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Adv Med Educ Pract. 2018 Nov 2;9:777-790. doi: 10.2147/AMEP.S175683. eCollection 2018.

Evolving role of pharmaceutical physicians in medical evidence and education.

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Medical Affairs, Pfizer Pte Ltd, Singapore,
Independent Medical Writing Services, Auckland, New Zealand.
Department of Pharmacy, National University of Singapore, Singapore.
Global Medical Affairs, Asia-Pacific Region, Pfizer Australia, West Ryde, NSW, Australia.


The role of pharmaceutical physicians who are the experts working in pharmaceutical companies has progressed over the last few decades, from supervising research and development (R&D) studies and/or providing support to marketing teams to serving an independent critical function. In this review, we focus on pharmaceutical physicians serving medical affairs functions in the pharmaceutical industry. Historically, members of the medical affairs team mainly provided a bridge between commercial teams and the R&D sector and between the organization and external stakeholders. Such teams may even have been managed by other departments, with an emphasis on acquiring and generating data for regulatory purposes. In recent years, the role of medical affairs has broadened due to a change in focus and the increasingly stringent regulatory landscape. Strict regulations require the detachment of commercial from medical activities within pharmaceutical organizations. This change provides an opportunity for a different type of partnership, allowing scientifically minded and medically driven initiatives. This article summarizes the key role of pharmaceutical industry-based physicians in medical affairs and discusses the emerging and evolving role of medical affairs for value creation in evidence generation and medical education.


medical affairs; medical education; pharmaceutical industry; pharmaceutical physicians

Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure Dr Sajita Setia was an employee of Pfizer Pte Ltd at the time of submission of this manuscript and Dr Kannan Subrama-niam is an employee of Pfizer Australia. Mr Prasad S Nair and Ms Elma Ching underwent indirect patient care pharmacy training for 3 months at Pfizer, Singapore. The authors report no other conflicts of interest in this work.

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