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Archive of Past Roundtable Discussions

Dissemination of Scientific Information: Role of MSLs and KOLs

Date: Thursday, 11 May 2006
Time: 1:00 PM Eastern Time

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 Roundtable discussion was devoted to exploring issues surrounding the new roles of key opinion leader physicians (KOLs) and medical science liaisons (MSLs) in physician education and product marketing.

Some specific topics Roundtable participants discussed include the following:

  • In the marketing-physician influence-physician education-CME continuum, where does the MSL stand today vs yesterday vs tomorrow?
  • Defining the MSL/KOL relationship
  • Disseminating off-label information by MSLs
  • Academic qualifications of MSLs
  • Strategies for managing and distributing KOL published data
  • Determining the value of MSLs
  • Role of MSLs in R&D and product launch
  • Identify the most effective use of MSLs in marketing; what role does the MSL play?

Moderator: John Mack


  • WalterBartus,Sr. Program manager,Xchange
  • MichaelBishop,Exec. Dir., Bus. Dev.,InterAct Communications, LLC
  • JaneChin,President,Medical Science Liaison Institute LLC (Guest)
  • JoeDeBelle,Senior Director of Marketing,Lathian Systems
  • VincentDeChellis,Independent Consultant,NHHS
  • Neil Gray,Managing Director,Healthcare Trends & Strategies, LLC


The Changing World of MSLs: Determining Value
This article is an edited transcript of the May 2006, Pharma Marketing Roundtable discussion, which was devoted to exploring issues surrounding the new roles of medical science liaisons (MSLs) and key opinion leader physicians (KOLs) in physician education and product marketing.