SOURCE: Cutting Edge Information

Cutting Edge Information

July 07, 2011 09:24 ET

Less Time in the Field for MSLs Leads to Fewer New KOL Relationships

More Hours Meeting Face-to-Face Boosts Effectiveness of Relationship Development

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwire - Jul 7, 2011) - The less time a medical science liaison (MSL) spends in the field, the less likely she is to build new thought leader relationships, according to Cutting Edge Information.

A recent report, "The New MSL Profile: Internal Thought Leader, External Voice and Clinical Catalyst," found that field medical specialists who are in the field fewer than three days per week spend only 22% of their time building key opinion leader (KOL) relationships. By comparison, MSLs who are in the field an average of four or more days per week spend 49% of their time meeting and communicating directly with key opinion leaders.

"The amount of time an MSL spends in the field dramatically affects his or her ability to work closely with KOLs," said Yanis Saradjian, director of consulting at Cutting Edge Information. "Too much time in the office leads to missed opportunities and wasted effort."

For many organizations, a medical science liaison's primary role is to communicate cutting-edge medical information to thought leaders and collect feedback to advance new treatments and fine-tune clinical efforts. When not in the field, MSLs often spend their time on activities such as developing scientific collateral, training new MSLs and facilitating investigator initiated studies.

But the sheer number of these activities also detracts from the MSLs' ability to build and nurture KOL relationships. The more responsibilities given to the team means a smaller percentage of time dedicated to each activity. On average, large-company MSL teams have more varied responsibilities than their small-company counterparts. This results in smaller slices of the weekly resource pie going to core goals of KOL relationship development.

Cutting Edge Information found that all but one benchmark pharmaceutical company indicated that their MSL teams managed key opinion leader relationships for investigational compounds. At 85% of responding companies, MSLs gather competitive intelligence and communicate it to internal functions. Other activities include sales team training (79%), assisting clinical investigators (79%), and delivering scientific presentations (72%).

"The New MSL Profile: Internal Thought Leader, External Voice and Clinical Catalyst" includes insights about MSL program strategies, tactics and performance metrics. More information is available at

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