The Medical Science Liaison (MSL) is a specific function within the pharmaceutical industry, biotech companies, CROs and other industries involved in health improvement, whose vision is to be the partner of scientific and medical knowledge of choice for outsiders and a valuable member of the team for its internal interlocutors.

Its mission is to be the collaborator of choice that builds and maintains trustworthy medical/scientific relationships with health professionals concerning relevant areas of the disease, medical needs, and treatments, providing value through timely medical/scientific exchange and providing accurate and balanced information and training.

Within this mission is to be the internal medical/scientific expert since he trains and informs, guarantees the accuracy and integrity of promotional material, supports the development of product strategies, and provides guidelines for the company's developing projects, providing medical information about the needs of healthcare professionals.

Their work reinforces integrity with his behavior, acting in a balanced and ethical manner, making him a reliable and credible collaborator.

The MSL must have specific scientific training and proven academic credentials, usually a Doctor's (Ph.D., Medical, or Pharmaceutical) degree in the health sector. This professional usually concentrates his activity in a specific therapeutic area (Cardiology, Oncology, CNS, etc.) and a specific state of the disease.

MSL is vital for the success in your medical science career

This professional acts in all the processes of the life cycle of a product, helping the drug to be used effectively, acts as a scientific collaborator of the doctor and distributes financial resources necessary for the scientific community, he is a direct collaborator of professionals from other departments within the same company, contributing his scientific knowledge and giving his medical/scientific support.

All these functions have a primary objective: to establish and maintain an equal relationship with the doctors and researchers who lead each of the medical specialties in the different hospital and academic institutions.

The MSL was first established in 1967 by Upjohn Pharmaceuticals in response to a need for scientific training directly in the field of the people who worked in the company so that they could make technical reports with the KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) in different therapeutic areas.

Although originally, they were called by Upjohn MSLs, throughout these years and until now, pharmaceutical companies use different names to denominate, what we can understand as the same function, thus they have been called Medical Liaison, Medical Manager, Regional Scientific Manager, Clinical Liaison and Scientific Affairs among others.

The first MSL was originally selected for the Sales Network, which had extensive scientific and clinical knowledge and expertise in working with health professionals in scientific communication. Over the years, MSL teams are made up of sales staff with scientific expertise, nurses, doctors, and other life science professionals, many of whom provide PhDs, postgraduate degrees, and prior clinical experience.

However, this professional requires a continuous training process in the specific pathology where she is developing her work, apart from improving her skills and knowledge in communication, market access, regulatory, pharmacovigilance, clinical trials in particular and clinical studies in general.

Starting in the late 1980s, a small number of companies began requesting many features for their MSL team to contribute to the medical, pharmacy, or doctorate degrees. Although historically, the education standard for the MSL team in the pharmaceutical industry does not require a Doctor's degree, it is currently an increasing requirement for the development of this function.

It is a fact that currently, according to reference studies, approximately 70% of current MSLs holds the degree of Doctor.

Although the functions of MSL are evolving, and it is a relatively small group compared to other sectors of the pharmaceutical industry, these professionals exponentially grow in number and shape. According to studies provided by the pharmaceutical industries, the role of MSL has grown by an average of 76% per year since 2005.

This rapid evolution in the growth of this specific function means that our society needs professionals dedicated to an activity. From my point of view, it is fundamental for the growth and development of the pharmaceutical industry of the 21st century.

Within this evolution, the fundamental principles of the role of the MSL must be marked.

The MSL fulfills its mission:

  • Striving to become the external reference partner and internal medical/scientific expert.
  • In-depth knowledge of real-life medicine to generate data and perspectives that address unmet needs and explain clinical efficacy.
  • Demonstrating integrity in their behavior.
  • While the MSL activities are not promotional in nature or intent, the scope of what is legally considered “advocacy” is so broad that there is a need to increase sensitivity and collaborate closely with the Legal/Compliance and Regulatory departments in relation to Medical Affairs.
  • The MSL provides a high-quality medical service to internal and external interlocutors.
  • The MSL's primary on-site function is the exchange of complex medical and scientific information to ensure the safe and appropriate use of the Company's products and knowledge of diseases.
  • The MSL does not receive incentives or is evaluated based on sales or market share, nor do these metric indicators affect its evaluation.
  • The objectives and activities of the MSL should not be guided by marketing and sales objectives, but by medical needs.

Obtain a certification from Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs (ACMA)

It is an internationally recognized organization, and the most reliable institute to obtain an MSL certification. ACMA is a highly revered name in the market, which continues to offer its glorified certifications to a high number of professionals.

Their certifications open many prospects for MSL professionals who are looking to secure an edge spot and a breakthrough in their careers. The council offers certifications in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and life sciences areas for professionals. ACMA is also known for establishing the first-ever benchmark for the pharmaceuticals for MSL professionals.

Author's Bio: 

Martin Gray is done BSc Degree in MediaLab Arts from the University of Plymouth. He currently lives in New York city. He is a fantastic and reliable content creator with an inspiring and clear vision. He has his own blog on Medium @dailynewnews365