Picture of Benchmarking Pharma's MSL Capabilities

Benchmarking Pharma's MSL Capabilities

October 2018


Are you convinced your MSL teams are keeping up with evolving market practice?

The best medical science liaison (MSL) teams have made significant changes to adapt to a whole new world. The pharma companies getting the best results from their MSLs have been busy: widening their remit, embracing technology, and fine-tuning structure and focus. What does a forward-thinking MSL team now look like?

In March 2018, we interviewed 8 MSL leads from pharma companies in the US and Europe and found out how their MSL teams are staying current.

  • How are MSL activities and priorities shifting in response to regulatory changes and funding restrictions?
  • What can be done to keep and develop talented MSLs as the role becomes increasingly complex?
  • Is there an optimum MSL team set-up? How many people; how many brands; when in the lifecycle is MSL introduced?
  • How should digital tools be used for to deliver practical results rather than expensive promises?
  • How can MSLs more cleverly collaborate and communicate internally whilst still maintaining the all-important commercial/MA firewall?
  • What are the most current ways to measure MSL performance and demonstrate value?


What to expect from this report

This is your chance to compare. Find out if your MSLs are doing enough of the right activities in Benchmarking Pharma's MSL Capabilities.

Scientific discussions with doctors are key – but a more sophisticated, structured and strategic role is now needed. We've found out how the new breed of multi-faceted MSLs are performing. This is the most current thinking available - entirely new qualitative research based on interviews conducted in March 2018. You definitely won't read these current insights anywhere else.

  • We identified the 14 MSL issues which are front of mind right now
  • We explored these via an average of 30 targeted questions put to each expert
  • Their responses provided 55 unique new insights
  • Insights are supported by 95 directly quoted comments

Example insight included in Benchmarking Pharma's MSL Capabilities

The need for on-demand MSLs is rising; HCPs want instant access to information and remote engagement will be a game changer in the future as medical affairs teams respond to this change. With a majority of physicians searching for information online about a particular product while the patient is with them, medical information must be quickly accessible. Pharma companies have an opportunity to harness technology that will direct people to the credible scientific information on their website, rather than just leaving it to a generic search engine and risk HCPs not finding accurate information. Companies must be agile to keep up with these demands, using digital technology, for example to provide on-demand MSLs, click-to-chat or intelligent rerouting, to provide the right amount of information to the customer as and when they demand it.


Example quote included in Benchmarking Pharma's MSL Capabilities

"In the past couple of years, we ran a couple of pilot projects with virtual reality, where we utilised 3D Google Glass with short videos on the mechanism of action for a specific drug, trying to identify whether our customers, or at least some of them, would learn faster and appreciate that short inversion into virtual reality… Some of the customers were not interested and others were… There's no one size that will fit all of our customers. But, having those tools is very important and it's about the MSL's ability to be flexible, and to tailor their interaction to particular customers."


The expert panel for Benchmarking Pharma's MSL Capabilities

  • Mark Rees-Saunders, Medical Affairs Excellence Lead, AstraZeneca UK
  • Senior MSL Manager, Top 10 Pharma Company, UK
  • MSL Director, Specialty Pharma Company, UK
  • Carmen Sanchez Puyol, MSL Manager Spain and Portugal, Clovis Oncology
  • Medical Science Liaison Manager, Top 10 Pharma Company, US
  • Director, Oncology Medical Science Liaisons, Specialty Pharma Company, US
  • Executive Director and Head of Medical Science Liaisons, Specialty Pharma Company, US
  • Associate Director MSL & Medical Digital Transformation, Top 20 Pharma Company, US