As a marketing or medical leader in the pharmaceutical, device, or biotech industry, you may rely on one or more medical communications agencies (MedComms) to help balance the work you do.
Depending on the agency, they may provide tactical assistance with claims development, medical writing, content management, promotional or consumer copywriting, creative services, or meeting planning and execution. Other agencies may provide more strategic guidance and support with competitive intelligence, thought leader identification and engagement, or planning and execution for advisory boards, speaker trainings, and omnichannel engagement.
When selecting a MedComm, how can you tell if an agency is the right fit for your needs? Here are some criteria to consider.
Does the agency work across many industries? Is their broad focus on healthcare? Do they have a history of working exclusively with companies like yours? Onboarding an agency new to the industry can be daunting and time-consuming.
An agency with industry experience understands the motivations and needs of both the marketing and medical teams and can communicate effectively with and between them. They understand the roles that Medical, Legal, Regulatory, and Privacy play and when and how to integrate them into the process.
Experienced agencies follow your established approval process for deliverables and have worked in a variety of approval systems. They understand how federal laws impact your business and can accurately apply broad and company-specific compliance guidelines to the work they do for you.
An experienced agency understands the full product lifecycle from discovery and development to clinical trials and FDA approval. They have launch execution planning experience with several products, and they’ve also been involved post-launch through loss of exclusivity and/or patent. An agency familiar with the full product lifecycle knows what activities and materials are appropriate, necessary, and effective at each stage and can bring innovative ideas and solutions to enhance your work.
A seasoned writer with years of experience may still struggle to interpret scientific data and understand how to present them in a meaningful way. Dedicated medical writers bring deep scientific knowledge, and most are PhDs who understand the data and know how to craft clear, compelling materials with charts and graphs to make the information memorable. They know how to turn a didactic presentation into a dynamic presentation.
As scientists, they also know the importance of creating well-defined objectives to ensure your goals for the project are met.
An understanding of the disease state and other drugs or devices in development or currently in the marketplace allows medical writers to assess data and provide competitive intelligence for the existing market and new data disclosures.
Medical writers and editors can also develop journal articles and manuscripts. They can interpret the data disclosures and head-to-head trials, and they know how to write for the target audience and to the publisher’s specifications.
Medical writers understand the difference between a scientific citation and a reference. Medical editors ensure not only that the references and citations, grammar, and spelling are correct, but also that the data are depicted correctly and follow your preferred style manual.
Is the MedComm responsive and easy to deal with? Do you have direct access to their whole team?
It is important for a MedComm to know how to work with and engage people within the agency, inside your organization, and with other third-party suppliers. They provide the appropriate level of respect for you and your time. They acknowledge and express appreciation for the time and effort thought leaders give to your organization.
A MedComm devoted to continuous improvement asks for and embraces feedback. They are flexible and resilient and always have your best outcome as their goal.
A dedicated project manager helps facilitate proactive conversations and ensures all team members have the information they need to keep the project on time and on budget.
Look for a MedComm with foundational knowledge—the practical ability to link concepts and ideas and apply knowledge to develop new, innovative approaches and experiences.
A well-staffed agency that understands the cadence of activities and consistently delivers results can be relied on to help ease your team’s workload. Once you are comfortable with their abilities, you can begin to integrate the MedComm to help address the needs of multiple functional areas within your organization. Not only can they help bridge the medical and marketing teams, but they can also provide consistency and reduce duplicative work between US and global teams. If you have separate healthcare professional, key office staff, and thought leader teams, the MedComm can help optimize communication and cooperation among them as well, making your organization more efficient and effective.
A great MedComm brings scientific and strategic expertise and experience and connects that with a high degree of operational effectiveness to enhance the performance of their partner clients.
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