SOURCE: Cutting Edge Information

May 06, 2008 10:57 ET

Increasing Industry Demands Require 94% of MSL Job Candidates Have Master's Degree, Says New Study by Cutting Edge Information

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwire - May 6, 2008) - New data recently released by intelligence firm Cutting Edge Information reveals significant trends in MSL job requirements. The study finds that 94% of companies require at least a master's degree, while 80% of companies demand that an applicant have a doctoral degree such as MD PhD, PharmD or PhD.

For applicants with a master's degree, the requisite amount of experience sits much higher than for those with doctoral degrees. Many companies require applicants with only master's degrees to have more than a decade of experience. Those applicants with doctoral degrees are often still required to have approximately five years experience, preferably as investigators, practicing physicians or MSLs.

"MSLs that function as super-sales reps or strictly sales support still exist, but such a role is no longer the norm," says Elio Evangelista, lead author of the report. "With regulation severing the tie between medical affairs and sales -- and by extension -- MSLs and sales, MSLs are now relied upon for their scientific and clinical trial expertise. In many cases, they fill a highly strategic educational role."

MSLs benefit their companies by educating doctors beyond facts learned on cue cards. In fact, companies now look for personnel with the experience to talk to physicians on a peer-to-peer basis. MSLs no longer make sales calls, but come at physicians' requests for educational updates. They also provide a link between the company and physicians for potential research partnerships. In this way, MSLs foster a two-way relationship with the medical community.

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

Download a complimentary report summary here:

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