SOURCE: Cutting Edge Information

Cutting Edge Information

November 18, 2015 11:35 ET

36 Percent of Medical Science Liaison Teams in the United States Outsource a Portion of Their Budgets, According to New Study by Cutting Edge Information

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwired - November 18, 2015) - Total spending on medical science liaison (MSL) teams averages $3.7 million annually and accounts for an average 25 percent of the medical affairs budget, according to a recent study by life sciences Intelligence firm Cutting Edge Information. However, given the expertise required for MSL hires, 36 percent of U.S. MSL teams outsource part of their budgets.

Given the difficulty of finding and training MSL hires, building a team is a time-consuming effort. Successful MSLs are experts in both scientific knowledge and communication skills -- a combination that can be challenging to find. Once hired, even the most experienced MSLs require further training on the product's data, the product's therapeutic area and overall presentation skills. Because of this time investment, some companies contract MSLs from third-party vendors.

"Vendors who specialize in supplying third-party MSLs can point to success in mobilizing experienced forces quickly," said Jacob Presson, senior research analyst at Cutting Edge Information. "However, the fact that many contract MSLs are seen as transitional means that turnover rates are very high, which can be prohibitive for companies trying to establish long-term MSL teams."

As a result, teams are divided about whether to outsource MSLs. Medical Affairs Management: Igniting Innovative Global Strategies found that 36 percent of surveyed MSL teams in the United States outsource part of their budgets. Of this 36 percent, though, only one team outsourced its entire budget. Further, only three of 11 U.S. MSL teams have outsourced FTEs, indicating that while some teams find benefits to MSL outsourcing, the majority prefer to build MSL forces in-house.

Medical Affairs Management: Igniting Innovative Global Strategies, available at, analyzes medical affairs subfunction budgets, staffing and outsourcing data, by team region. Report highlights include:

  • Medical affairs team budgets and staffing
  • Medical affairs team structure, including involved subfunctions and strategy development structures
  • Trends affecting medical affairs and its individual subfunctions
  • Stage during which 15 medical affairs subfunctions begin and reach peak activity

For more information about Medical Affairs Management: Igniting Innovative Global Strategies and medical communication team budgets, please visit

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