • Personalise medical engagement by providing stakeholders with tailored information to improve outcomes
  • Provide strategic medical direction to the organisation, including injecting new capabilities or building skills on a larger scale

In addition, training to support medical teams and MSLs in launch phases was raised as a need, to prepare for different scenarios particularly as the environment is often time sensitive and high pressured. Not only one-off training, but continual performance support with coaching ensures that, as their role or the product lifecycle and challenges change, they feel supported. Skills such as strategic thinking, planning and insight generation were identified as a critical training areas for medical affairs professionals.

Exciting times lie ahead for Medical Affairs teams as their role advances, but there is still work to be done.


OPEN Health have a strong heritage in building effective internal training programmes, focusing on enhancing knowledge, competencies and, importantly, confidence. Your teams are the most powerful tool you have; equipping them to face the challenges of a competitive landscape is fundamental to ensuring that you can both set and implement a smart, effective strategy. Our advanced approach provides compelling content and delivers it in an effective way, so that your teams are prepared to face an evolving landscape. We design all training with outcomes in mind, so your teams have everything they need to perform to their maximum potential.


For information about OPEN Health’s services and how we could support you, please get in touch.


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