RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwired - January 13, 2015) - Medical science liaisons (MSLs) maintain anywhere from 20 to 100 relationships with key opinion leaders (KOLs). In addition, MSLs perform an average 16 activities in support of investigational products and 18 activities in support of marketed products. However, pharmaceutical intelligence provider Cutting Edge Information reports that, despite these heavy workloads, MSL teams struggle to prove their value to executives outside the medical affairs function. 

MSL teams often rely on a number of key performance indicators (KPIs) to help illustrate value, including number of KOL relationships, number of total KOL interactions and number of scientific presentations delivered. Other metrics that are deemed helpful to proving value include number of IIT proposals submitted and number of publications facilitated. MSL managers can also report metrics that speak to the quality of thought leader engagement, such as average time spent in face-to-face meetings and the number of KOL feedback surveys collected. 

"An MSL's primary responsibility is relationship-management and, therefore, qualitative by nature," said Ryan McGuire, Research Team Leader at Cutting Edge Information. "However, because many executives want to see value measured in quantitative, bottom-dollar terms, some MSLs are tracking 10 or more KPIs." 

According to a new study called Capture and Communicate the Full Value of Medical Science Liaisons: Refining Global MSL Strategy with Compelling KPIs, MSL teams in the US are regularly tracking twice as many KPIs as they did in 2012 and European teams are tracking 60% more metrics. 

Capture and Communicate the Full Value of Medical Science Liaisons, available at provides MSL teams with KPIs they can benchmark against, as well as best practices that top pharmaceutical companies use to demonstrate liaison value to company stakeholders. Other key questions answered by this benchmarking study include:

  • How do MSL teams justify their existence?
  • How do MSL teams make a case for maintaining or increasing annual budgets?
  • What are some interteam communication strategies between MSLs and sales reps at top companies?
  • What activities should MSLs focus on prior to/post product launch? 

To learn more about Cutting Edge Information's medical affairs research, please visit

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Rachel Shockley
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