Outsourcing pharmaceutical material review: Revolution or Evolution?

Do you remember the days when drug safety was dealt with entirely in- house and scores of medical information personnel were housed within pharmaceutical company headquarters?


Photo by Harry Sandhu on Unsplash

Many of you may never have seen such a thing depending on when you joined the industry. Today, these services are largely outsourced and managed by companies who provide bespoke services across multiple clients. These two core functions sat squarely within the medical function alongside a number of other medical activities such as materials review and approval.

Do we truly believe this would be a revolution in the pharmaceutical industry?
Or simply a natural evolution of scientific support services provided to the medical department?

There are in fact a large number of pharmaceutical companies exploring this, some dipping their toes in the water whilst others are leading the way with fully outsourced solutions. Multiple operating models are available already to ensure tailored solutions for individual companies.

Why then would a company wish to outsource materials review?

Surely the expertise on the Brand and the data lies within the company?

I normally address this question with questions of my own:

  • Do your medical teams want to spend time reviewing materials, or interacting with external key opinion leaders?

  • Would they welcome the support of a dedicated specialist team, who could manage the peaks and troughs in workload alongside their activities?

  • What happens at times of holiday or sickness?

  • What is the average tenure of a medical affairs professional within a brand team before they move on to other roles?

  • Would your company’s medical roles be easier to recruit into if materials review was less of a component?


Revolution or evolution? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.


Come and talk to me, Rak Patel, Medical Director at Indigo Medical, if you would like to discuss your material review demands.

Originally published on Medium: Keep reading (external link)