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BCMAS Program Progress: Done With the Modules!

Onto the second half of the modules. After the first half of the program, I felt a little bit overwhelmed with the materials, but usually my style of studying, is I like to go through all the materials, get a good idea of my landscape and then do review questions and go over the modules again through each question. 

Honestly, I learned so much from the just first half of the program, but it was a lot of technical, nitty gritty information.

Fingers crossed this second half will help put it all together and I can apply it clinically. 

Let's go!

Module 11:

Abstract and Medical Writing

This module was on medical writing and was extremely helpful. The ability to write scientific documents is critical to a role as a medical director, healthcare, and in pharma.

I'm ashamed to admit, I have never had a formal class on how to write abstracts, despite having published several scientific papers myself. 

Module 12:

Publication Practices

This module goes over the publication planning process, the purpose of publications, and Good Publications Practice guidelines.

I found the area on "what substantiates authorship" to be especially interesting. 

Module 13:

Drug Development Process

This module went over the steps from discovery of a drug to it hitting the marketplace. I learned that there were different types of applications for a drug and what needs to be included in the applications. 

Module 14:

Overview of Medical Information

This module helped me understand the role of medical information and its position within medical affairs within the larger pharmaceutical organization. Medical information goes by many names, one of which I didn't know, was "Medical Services". This related back to how the earlier modules, like compliance affects medical information.

I finally understood what medical affairs was (the bridge between commercial and clinical). This module started to put together the puzzle pieces for me. At the end of the first ten modules, I felt like I still was not sure about medical affairs, but this module pieced it together for me. 

Module 15:

Medical Science Liaisons and Field Based Medical Teams 

Ohhh, it's all fitting together now! This module went into detail the core competencies, roles, and responsibilities of a medical science liaison. There are specific guidelines that affect MSLs and you go on to understand where MSLs fit into medical affairs and the pharmaceutical industry overall. 

Module 16:

Grant and Investigator-Initiated Study Funding and Process 

As an MSL, you will be involved in the grant process and investigator-initiated studies in some way. This module goes over the types of grants, the process of grant approval, and the different aspects of investigator studies. 

Module 17:

Advisory Boards

This module goes over the role of advisory boards, which members to be included, and regulations and compliance governing advisory boards. 

Module 18:

Phase IV/Post-Marketing Studies

Post-marketing studies/phase IV studies is part of "pharmacovigilance". They deal with what happens after the drug is on the market. 

Module 19: 

Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS)

REMS deals with evaluating drug benefit versus risk. I always see the packet input with medications, but I honestly didn't know the regulations that go into them. This was very educational.

Module 20:

Medication Safety and Pharmacovigilance

This module goes over adverse events with a drug. It was interesting and great to know there's quite a process that drug manufacturers have to go through to ensure safety of their drugs on market. I also understood more about roles in pharmacovigilance.

Overall review:

I have to admit, I enjoyed this second half of the modules a lot more than the first half, but the first half was very necessary in order to understand the second half.

I finally understand what medical affairs, MSL, pharmacovigilance, and other similar terms really meant and how everything fits into the big picture. 

It was still very convenient and easy to fit into my busy day.

Pros:

-The way these modules are set up makes a lot of sense and helps create a bigger picture, especially for someone like me with no experience or knowledge in pharma AT ALL.

Perfect program for starting on the ground floor. 

Cons:

-I would have liked to have seen an example of a standard day in the life of an MSL or something to show me how an MSL puts all this knowledge together to carry out their daily functions. 

-There is a ton of knowledge presented in all the modules, and I love to review material in my free time.

I would have personally loved to be able to print out the modules and bind them into a notebook to carry around. But hey, I save a lot of trees by not doing that. 

Overall, I am extremely happy I enrolled in the program because I know 1000x more than I knew two weeks ago. I honestly feel that I am already a better candidate for pharma roles than a lot of candidates without this knowledge.

I'm really excited about where to go after this (and kind of scared because it's the board exam, lol). I know I can only build upon my foundation!