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


Medical Science Liaison Training: Keeping Up with New Research and New Regulations

Natalie DeMasi, medical science liaison training researcher
By Natalie DeMasi,
Research Analyst

No thought leader management team is complete without a process for medical science liaison training.  Medical science liaisons (MSLs) tweak their knowledge and practices in response to constantly evolving compliance regulations and continuous clinical research.  But, MSLs don’t go it alone.  Companies offer MSLs training to help them keep up with the latest regulations and research.  Perhaps most importantly, medical science liaison training allows a company to standardize MSL processes across its widespread teams. Continue reading


Contacting Medical Information Teams: What Channels Are Physicians and Patients Using?

Victoria Cavicchi, pharmaceutical medical affairs researcher
By Victoria Cavicchi,
Research Analyst

It’s no secret that our communication practices continually evolve to match our communication capabilities. Why write a letter when you can make a phone call? Or call when you can send an email or text message? Why not use any number of social channels to reach out to, not just people you know, but the companies that you support?  Medical information teams must now take on the daunting task of meeting customers — both patients and physicians — where they operate, while still remaining compliant.

Many pharma companies’ medical information teams receive requests via a number of different channels, including telephone, email, social media and fax.  Physicians may also submit inquiries through intermediaries such as sales reps and medical science liaisons (MSLs). While traditional channels — telephone and reps — remain prominent, digital channels are gaining traction.  One interviewed call center manager noted, “I’d say that just as recently as 3 or 4 years ago, three-fourths of our medical inquiries came in on fax or letter or phone call. Now I’d say that over two-thirds come in by email.” Continue reading


What’s In A Name? How Functional MSL Titles Encompass the Role

Ryan McGuire, lifecycle management tactics expert
By Ryan McGuire,
Research Analyst

The MSL role should be an easy to define. But if that’s the case, why do MSL titles vary so widely across the pharmaceutical industry? Besides medical science liaisons, there are also regional medical liaisons, clinical science liaisons and regional scientific liaisons.  Independent of their actual title, they all perform the same essential duties — bridging the gap between pharmaceutical companies and the medical community.  On the surface, the definition of an MSL is quite logical; however, once you take into account all of the typical responsibilities, the MSL role begins to look quite complex. Continue reading


Are You Ready to Optimize Your Medical Publications Department?

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

Within the life sciences industry, medical publications groups are tasked with a critical responsibility: sharing company findings and new scientific brand support details with the healthcare community.  To ensure that these key medical communications groups are working efficiently, companies should provide them with the resources needed to meet demands.  Whether teams are responsible for 5 or 500 publications per year, companies should right-size the staffing and budgets allocated to these efforts.  They should also consider company structure. Cutting Edge Information’s recent study on medical publications departments highlights how top-performing pharmaceutical and device organizations resource and measure performance across various high- and low-output team structures. Continue reading



Pharma Key Opinion Leader Development Requires a Personal Touch

Jacob Presson, pharmaceutical market access researcher
By Jacob Presson,
Senior Research Analyst

At a recent conference I attended focused on pharma advisory boards, one of the presentations focused on KOL relationships and best practices for maintaining effective contact with thought leaders.  One of the key takeaways for me in terms of pharma key opinion leader development was the need to ensure that there is a personal touch to communications.  This corroborated a lot of what we’ve seen here in our research at Cutting Edge Information.  Continue reading


Surveyed Companies Reveal Pharmaceutical Ad Board Costs

David Richardson, pharmaceutical commercialization and launch expert
By David Richardson,
Director of Research

Ad boards – and the related issue of ad board costs – are growing areas of interest in the life sciences industry. A sampling of companies surveyed by Cutting Edge Information recently reported their spending for an average pharmaceutical ad board conducted in the US. Among surveyed companies, the average multinational clinical ad board convened in the US costs $129,000. A US national clinical ad board costs these same companies an average of $78,000 while a local ad board costs an average of $36,000. Continue reading


The Value of Medical Affairs Lies in Its Ties to Patient Care

Elio Evangelista, physician fair-market value expert
By Elio Evangelista,
Senior Director

A theme that emerged at World Congress Second Annual Summit on The Evolving Role of Medical Affairs and Thought Leader Engagement in an Era of Transparency, held in Philadelphia from May 20 to 21, is that medical affairs teams face universal challenges — regardless of whether they’re housed within large Top 50 drug makers, small specialty biotechs or medical device companies. The greatest challenge to these teams is not necessarily the effects of new transparency regulations, but rather, the same internal obstacle that these teams have faced for decades: how to prove their value to senior leadership. Many speakers sounded a common connection: the ties between medical affairs and patient care are where the department can best show its value.

The presentations delivered by some of the industry’s most experienced medical affairs leaders highlighted several key themes that underscore common challenges Continue reading


Small Pharma KOL Management Leans Heavily on Existing Networks Within Companies

Jacob Presson, pharmaceutical market access researcher
By Jacob Presson,
Senior Research Analyst

When it comes to managing and nurturing thought leader relationships and specifically the process of identifying key opinion leaders, companies have several options. Many choose to outsource the identification process and contact KOLs once they’ve been identified by the third-party vendor. For larger and mid-sized companies that are looking to expand into new therapeutic areas or geographic regions, vendors provide an extremely valuable and effective service. Continue reading