“EP188: Lifting Pharma Credibility and Trustworthiness With Certified Medical Affairs Teams, With Dr. William Soliman”
by Stacey Richter

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According to the Edelman survey on trust, 77% of people surveyed refused to purchase a product or service because they did not trust the company behind it. Pharma companies are not exactly tops on the trust scale for reasons you can infer yourself—or listen to EP148 with Jennifer Miller on the Good Pharma Scorecard. As with most organizations, Pharma can easily become an echo chamber for a point of view that is consistent with the organization’s profit aspirations. So, as a pharma company, how do you become more trustworthy? Rome wasn’t built in a day, but one way is with certified medical affairs personnel. Today I speak with Will Soliman, PhD, BCMAS, president and CEO of the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs (ACMA).

An experienced senior executive with several years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, Will has held key positions where he was instrumental in launching a variety of innovative platforms in medical affairs. He speaks frequently regarding the ever-changing role of medical affairs at most major medical affairs conferences and is currently president and CEO of the ACMA, whose primary mission is to create industry standards and goals for medical affairs professionals.

Will has held key management roles across the industry within medical affairs, such as at Eisai, Retrophin, Gilead Sciences, Abbott Laboratories, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Merck. Will previously also served as vice president of medical and scientific affairs at CME LLC, a leading provider of continuing medical education to health care providers nationwide. He also has worked on the strategic management consulting side with companies such as Veeva Systems and often provides medical affairs consultancy services for Bain, McKinsey, BCG, Atheneum Partners, and Alpha Insights.

He has published extensively and led a number of initiatives focusing in the areas of ischemic heart disease, dyslipidemia, diastolic heart failure, type 2 diabetes, and obesity, where he has collaborated with some of the nation’s top research institutions, such as the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, the Washington Center for Weight Management & Research, the Yale School of Medicine Digestive Diseases Program, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Weight & Eating Disorders. Will was most recently invited to speak at the Center for Medical Technology Policy’s (CMTP) conference on Comparative Effectiveness Research to help inform payers, health care policy makers, physicians, and patients on the most effective ways to design clinical trials to better address gaps in medicine. He also presented at the 2014 annual American Diabetes Association (ADA) Conference on preventing the progression of type 2 diabetes among prediabetic overweight and obese individuals. In 2008, Will published a book entitled The Rise of Chemistry: Implications for Industry and Education.

He has also held several academic appointments at Seton Hall University’s School of Health and Medical Sciences; New Jersey City University; Kean University’s College of Natural, Applied, and Health Sciences; and Touro Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, Pharmacy, and Physical Therapy teaching a variety of courses, including clinical therapeutics, pharmacology, pathophysiology, and epidemiology.

Will has served as a board member for the MSL Institute. He is a member of several organizations, including the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the American Diabetes Association (ADA), The Obesity Society (TOS), the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology (AACE), the American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP), the American Heart Association (AHA), the Drug Information Association (DIA), and the American Chemical Society (ACS).


00:00 Will’s background and how he became president and CEO of the ACMA.
02:30 The difference between a sales rep and a medical science liaison (MSL).
04:35 The need for better education among medical affairs and pharma workers.
09:10 Working with key thought leaders and the Consensus Statement they are currently working on.
12:00 How accreditation courses work to help MSLs provide more of a balanced view of a pharma product.
15:50 The pressure for Pharma and manufacturers to become Outcomes Companies.
16:25 How are MSLs evolving?
17:20 “Really, what is the value of the product?”
22:00 How ACMA remains unbiased in their course curriculum.
23:15 How health care providers can verify that they are getting the clearest unbiased pharma information possible from their MSLs.
25:25 EP187 with Sandra Leal and Todd Eury, EP181 with Dr. Lipi Roy.
25:40 The state of opioid addiction in America and how pharma information contributed to the problem.
30:05 EP148 and AEE2 with Jennifer Miller.
30:25 “It’s time there’s a third party that’s vetting what we’re doing.”
32:40 You can learn more at medicalaffairsspecialist.org.

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