SOURCE: Cutting Edge Information

Cutting Edge Information

April 29, 2010 09:13 ET

New Study Identifies Opportunities for Drug Companies to Measure MSL Performance

Cutting Edge Information's Research Recommends Surveying KOLs

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwire - April 29, 2010) -  Medical science liaison teams have an opportunity to measure and improve their performance by surveying thought leaders on their performance, according to a new study from business research firm Cutting Edge Information.

Cutting Edge Information's report, "The New MSL Profile: Internal Thought Leader, External Voice, and Clinical Catalyst," ( finds that on average, only 39% of U.S. pharma companies and 20% of U.S. medical device companies routinely gather feedback from thought leaders evaluating MSL quality. In other major markets, such as Europe's big five, 36% of drug companies report surveying thought leaders, in-line with U.S. averages.

"MSLs' responsibilities are growing across many areas, but cultivating thought leader relationships remains a key priority," said Jason Richardson, CEO and President of Cutting Edge Information. "We know many MSL program leaders have sought feedback from thought leaders; it's just that we're only now seeing a systematic approach to collecting and using thought leader input for continuous improvement."

The MSL performance metrics that a company uses also depend on its available resources and its maturity. For example, 55% of large- and 44% mid-size companies survey thought leaders. But small and biotech companies -- which often have a small MSL management team in place, if at all -- do so even less; 37% of small companies use this performance metric. None of the surveyed biotechnology companies survey KOLs.

"Thought leader relationships generate research and promotional activities that are beneficial to the company and the physician," Richardson said. "Medical science liaisons need to show how their relationship-building skills are an asset; performance metrics are critical to driving improvement."

Cutting Edge Information's study examines the evolving MSL role. In addition to supporting sales and guiding thought leader development, MSLs are asked to assist other internal groups, particularly across the Medical Affairs realm. CEI's research emphasizes the importance of translating MSLs' qualitative practices into quantitative results.

Developed from survey data and input from more than 50 life sciences firms, the new report provides best practices on MSL activities, thought leader relationship-building, organizational structure, staffing, budgets and compensation.

In addition to its published reports, the company provides customized research and consultation through its MSL Assessment program. For more information, contact Yanis Saradjian at or 919-433-0206.

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