SOURCE: Cutting Edge Information

Cutting Edge Information

October 12, 2010 09:02 ET

Medical Science Liaisons' Responsibilities Evolve Beyond Traditional Roles

As Teams Grow More Sophisticated, MSLs Shift to Address a Broader Range of Critical Tasks, Finds Cutting Edge Information

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwire - October 12, 2010) -  Medical and scientific information groups have developed into a distinct channel for communicating with physicians, according to Life Science consulting firm Cutting Edge Information. 

Data from the newly released study, "The New MSL Profile: Internal Thought Leader, External Voice, and Clinical Catalyst," show that MSLs (medical science liaisons) in a growing number of life science companies spend substantially less time directly supporting sales teams than they previously did. "As teams grow larger and more sophisticated, MSLs shift to address a broader range of tasks," said Jason Richardson, president of Cutting Edge Information.

"Mounting concern about potential conflicts of interest has meant stronger firewalls between MSLs and sales teams," Richardson said.

MSLs have long been a part of life science sales success. As medical teams first developed, many companies saw MSLs solely as complements to sales reps. But over time, many companies have shifted their MSL groups' focus to other key activities, including:

  • Key Opinion Leader relationship-building and long-term management
  • Clinical support, both pre-launch and post-launch
  • Handling off-label questions from a growing number of avenues, including social networks, to maximize physician support and also ensure regulatory compliance

Sales support is now just one part of the MSL's job. Rather than prioritizing each one-off request from a rep or physician, medical and commercial teams coordinate to provide the best service to doctors while also supporting top-line corporate goals.

That sometimes means prioritizing certain questions over others or planning to visit doctors if a query is concentrated in a particular geographic area.

Individual MSL professional development and MSL team performance measurement are major challenges. Straightforward off-label discussions still play a prominent role in their day-to-day lives. Any valid therapeutic application is an exciting prospect for drugmakers, physicians and patients. So, for MSLs, sales support remains critical -- even as their roles develop and evolve.

"The New MSL Profile: Internal Thought Leader, External Voice, and Clinical Catalyst" (http://www.cuttingedgeinfo.com/msl/) includes insights from both large and small MSL Programs into the strategies, tactics and performance metrics that are driving today's most effective KOL and physician relationship programs.

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