A medical affairs director is an in-house medical expert. The position is usually held by medical doctors or osteopaths who have hands-on patient care experience that they can apply to their position. Many directors are responsible for sharing information and education both internally and externally to help company staff, medical professionals and the public better understand their company's products.
Within the company, a director of medical affairs is a source of technical and medical information for teammates. This can include educating the sales force and adjusting marketing materials to be medically accurate. Medical directors also work directly with development personnel to influence the schedule and design of new drug trials. Medical directors also provide clinical input to product teams and to researchers.
Medical directors serve as the company's public face in a white coat. They maintain large networks of medical colleagues, sometimes tapping into them to create advisory boards made up of customers. Most medical directors review the company's journal articles before they are published or presented. They also serve as liaisons to professional organizations, government agencies and organizations like insurance companies that pay for their company's products.
Knowledge and Abilities
Director of medical affairs is a multidisciplinary position. On one hand, the director needs to be medically astute, based on the need to create and review clinical data. Directors are also public figures, responsible for explaining the company and its products to many different audiences. Finally, they also must be sharp businesspeople who can create and influence policies by working collaboratively.
Education and Experience
A medical doctor degree or its equivalent is a prerequisite for this position. Many companies prefer doctors with care experience in a related field to the position being hired. For instance, a surgeon would make a better medical director for a surgical products company. For a director-level position, experience in medical affairs and pharmaceutical work is desirable, if not required.
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