Medical Science Liaisons: The Unsung MVPs of the Life Science Industry

Sarah Ray, regulatory affairs and safety researcher
By Sarah Ray,
Senior Research Analyst

Earlier this summer, the Chicago Blackhawks secured their third Stanley cup in six years.  The win also marked the first time the Blackhawks had won at home since 1938.  Pretty incredible, right?  Well sure, but the team could not have won without top-notch plays by Corey Crawford, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith — and many others.

Basically, just as an NHL team is only as good as its individual members, life science companies’ medical affairs organizations cannot hope to thrive without ample support from talented medical science liaisons (MSLs). Continue reading



Proving MSL Team Value: Best Practices from ExL’s MASS East 2015

Natalie DeMasi, clinical development and medical affairs researcher
By Natalie DeMasi,
Research Analyst

Proving value is a constant challenge for medical science liaisons (MSLs).  Like many medical affairs subfunctions, MSL teams are developing key performance metrics (KPIs) to illustrate their productivity levels to senior management.  Some teams begrudge this task, not wishing to condense MSL’s activities to mere numbers that may or may not reflect the quality of their work.  Still, many teams are building robust, outcomes-based, multifactorial KPIs that get closer to the heart of MSL value.  Continue reading


Schedule Regular Medical Publications Meetings to Guide Strategy Creation

Victoria Cavicchi, pharmaceutical social media researcher
By Victoria Cavicchi,
Research Analyst

Medical publications meetings are a key communication channel between the internal functions contributing to medical studies and those responsible for creating and distributing abstracts and posters. Regular communication equips companies with the information necessary to meet publications deadlines and to achieve publication goals. However, companies may look to various meeting frequency depending on team size and goals. Continue reading


Consider Expected Attendance to Determine Investigator Meeting Budgets

Victoria Cavicchi, pharmaceutical social media researcher
By Victoria Cavicchi,
Research Analyst

Determining clinical investigator meeting budgets is a key component of meeting planning. To determine the meeting budget, companies typically evaluate the number of attendees, reimbursed items and the cost of reimbursed items per attendee. To build more accurate investigator meeting budgets, companies must be able to identify their expected costs during the planning phase. Continue reading


Following Finalization of EMA Guidance, Clinical Data Transparency Continues to Surge

Sarah Ray, regulatory affairs and safety researcher
By Sarah Ray,
Senior Research Analyst

Clinical data transparency continues to reflect a growing theme across the life sciences industry.  Over the years, many life sciences organizations, including Janssen and Novartis, have established initiatives allowing physicians and other scientific researchers to access clinical research findings through online portals.   Regulatory agencies in the US and Europe alike have also worked to expand existing public access to clinical trial outcomes. Continue reading


Investigator Initiated Studies: Composing Cross-Functional Evaluation Committees

Natalie DeMasi, clinical development and medical affairs researcher
By Natalie DeMasi,
Research Analyst

Approving investigator initiated studies (IIS) is a multi-step process that can be both time-consuming and complicated.  Once an investigator submits an IIS proposal, one pivotal step is for the team’s evaluation committee to assess the proposal for scientific merit, alignment with corporate strategies and investigator credentials – as well as budget and compliance aspects. Continue reading


Upholding Physician Fair-Market Value: It All Starts with a Formal Rate Card

Sarah Ray, regulatory affairs and safety researcher
By Sarah Ray,
Senior Research Analyst

Developing competitive rates, to recruit key industry experts has never been the easiest of tasks for life sciences companies.  Add in the additional complexity associated with Sunshine Act reporting requirements and the recruitment process become even more difficult.  In this heightened regulatory environment, recruiting top-tier physicians and other thought leader types means that companies must balance their desire to remain competitive with adhering to rates that do not fall too far astray of physician fair-market values. Continue reading


MSLs, KPIs and Value: A Numbers Game That Teams Have to Play

Natalie DeMasi, clinical development and medical affairs researcher
By Natalie DeMasi,
Research Analyst

Medical science liaisons (MSLs) are invaluable to the life science industry.  Through interactions with thought leaders, MSLs build relationships with physicians, gain competitive intelligence, learn prescribing behaviors and bolster the company’s public image.  Unfortunately, not all of upper management understands the value that MSLs bring to the internal organization.  In fact, 63% of surveyed MSL teams struggle to prove value to upper management, according to a new report by Cutting Edge Information. Continue reading


MSL Salary Changes: Large Pharma Overtake Small Companies as Most Competitive

Sarah Ray, MSL salary changes researcher
By Sarah Ray,
Senior Research Analyst

By comparing pharmaceutical companies’ reported 2012 and 2014 medical science liaison salaries, Cutting Edge Information found that large and mid-sized pharma teams have replaced small company teams in offering the most competitive average MSL salaries.  Back in 2012, Cutting Edge Information found that small companies offered MSLs the highest average annual salaries (Figures 1 and 2). However, soon-to-be-published research shows that MSL operations have evolved in the past two years. Continue reading