China’s Changing Pharmaceutical Market Placing Increased Demands On Medical Affairs

Medical affairs executives play an important role in bridging the gap between R&D and marketing functions at drug companies. To date, the position of medical affairs in China has generally taken a less prominent position than in the West, but that is changing now.

A recent McKinsey & Co. report addresses China’s evolving marketplace and some of the key challenges that medical affairs professionals face in the world’s second-largest biopharmaceutical market. Key findings from the McKinsey report include:

  • Most medical affairs professionals at large multinational pharmaceutical companies have been relatively junior employees with limited experiences in China’s drug market. To succeed, large drug companies need to hire more experienced professionals who are able to deal with China’s unique regulations and challenges.
  • Medical affairs professionals must adapt their strategies according to geographic differences in physician needs, reimbursement policies, and competition.
  • New compliance standards and increased demand for quality clinical information are forcing medical affairs executives to develop a deeper understanding of business insights as well as an enhanced understanding of physician demands.
  • As a whole, the changing nature of China’s drug market means that businesses must clearly define each department’s individual role and responsibilities. Sales, marketing, and medical affairs departments must understand their assigned duties to avoid overlap and improve coordination and performance.