Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pharmacy Beyond "the Right Drug for the Right Patient at the Right Time"

Posted by Zhe Han at Sunday, November 21, 2010

This month, I traveled to the East coast and completed my fourth rotation at the US corporate headquarter of Sanofi- Aventis, located in Bridgewater, NJ. Although I have decided on a residency route during my first rotation, I was still very excited about this experience because the pharmaceutical industry is one aspect of pharmacy that I knew very little about so I really looked forward to gaining a good overview of the various roles pharmacists can have in this setting.

The department that I was in is called "Health Policy and Strategic Advocacy". If you aren't sure what this department does, you are not alone since I had no clue of what to expect when I began my rotation 4 weeks ago. So what is strategic advocacy? Here is an exact quote from my final presentation last Friday: "strategic advocacy is important because by cultivating impactful partnerships with influential players, the company can have a greater voice in changes that affect how well its products do on the market". In a nutshell, people in the advocacy department work closely with patient, provider, payer and quality groups to influence health policies that are beneficial to the company's products. For my final presentation, I focused on oncology and identified the top 10 groups which I think Sanofi- Aventis should work with (eg. ASCO, NCCN, National Business Group on Health, etc.). My project challenged me to think about pharmacy in relations to public policies.
During this rotation, I also had opportunities to meet one-on-one with fellows in other departments such as Medical Information, Health Outcome Research, Evidence Based Medicine, Marketing, Clinical Development, Translational Research, and Regulatory Affairs. These meetings gave me a very broad understanding of different roles pharmacists can have and how pharmacists' clinical training can still be valuable even in the industry. I certainly recommend this rotation to anyone who is curious to learn about the industry. An appreciation for how the industry conducts trials, markets its products, and communicates information to providers and consumers can be very helpful in other practice settings.

No comments: