Are Pharmaceutical Consultants Worth It? A Case for Why Consultants are Important at Every Stage of the Drug Discovery and Development Process

Consultant – a person who provides expert advice professionally.

Drug discovery and development is a team endeavor with significant expertise needed at every stage. This expertise is a challenge for any company to cover completely in-house. 

With drug discovery and development projects, there is often an element of timing and good fortune that also plays a significant role. It’s not easy, and experts can tip the scale and help teams successfully navigate the challenging journey.

No one wants to make the same mistake as others, and no one wants to reinvent the wheel, so how do you gain helpful insights and key learnings to avoid costly mistakes? Consultants can provide valuable advice to help teams define the best path forward, solve problems and significantly enhance the chances of project success.

The advice of experts with years of industry experience is invaluable regarding research.

Consultants are important at every stage of the drug discovery and development process; from early-stage assay development and optimization to advice on how to make or improve the desired target or molecule to how to present data to the regulatory agencies for review and approval.

Consulting advice is invaluable when it comes to clinical research. The importance of the study design, endpoints, sample size, statistical plan, procedures, inclusion and exclusion criteria cannot be overstated. This is also a very costly stage of development. An independent review of the plans can be extremely beneficial in some cases saving millions of dollars and years of development time.

How can consultants help?

They provide an independent perspective
Consultants are independent for a reason – this enables them the opportunity to provide a new take, a new perspective, letting you know you are on track, or providing an independent endorsement of the plan.

They also have the experience of having seen this program or something very close to it before or even multiple times before. This outside perspective is important. You don’t just want the people within the company reporting to you or dependent on you for their performance appraisals evaluating your plans – that may not be a good strategy for impartial, unbiased advice.

They provide an extra set of fresh eyes or a helping hand
Drug discovery and development are challenging. People work very hard at it and, in some cases, wear many hats. When you hire an expert, they can provide new insights from decades of experience to help teams move forward quickly or simply help carry the load.

When a consultant reviews a document and adds significant value, this can help with team retention and increase the chances of overall success. There is also the element of “mentorship” at play. Staff skill sets can be elevated by working with a consultant.

They provide specialized expertise for a unique problem
Unusual and unique problems can arise that may derail a project or program if not addressed. Once the problem is addressed, you may never need that skill set again. Does It make sense to hire someone in-house if that person is redundant after the problem is resolved? No. You should hire a consultant who specializes in this problem to save time and money.

They can help with making difficult decisions
Sometimes people’s preferences, passions, or the length of time they have worked on a project can get in the way of good decision-making. Sometimes an independent consultant can be the best person to state the obvious – the current plan may not be the best approach and can provide reasons why.

It can be problematic or politically difficult to disagree with your boss, colleague, or someone in power at the company, and often projects continue well past the point of viability. It may just be the best step forward is to terminate the project and focus resources on something else with a greater chance of success.

They can help reenergize your team or program
The insights consultants have can reinvigorate your internal team and provide new ways of thinking, perspectives, and approaching problems.

The team can also evaluate the advice received and move forward, making additional improvements of their own. Consultants can teach your teams to be more impartial, creative, and see greater market perspectives and the bigger picture.

Finding the right drug development consultants for you

The quality of the advice depends significantly on the consultant. So how do you find qualified experts?

Luckily you don’t have to. Academic research, the pharmaceutical industry, CROs and regulatory agencies provide a multitude of opportunities for individuals to build valuable skills and expertise for hire.

How do you find the best experts? Word of mouth? You know someone who knows someone. This can work. Alternatively, Consultants can be found through trusted partners like MMS. We work with the best pharmaceutical consultants and help identify the best fit for our clients.

Why the right fit is important

We appreciate our consultant’s invaluable expert experience and know they add significant value to our client’s program because our clients tell us so regularly.

By: Jessica Reed, Ph.D., Director of Project Advisory Services

Contact us to see if we can find you an expert or multiple experts. Or, if you are an expert pharma consultant and want to find new clients who are a great fit for your skills, reach out to MMS.

When it comes to pharmaceutical consultants, we absolutely know they are worth it.

To explore how our pharmaceutical experts can help your programs or teams, email us at to be connected to Jessica Reed, Ph.D, our visit the Project Advisory Services Page on our website to learn more.