The Medical Science Liaison (MSL) is a unique job profile available in the drug and medical device development companies typically pharmaceutical companies and Contract Research Organizations. Medical Science Liaisons usually have advanced degrees in the life sciences or pharmacy. They focus on a particular area of medicine such as Oncology, Cardiology, Endocrinology etc.
People working in this position are crucial for achieving the goals of a company. They provide support in a product’s development, marketing, and help to make certain that the product is used effectively as intended. MSLs also function as scientific peers and are a great resource for medical and healthcare fraternity. That said, the main function of the MSL role is to build and sustain peer-peer relationships with top medical practitioners, also known to as Key Opinion Leaders (KOL’s), at key academic centers and hospitals.
The concept of a Medical Science Liasion was first introduced by Upjohn Pharmaceuticals in the nineteen sixties. It was their way of responding to the need for field staff with a scientific background that would have the ability to create rapport with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) in several areas of medical research. As this function kept evolving organizations have used many different names to describe this job profile. Medical Liaisons, Medical Managers and Scientific Affairs Managers to name a few. Initially, MSLs were picked from skilled sales staff that had robust medical backgrounds to bring a greater degree of clinical and academic know-how to the medical specialists they were working with. Nowadays MSL teams comprise of people with various scientific backgrounds such as: medical representatives, individuals with nursing backgrounds, Ph.D degrees or other medical qualifications. The necessary educational and scientific background, as well as the objectives of the MSL function, have steadily evolved over the last few decades.
In 1980’s, many firms started to employ as MSLs only those who had a higher degree such as an M.D., PharmD., or Ph.D even though, traditionally, the industry did not demand MSLs to have these qualifications. Today individuals with any higher degree in life sciences who have undergone training specific to medical affairs are given preference and are considered eligible to apply, although having a medical degree is a plus.
Since the last few years there has been a rapid increase in the number of MSL positions available in the industry. As reported in a recent benchmark study, at the top ten drug companies in the U.S., the MSL role has grown by more than 75% in the last decade. Companies are looking for people with the right training and education.
If you are someone considering a career as a Medical Science Liasion (MSL) and don’t know how to become one, you may contact the online counselors available on the James Lind Institute’s website. They will review your qualification / work experience etc and recommend you the right training program that will significantly improve your chances of getting the breakthrough you are looking for.
In general, for anyone who wants to become a Medical Science Liasion, we recommend our program: Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Pharmaceutical Medicine. This program covers all important aspects of the job profile of a MSL such as drug and device development, marketing, KOL management etc and is highly accepted in the industry.
To know more about this internationally accredited online program visit the following link: Medical Science Liason Training