MSL Opportunities Will Grow by 20% in 2017


A 2015 survey by the Medical Science Liaison Society found 20% expected global MSL growth in the next one to two years. What’s driving this growth?

1. “KOLs (key opinion leaders) are demanding it,” says Dr. Samuel Dyer, CEO of the Medical Science Liaison Society. Today’s thought leaders are looking for detailed information as they engage in clinical conversations with life sciences companies.

2. Growing sophistication of pharmaceutical products particularly genomics and orphan drugs. Complex and technical therapeutic categories require scientifically trained medical experts.

3. Needs outside the largest life science companies in biotech, veterinary health and medical device companies. These firms are “leveraging MSLs to educate key physicians in order to reinforce their medical messaging and brand,” says Robert Groebel, VP of Medical Strategy, Veeva Systems in an article on Medical Affairs for Medical Marketing & Media.

4. Doctors getting significant medical value from MSL conversations. The MSL Society found the “average time a traditional sales rep has with a physician is roughly two minutes, but the average time an MSL gets is about an hour.”

5. Transitioning from an exclusively clinical role to a commercial role. MSLs are engaging in conversations with physicians that go beyond the translation of science into health outcomes and real-world effectiveness of drugs expanding their scope and adding real value.

6. Competitive intelligence value. “Because MSLs are engaged in earlier stages of clinical development and trial discussions, they are in a position to gather intelligence that can be quite valuable to an organization and its development efforts,” says Glen Martin, SVP of Medical Sciences at Ashfield, a division of UDG Healthcare.

7. Broadening of customer base from physicians to payers and regulatory agents because of pressure to demonstrate the economic value of a drug.

8. Involvement in the pre-launch phase. Companies are relying on MSL teams during pre-launch activities as well as traditional commercial paths. This early involvement helps to create stakeholders who are already eagerly awaiting the product before launch. This creates great impact and great value for the life sciences company.

Want to find out more about opportunities in the MSL marketplace?

Contact Smith Hanley Associates Executive Recruiter and MSL Practice Lead, Nihar Parikh at

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