Insights

Medical Affairs’ Data-Driven Rise to Prominence


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Once a little-known entity, medical affairs is making its mark on the industry, and the timing couldn’t be better: Pharma portfolios are growing more scientifically complex and physicians want to have open, non-promotional dialogue with experts they can trust. The medical affairs function will play an increasing role in helping pharma companies to generate, interpret and communicate evidence.

As the medical affairs function becomes more valuable, there’s an opportunity to play a data-driven, collaborative role between development and commercial—and beyond. Managing Principal Pratap Khedkar recently spoke with colleagues Sarah Jarvis and Dean Hakanson to understand how the medical affairs department has advanced, and what it might look like in the future if it can overcome a few of the challenges standing in the way.

About the Experts





Pratap Khedkar is a managing principal in ZS’s Philadelphia office, and leads the firm’s global pharmaceuticals and data science practices. He has advised many biopharmaceutical and healthcare companies on a wide range of business issues including commercial strategy, customer-centric marketing, market access, sales compensation and advanced analytics. A recognized healthcare industry expert, Pratap regularly contributes his insights to publications including The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, Fortune, Medical Marketing & Media, NPR, Pharmaceutical Executive and others.





Sarah Jarvis is a principal in ZS’s San Francisco office and leads the medical affairs consulting space. Sarah has worked in the healthcare space for more than 20 years, and currently helps medical affairs clients bring business- and customer-oriented solutions to teams across medical affairs organizations. Before joining ZS, she worked at Genentech as a market planning manager for approved products in the pre-launch phase and throughout their life cycle. Sarah holds a B.A. from Princeton University and an MBA from London Business School.





Dean Hakanson is a principal in ZS’s San Diego office, and serves on the R&D leadership team. Dean provides medical affairs clients with strategic input on product development, stakeholder advocacy, communications, continuing medical education and more. He has 20 years of biopharma industry experience and spent eight years working as a full-time, board-certified physician in a clinical practice. Dean has a B.S. in cellular physiology from the University of Denver and an M.D. from the University of Colorado School of Medicine.