Vice President of Medical Affairs

Vice President of Medical Affairs oversees all facets of a company’s Medical Affairs and Medical Communications. This includes overseeing a teams of Medical Monitors, Drug Safety and Pharmacovigilance professionals, Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs) and Health Economics Outcomes Research (HEOR) professionals.

Contribution to Business Success

The Vice President of Medical Affairs makes a significant contribution to their company’s financial successes by opening doors for sales people, which leads to increased revenues. They develop relationships with key opinion leaders (KOLs), including doctors, nurses and payers. This shapes the way the product is labeled, marketed and paid for. The Vice President of Medical Affairs should be able to think strategically about how to educate medical personnel and payers on the value of the product and identification of consumers who will benefit most from the product.

Major Achievements (examples)

  • Developed product launch plan.
  • Developed strategy for product reimbursements.
  • Major contributions to successful product launch worldwide.
  • Managed large budgets within guidance.
  • Built a team (e.g. MSLs, Monitors, Safety, etc…).

Potential Pitfalls

  • Unproductive relations with the sales team.
  • Bad product labeling.
  • Failure to establish working relationships with key opinion leaders.
  • Poor ethical decisions.
  • High turnover on the medical affairs team.
  • Poor adoption of product.
  • Off-label use of your product.
  • Not building strong working relationships with FDA, and foreign regulatory bodies.

If your VP of Medical Affairs has hit more than one of these pitfalls it may be time for a confidential search.


MEIRxRS aims to provide three top-notch candidates in 21 business days. We vet candidates closely, interviewing them, checking with their peers and assessing each candidate for abilities to help you achieve your business objectives.

A strong potential Vice President of Medical Affairs will not be trolling job boards looking for their next position. They will be too busy building their company’s brand. Your company may have to dig deep to find the candidate with the relationships needed to successfully launch your product, so it’s best to start the search process as early as possible (before your Phase 3 studies are completed). Your company may want to use a consultant to get the ball rolling until you find your ideal candidate.

Confidential Retained Searches

Your company should conduct a confidential-retained search through MEIRxRS for a number of reasons. Retained searches are less expensive and to launch your product you must be committed to filling the position regardless. A portion of the fee is paid up front, a second payment is due during the interview stage and the final payment is due after the candidate starts work. Your retained search gets first priority over contingency searches. Further, the candidate pools are small for a Vice President of Medical Affairs with the therapeutic experience and KOL’s you require to successfully launch your product. Your company does not wish for its competitors to know that you will be interviewing their employees.

Contingency Searches

Companies sometimes engage multiple agencies concurrently in an effort to speed the search up. Unfortunately, this results in a barrage of agencies submitting poor-quality resumes in an effort to get their candidates in first (and earn the fee) in case they are good. Resumes may be submitted even if the candidate hasn’t been interviewed or told that their resume is being submitted to your company. Recruiters place multiple calls and emails to get the resume in first, diverting attention of hiring managers from their other responsibilities. All this undermines our goal of providing top-notch candidates for our clients. Because of this MEIRxRS will not conduct a contingency search if other agencies are working the search at the same time.

Requirements for a Vice President of Medical Affairs

Requirements usually include a PharmD or MD plus 5 or more years of experience. Experience in a specific therapeutic area is usually required, mainly because strong candidates come with pre-established relationships with the key opinion leaders the company hopes to influence and because they already understand the disease, patient population and competitors.


  • Build relationships with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs).
  • Provide medical input for medical, scientific and promotional documents, and support of business development activities.
  • Presentations at industry conferences, forums and seminars.
  • Develop systems for tracking health economics outcomes research.

Suggested Readings

  • Books on Leadership
  • Books on Negotiation
  • Books on Presenting in Public
  • Books on Medical Writing
  • Books on Business Writing


If you would like to be confidentially contacted when we have a relevant search please contact a talent manager today.

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