The latest ‘What would you do?’ poll from the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) focuses on publication planning and how to navigate the interests of different functions within pharmaceutical companies. As with previous polls, the aim is to prompt discussion and debate on the best approaches for handling challenging situations faced by medical publication professionals. Dr Eric Y Wong (Janssen) reviewed the results in the MAP newsletter, providing his insights into the suggested approaches.
The poll asked: You are leading the strategic publications and data communication portions of business planning with your medical affairs and real world outcomes teams. Your marketing colleagues have requested a seat at the table during these discussions, which would be a first, and your medical affairs/real world outcomes colleagues do not feel comfortable but defer to you on how to proceed.
What would you do?
There were 115 respondents (2 of whom only provided comment). The most popular course of action, with 74.8% of the vote, was to explain to the marketing colleagues that while it is appropriate for marketing to hear and provide input into the medical strategy from a strategic point of view, marketing colleagues should not be involved in guiding the publication plan or reviewing the content of any publication.
Other respondents chose to:
- Hold a separate meeting with the marketing team to present the strategic publications and data communication portions of the business plan for their information only: 13.9%.
- Reassure medical affairs/real world outcomes colleagues that it is appropriate for marketing colleagues to attend this medical affairs business planning meeting and provide input into the discussions: 6.1%.
- Recommend to the marketing colleague that they follow-up individually with the medical affairs and real world outcomes teams prior to the meeting to provide input that can be discussed in the meeting, but the marketing team should not be in attendance at the meeting: 3.5%.
Dr Wong reminded readers that according to Good Publication Practice 3 (GPP3), commercial functions should not direct publication planning or development or be involved in the review and approval of publications.
“Commercial functions should neither direct publication planning or development nor be involved in publication review or approval.” – GPP3
However, it is important for commercial and medical affairs functions to communicate – the timing of publications is key to ensure successful execution of commercial initiatives, and medical affairs functions can benefit from commercial insights from healthcare professionals and other stakeholders. Organisations with strict firewalls may therefore prefer to hold separate meetings for commercial and medical colleagues to allow for cross function communication. However, Dr Wong argues that including commercial representatives in publication meetings can be acceptable, as long as those functions do not direct the plans. This approach may be valuable in allowing commercial teams to share their insights first hand. Dr Wong concludes that medical publication professionals should ensure that they understand company policies and local regulations to help determine the ideal approach for each situation.