SOURCE: Cutting Edge Information

August 06, 2008 08:33 ET

MSLs Increasingly Target Specialist Physicians for Working Relationships, According to Latest Cutting Edge Information Study

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwire - August 6, 2008) - A recent study released by Cutting Edge Information indicates that as the MSL role changes, so do MSLs' industry contacts. The study found that MSLs now concentrate on establishing contacts with specialties and advanced knowledge in specific therapeutic areas.

MSLs at small companies reported that 82% of their contacts specialize in some area, whether it is a disease, a certain type of a disease or a certain surgery. Mid-sized companies' MSLs reported that 77% fell into the above categories, and 79% of MSLs at large companies indicated the same.

These statistics bear out the study's finding that the role of the MSL has become more science-focused. Many MSL groups now serve a function resembling internal thought leader groups, and companies are now filling the MSL role with personnel who hold advanced scientific degrees and have clinical research experience.

This scientific focus leads MSL groups to establish contacts that will facilitate scientific exploration rather than sales or other promotional causes. Highly trained scientists in MSL roles have both the knowledge set and skills to foster relationships with leading thought leaders and to aid them in their research goals.

"MSLs now act as advisors and facilitators in setting their respective companies' scientific strategies," says Elio Evangelista, lead author of the report. "As field-based scientists, MSLs are in excellent position to remain abreast of new scientific discoveries through their contact with leading researchers. In a sense, they have become intelligence agents for their companies."

The 203-page report was developed from survey and interview data for 30 pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Its findings enable companies to improve their thought leader management by maximizing their MSLs' value, scientific knowledge and relationship-building skills.

This study covers these key aspects of MSL programs:

--  Structure, Budgets and Staffing
--  MSL Qualifications and Performance Measurement
--  Field Force Strategies and Communication

The report contains 500+ metrics, including the following:

--  Number of thought leader relationships by company size
--  Degrees required by MSLs working with PCP thought leaders
--  Breakdowns of thought leader relationships by company size and
    provider category
--  Ratio of MSLs to sales reps

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