Affiliate Article:
Medical Science Liaisons: Biotech’s Special Forces
Author: Jane Chin, Ph.D., President, Medical Science Liaison Institute, LLC


Biotechnology companies with a product commercialization strategy are deploying field-based medical science liaisons (MSLs) to increase awareness of a therapeutic market, support clinical trials, and educate the healthcare community on appropriate product utilization. Attracting experienced MSLs to smaller or younger companies remains a significant challenge for MSL directors. Comprehensive MSL training programs are also lacking at young biotechnology companies, even though directors interviewed in this paper all agreed that training is a key provision to equip MSLs for quality performance. As field-based medical programs are expanding in the biopharmaceutical industry, small MSL teams often compete in the same market dominated by large pharmaceutical MSL forces. Small teams that are staffed with experienced MSLs, trained rigorously on both technical and non-technical competencies, and motivated toward effective teamwork are positioned for success. Medical science liaison directors who proactively communicate with senior management on the value that MSLs bring to their companies are more likely to obtain resources for training and will leverage their MSL programs for growth.

This article provides helpful suggestions that biotech and other science-based companies can use to build their MSL force.

Topics covered include:

  • The challenges
  • Table 1: Critical factors in staffing a successful medical science liaison program
  • Limited talent pool
  • Outsourcing has its limits
  • Practical Solutions
  • Attracting talent
  • Technical and tactical training for MSLs
  • Getting management agreement
  • Optimising teamwork and communication

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Special Supplement
Physician Education
Key Opinion Leaders, Medical Science Liaisons, & CME
A New Addition to the Pharma Marketing News Archives!

PhysEd Supplement Cover OVERVIEW

It’s a new era for pharmaceutical company support of physician education. New guidelines and regulations from various governmental and non-governmental regulatory bodies have come into play during the past few years. The second event defining this new era was the withdrawal of Vioxx from the market in 2004 and the subsequent re-emergence of the importance of physicians as “learned intermediaries.”

More than ever, it is important to educate physicians about new drugs and to keep this education separate from the marketing function of the company yet aligned with commercial goals.

This Special Supplement to Pharma Markeing News is critical reading for pharmaceutical companies and physician education service providers wishing to understand the new roles of key opinion leader physicians (KOLs) and medical science liaisons (MSLs) in the physician education process.


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