As an MSL (Medical Science Liaison), you are a critical component in the Medical Affairs department of a pharmaceutical, biotechnology, or diagnostic company. Your role is to be a field-based clinical and scientific support employee for the organization, providing physicians with the latest medical knowledge and insights about the products they use. This position demands an extensive knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry and an ability to communicate complex scientific information to physicians in a clear and concise manner while bringing back important information to your company.

To be successful in this role, there are three essential things that you should know:

Networking

The importance of networking and building relationships as an MSL is crucial. You must be able to connect with physicians, researchers, key opinion leaders (KOLs), and other healthcare professionals (HCPs) in your field. The more relationships you build, the more influential you will become within the industry. Building relationships enables you to provide your company with valuable insights from HCPs, improve patient outcomes, and help shape the future of healthcare.

Networking is key to building these relationships. MSLs attend conferences, join professional organizations, and travel to HCP institutions and clinics to meet others in your field. They reach out to KOLs and other professionals and ask them to meet for coffee or meal, a phone call, or virtual meeting. They share knowledge and scientific data with them, and learn from their experiences to create insights.

Continuous Learning

Because the science is constantly evolving, MSLs must be of continuously learning and staying up-to-date iIn the product and disease state. You must also understand the competitive landscape and be able to provide physicians with a comprehensive view of the market.

Continuous learning is vital to your success as an MSL. Many do this by attending conferences, reading scientific journals, and participating in online courses and webinars. They seek out opportunities to learn from your peers and mentors and take advantage of internal training programs to stay engaged with their organization’s research and development team.

By continuously learning, MSLs provide physicians with the latest information about the products they use, as well as provide valuable insights to your organization’s medical affairs, research and development, and other cross-functional teams.

Effective Communication

The importance of effective communication as an MSL, is that they are the clinical and scientific support of an organization. Their ability to communicate complex scientific information in a clear and concise manner is critical. You must be able to translate scientific data into clinically-relevant discussions that physicians can use to make informed decisions about patient care.

Effective communication also means understanding your audience. Physicians have different levels of knowledge and expertise, and you must be able to adjust your communication style accordingly. You must also be able to communicate with different stakeholders, including researchers, KOLs, pharmacists, and internal teams.

To improve your communication skills, practice presenting scientific data in a clear and concise manner. Seek feedback from colleagues and mentors, and take courses or attend workshops to improve your skills. By enhancing your communication skills, you will be able to build stronger relationships with physicians, improve patient outcomes, and help shape the future of a product and disease state.

Being an MSL requires a combination of relationship building skills, continuous learning, and effective communication. By focusing on these three essential things, you can become a successful MSL and make a positive impact in your organization.