Guest: Dr Brian Muller
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Dr Brian Muller is a Medical Doctor with an Australian fellowship and has worked as a full time clinician for 13 years.
His participation in research introduced him to Pharmaceutical Medicine leading him to join the industry in 2000. He then completed a Fellowship from the Royal College of Physicians in the UK in Pharmaceutical Medicine.
As Medical Director his main responsibility is to protect the rights, privacy and safety patients exposed to the company’s products and devices. Dr Muller has always maintained a clinical attachment allowing him to keep abreast of clinical developments and ensure that the company remains patient focused.
Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, Mundipharma Medical Affairs Director Dr. Brian Muller joins us to talk about quality use of medicines as a key aspect to their business. Mundipharma is an established leader in the development and provision of medicines for pain, and they have expanded their portfolio to include treatments for cancer, glaucoma, asthma, burns, wounds as well as skin irritations. They aim to continue supporting healthcare professionals and healthcare consumers with innovative and effective products to meet their needs. The Mundipharma network of independent associated companies is now present in six continents.
Health Professional Radio – Mundipharma
Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio with Wayne Bucklar. Joining me today, my guest is Dr. Brian Muller. Brian is the Medical Affairs Director of Mundipharma. Brian welcome to Health Professional Radio.
Dr. Brian Muller: Thank you very much Wayne.
W: Now Brian, tell me a little bit about Mundipharma because it’s not a name that immediately sort of says what it is you do.
M: Yes, Wayne. Look most clinicians would know Mundipharma for our pain portfolio. But we’ve certainly grown and we’ve diversified in recent years and we focus on other areas now. And that includes oncology, respiratory, ophthalmology and also over the counter products. But over and above our products, we also supply services to the healthcare industry. We’ve got a medical information department which provides accurate and up to date information to both patients and healthcare professionals. We also deliver accredited medical education programs to healthcare professionals. And we also support studies which are initiated by researchers in academia. Now all these programs focus on installing best practice in the management of patients. And they also include practical resources to support the day to day activities in medical practice.
W: Now Brian I noticed on your website that you speak extensively about the quality use of medicines. How does that figure into the Mundi philosophy, the Mundipharma philosophy?
M: Well, the key services we provide is to educate healthcare professionals. And our education programs are updated regularly, we provide valuable objective information for healthcare professionals to choose the best available option for their patients when prescribing. And that quality use of medicines that you referred to is the cornerstone of Mundipharma’s philosophy and practice. It’s embedded across every aspect of our business, patients come first in everything that we do, we committed to ensuring the best outcomes for individuals and communities and the healthcare system as a whole. And this provision of high quality products and services helps all Australiana to live well and age well.
W: And that’s a very admirable ambition to have. Now Brian in implementing that, you talked a little about a bit about the research that you do. That’s an extensive part of what your doing, isn’t it?
M: Look, we do our own internal research. But importantly we also support what’s called investigator initiated research so these are independent trials out there in the academic world, who come up with their own ideas in terms of what research should be done and they approach us to support them with the funding or any other means of support that they may require.
W: Yes, that’s an important thing to happen. I think we quite often have academics in the program here with us and quite often funding and in kind support is one of the things that they just probably need to get their work across the line as well.
M: Yes, correct.
W: Brian, Mundipharma is not an Australian firm. It’s a multinational firm, am I right in that?
M: Yeah, look I mean Mundipharma’s been around since 1952 and it operates on six continents.
W: Uh huh.
M: But locally here in Australia, we’re pretty much a medium size pharmaceutical company. But interestingly we are part of the network of independent associate companies. Now what that means is we have that independence to be agile and adaptable. And really we can quickly respond to the needs at prescribers and patients as a result of that. So yes it’s a pretty unique set up compared to big pharma.
W: Yes, it does sound different. I have to admit I haven’t heard of other companies structured that way in the pharma business, but I guess they’re around. Do you differentiate yourself from big pharma in other ways?
M: Look we may, because we’re small and because we have that ability to be agile and adaptable, we’re very close to the customer. We operate in a very similar fashion to the big pharmaceutical companies but I suppose we don’t haven’t got those layers of approval on top of that, so really I think we can be more reactive. I’ve worked in big pharmas well enough, for me that’s the big difference.
W: Yes, certainly with some of the multinational pharma companies, it is as always bureaucracy slows things down. And I think that happens probably in every business. Now Brian about 95% of our audience are clinicians of some kind or another mainly in acute care or in aged care, is there a take away message that you’d like them to get today?
M: Look I’m a practicing clinician myself. I was a full time clinician for over 13 years, once I finished my fellowship here in Australia.
W: Uh huh.
M: And since I’ve been in the industry I’ve always maintained an attachment at private hospitals so I’ve never stopped seeing patients, I understand first-hand concerns that clinicians may have around the prescribing of schedule 8 products.
W: Uh huh.
M: I think the genuine concern out there, which regards to these products when it comes to things like the potential risk of addiction or abuse when prescribed inappropriately. I’ve really got to respect really is the fact that when prescribed appropriately, you know that these products can be a real game changer for patients in alleviating pain, improving function and significantly improving patients’ quality of life. And I think as a clinician myself, I think the world being of patient needs to remain our priority and we shouldn’t be reluctant to prescribe these products where appropriate.
W: Yes, I think that’s a very good message because as you say they are very effective when they’re used appropriately. Brian my favorite question in every interview has to do with misconceptions. And I guess in every industry and for everyone, there are misconceptions. What’s the biggest misconceptions amongst your customers, clients, patients, in your work that drive you nuts and keep you awake at night?
M: Look I think at Mundipharma that is the biggest misconception, the one I’ve just touched on – the prescribing schedule 8 products. I don’t need to be repetitive but that definitely is our biggest issue. We’ve conducted research, and external research so that is independent of us we supported this.
W: Uh huh.
M: And this study suggests that if the appropriate drug, its therapeutic area of appropriately prescribed that misuse and abuse can be in fact decrease. And we know also that from direct feedback from clinicians be they oncologists or pain specialists, we know that appropriately using this product can significantly alter how a patient operates and their day to day quality of life.
W: Well let’s hope today Brian which at least with our audience, we’ve raised awareness with a few people about that issue and the prescribing of schedule 8 appropriately. Can I just check with you for people who want to get in touch, is the website the best way to do that?
M: Yes, or directly through to our medical information department, so that’s just finding the main switchboard number and then to ask for medical information and we have subject matter experts who are dedicated to the various therapeutic areas.
W: And that number I’m assuming is on the mundipharma.com.au website?
W: And because I always get into the trouble for not giving listeners enough warning to get their pencils out, that was www.mundipharma.com.au. And you can find there the phone numbers for the switchboard and the information services associated with it. Dr. Brian Muller Medical Affairs Director of Mundipharma, thank you for your time today I do appreciate it.
M: Thank you Wayne.
W: If you’ve missed the conversation with Brian, the good news is we’ve got a transcript on our website. We also have a recording of the conversation in both SoundCloud and on YouTube and you can access all of those through the station website at www.hpr.fm. You’re listening to Health Professional Radio, my name is Wayne Bucklar.