Medical Affairs

Helping clients to transform their medical affairs function into the company’s third strategic pillar alongside R&D and commercial.

What we do

Over the last 15 years, McKinsey has worked with major pharmaceutical and biotech companies to shape their medical affairs function. The pharmaceutical industry operates within a rapidly changing environment, and medical affairs is becoming increasingly integral to success. To transform medical affairs accordingly into a company’s third strategic pillar (alongside R&D and commercial) is a vision that will require significant upgrades to how the function operates today.

Our experts draw from deep expertise in medical affairs—both serving individual clients and leading cross-industry initiatives—to help the medical affairs function fulfill its potential to improve patient outcomes and experiences.

Specifically, we focus on the following areas:

Innovating evidence generation – Leading rapid-cycle, integrated evidence generation across HEOR, RWE, Phase IIIb/IV, and all other data, supported by microanalysis to tailor information to the needs of individual patients and improving patient lives across the product life cycle.

Accelerating access to treatments – Clearly articulating clinical and economic value (including data) to build trust with partners and accelerate access to treatment to ensure that the right patient gets the right treatment at the right time.

Transforming and personalizing medical engagement – Upgrading physician and patient decision making by engaging providers, patients, and others with tailored information that improves outcomes, supported by a reimagined insight-generation process.

Stepping up internal medical leadership – Providing strategic medical direction to the organization that is steering resources for maximum medical impact, injecting new capabilities, and upgrading performance at scale to create medical leaders who drive and shape the future of medical affairs and the company as a whole.

Featured capabilities


The Medical Affairs Leaders Forum brings together US and global heads of medical affairs to understand the range of medical affairs practices and jointly tackle common challenges for medical affairs teams. Since its inception in 2006, the group has expanded, and areas of focus now include engaging external influencers, codifying a joint vision for the future, and building the data set required for change.

Learn more


Launched by McKinsey in 2014, the Medical Affairs Leadership Academy has enabled numerous up-and-coming medical leaders to advance their careers, lead an evolution of the medical affairs function, and shape the industry more broadly. The leadership academy is a 6-month learning journey for high-potential medical affairs leaders likely to take on significant increases in responsibility within the next several years and who are excited to further refine their skills to drive personal and professional growth.

Featured experts

Lucy Pérez

Senior Partner, Boston

Alexandra Zemp

Partner, Zurich

Featured Insights


A vision for medical affairs in 2025

– Four core areas of medical-affairs activity combine to maximize patient experiences and outcomes.

Elevating the impact of medical affairs in Japan

– Recent research sheds light on the value of the medical channel and what it takes to have a high-performing medical-affairs organization.

Medical affairs: Key imperatives for engaging and educating physicians in a digital world

– Five strategic efforts can help medical affairs teams master customer engagement in the digital age.