The present and the future: Strategic partnering to support MSLs

Dr Shambhu Bimal Mandal
2017 International Journal of Scientific Research and Management  
Table of content 1. Business trends and the growing need for an MSL 2. Roles and responsibilities of an MSLs in a life sciences organization 3. Challenges pertaining to the day to day functioning of an MSL 4. Value add for the organization through strategic partnering Business trends and the need for MSLs A study published in 2012 analyzed more than three dozen drug and device companies' Medical Science Liaison (MSL) operations around the world. The study revealed that the top 20 pharmaceutical
more » ... p 20 pharmaceutical organizations invest between $10 million and $48 million to deploy MSLs in the US, Europe and Asia. 1 Field-based Medical Specialist (FBMS) teams are expanding worldwide as part of the industry's increased focus on global operations, particularly emerging markets. The introduction of the MSL function in these geographies is often challenging, as they face different regulations, compliance guidelines and limitations. According to a recent benchmark study, at the top 10 pharmaceutical companies in the U.S., the role of MSL has grown by an average of 76% since 2005. 2 The concept of field-based medical support programs actually originated in 1967 at the Upjohn Company. With increasing sophistication of pharmaceutical drugs, more knowledgeable people were required to ease the exchange of scientific information and build a rapport with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs). Initially, the MSLs were selected from experienced sales representatives who had strong scientific backgrounds with the aim of improving the perception of the company with KOLs, researchers and investigators. With time, the original Upjohn model has evolved and transitioned to field medical based teams. The credit for this transition goes to E. R. Squibb (subsequently Bristol Myers Squibb). In this model, the field-based medical liaison team entirely consisted of doctoral trained health-care providers who interacted with the health-care community on a peer-to-peer basis. As a result of this peer based interaction, the clinically trained field medical personnel enhanced the relationship to focus on advancing standards of care and optimizing patient outcome, not product sales. 3 Roles and responsibilities of MSLs in a life sciences organization What is a MSL? An MSL or FBMS is a healthcare professional who has a defined role within the life sciences industry, i.e. the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device and the CROs. The MSL is a field based position whose objective is to cultivate collaborative relationships with the key opinion leaders (KOLs) and facilitate the communication and exchange of unbiased scientific information between the medical community and the organization. The major objective of the MSL is to establish professional relationships with the health-care community particularly KOLs and maintain peer to peer relationships with HCPs across hospitals, clinics and academic institutions. The other key responsibilities of an MSL are:  Medico-marketing support for product marketing and its implementation.  Facilitate clinical research at the regional level by being the point of contact with clinical investigators, review and follow-up clinical activities.  Support the Pharmacovigilence team by conducting training of doctors and field force.  Prepare scientific presentations for internal and external meetings, gather competitive intelligence and provide input for product life cycle plans.  Interact with regulatory and compliance agencies to ensure that all scientific activities and interactions are conducted within the regulatory guidance's.  Attend medical conferences and also support advisory boards.  Serve as scientific experts to internal colleagues at their organizations. 4
doi:10.18535/ijsrm/v5i5.05 fatcat:7m2syj5s3vervpbrgpy3zaapie