Board Certification for Medical Science Liaisons: Implications for the Pharmaceutical Industry

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More than ever, confidence in objective, science-based data about therapeutics, such as the COVID-19 vaccine and other health care services, is a shared imperative across the pharmaceutical industry, health care communities, and the American public.

With questions looming about whether or not AstraZeneca cherry-picked its COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial data, trust and transparency from pharmaceutical companies about the integrity of their science is front and center. And while some Americans are waiting in line to get their COVID-19 vaccine, others are cautious due to doubts about the rapid vaccine development process and questions that have plagued the FDA about whether clinical data from pharmaceutical companies are being reviewed thoroughly.

This week, with that backdrop, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Health Subcommittee will hear from senior leaders in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the founder and CEO of the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs (ACMA), William Soliman, PhD, BCMAS. These officials will discuss the importance of establishing certification and credentialing standards for medical affairs and medical science liaison professionals in the pharmaceutical industry.

The briefing will address the important and growing role pharmaceutical medical affairs and medical science liaison professionals play in educating the medical community and public on new health care advancements and the need for certification to standardize practices across the industry for greater transparency and accountability. It features data and insights from policymakers, industry and academic leaders, and patient advocates working to ensure equity, trust, and excellence in Medical Affairs professional engagements.

More than ever, confidence in objective, science-based data about therapeutics, such as the COVID-19 vaccine and other health care services, is a shared imperative across the pharmaceutical industry, health care communities, and the American public.

The growing demands on pharmaceutical medical affairs professionals as a critical interface between the health care companies and stakeholders—including physicians and patients—emphasizes the need to standardize and certify core competencies and practices across medical affairs teams. Board certifying medical affairs and medical science liaison professionals is critical to ensure ethical practices, compliance excellence, and public trust at this crucial time.

In 2015, the ACMA developed the first board certification for medical affairs professionals and medical science liaisons known as the Board Certified Medical Affairs Specialist (BCMAS) program, and it is now considered the industry standard in the pharmaceutical industry. Many pharmaceutical industry futurists believe that certification and credentialing via the BCMAS program will be the norm in years to come as regulators push for higher standards of excellence in the pharmaceutical industry, which has received negative attention due to the opioid crisis and other debacles in years past.