Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

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Description: This position paper outlines the role of MSLs and proposes strategic and operational recommendations to boost their performance, while also complying with regulations. MSLs are the field team of medical affairs in pharma companies, who are dedicated to the development of relationships with KOLs and to high-level scientific communications. MSLs are often asked to cover a large scope of activities in collaboration with both internal and external stakeholders.

 
Author: SMART PHARMA CONSULTING  | Visits: 314 | Page Views: 453
Domain:  Medicine Category: Practice Mngmnt 
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Contents:
Medical Science Liaisons
- A New Strategic Lever -

Recommendations to Boost MSLs’ Performance
February 2016

Smart Pharma Consulting

1, rue Houdart de Lamotte – 75015 Paris – France
Tel.: +33 6 11 96 33 78 – Fax: +33 1 45 57 46 59
E-mail: jmpeny@smart-pharma.com - Website: www.smart-pharma.com

Smart Pharma Consulting

Introduction

This position paper outlines the role of MSLs and proposes strategic and operational
recommendations to boost their performance, while also complying with regulations
Context & Objective


Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs) play a pivotal role to maintain a close relationship with KOLs
(Key Opinion Leaders), also called TLs (Thought Leaders) who are instrumental in:
– Developing new products through their collaboration in pre-clinical and / or clinical trials
– Raising the awareness and the preference of HCPs (Health Care Professionals) but also of health
authorities, PAGs (Patient Advocacy Groups), individual patients, etc., for their products



The increasing role of MSLs results mainly from:
– New molecular entities that are becoming more and more complex…
– … and that are mainly prescribed by specialists who are less and less inclined to meet medical reps
– Increasing regulatory constraints



In this position paper, Smart Pharma Consulting:
– Analyzes the current role and responsibilities of MSLs1
– Proposes a process, tools and…
– Makes strategic recommendations…
… to boost MSLs’ performance

Sources: Smart Pharma Consulting analysis
Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

1 Based

2

February 2016

on literature review and on interviews with 5 MSLs

Smart Pharma Consulting

1. MSLs’ current role & responsibilities

MSLs are the field team of medical affairs in pharma companies, who are dedicated to
the development of relationships with KOLs and to high-level scientific communications
Overview

MSLs: Medical Science Liaisons1

Core activities2 of MSLs

 In the context of science-driven specialty and hospital
care, the industry is increasing its efforts and investments
towards partnerships and medical information by
implementing MSL teams

1

 MSLs are one of pharma companies’ field teams dedicated
to enhance the full exchange of scientific information with
physicians, especially with KOLs

Build
relationships
with KOLs
(and other HCPs)

5
Gather and report
competitive
intelligence data

 MSLs have a more robust scientific background than
medical representatives, such as: MSc, MD, Pharm. D.,
PhD degrees (90% of them have a doctorate degree)

2
Make scientific
communications
(congresses, staff,
symposia, etc.)

 MSLs were first established by Upjohn Pharmaceuticals
(now Pfizer) in 1967 with the objective to build a strong
relationship with KOLs

 The central activity of MSLs is to develop long-term, peer-topeer relationships with KOLs
4

 MSLs are in most cases affiliated to the medical affairs
department (vs. med reps. affiliated to the sales / marketing
department)

Sources: MSL Society – “An insight into the emerging role of regional medical advisor in the
pharmaceutical industry”, Perspectives in Clinical Research, 2013 – Smart Pharma Consulting analysis
Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

3

Ensure trainings
(of speakers, med.
reps. and new
MSLs)

Support trials
(both company
sponsored and
investigator initiated)

3

1 Other

names than MSLs can be used by pharmaceutical companies such as: Medical Liaisons,
Regional Medical Managers, Regional Scientific Managers, Scientific Affairs Managers, Medical
Information Scientists, Clinical Liaisons – 2 Excluding administrative time
February 2016

Smart Pharma Consulting

1. MSLs’ current role & responsibilities

MSLs are often asked to cover a large scope of activities in collaboration with both
internal and external stakeholders
MSLs’ detailed core activities
 Identification, selection and collaboration with KOLs: setting-up of boards, organization
and participation in scientific information meetings, development of continuous medical
education (CME) projects, patients or physicians associations funding, etc.
 Management of Investigator Initiated Studies (IIS)1: requests processing and follow-up
 Invitations to congresses / symposia, etc.
 Presence in congresses and
attendance to competitors’
presentations
 Desk research: on competitors, on
therapeutic areas and critical review
of scientific papers
 Medico-economic research
 Training of med. reps. and
certifications
 Training of other functions, such as
marketing, in some companies
 Training of speakers
communicating on companies’
products / therapeutic areas, etc.
 Writing of supports for FAQ&O2

1

Build relationships
with KOLs
(and other HCPs)

5

2

Gather and report
competitive
intelligence data

Make scientific
communications
(congresses, staff,
symposia, etc.)

4

Ensure trainings
(of speakers, med.
reps. and new
MSLs)

Support trials
(both company
sponsored and
investigator initiated)

Source: “An insight into the emerging role of regional medical advisor in the pharmaceutical industry”,
Perspectives in Clinical Research, 2013 – Interviews with 5 MSLs – Smart Pharma Consulting analysis
Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

4

1 Also

3

 Answers to certain HCPs’ medical
questions (through med. reps.)
 Participation in scientific information
meetings (staffs, face to face, etc.)
for on- and off-label indications,
therapeutic area and pipeline
 Presentation of studies in
congresses / symposia
 Identification of needs and
demands of KOLs for IIS
 Identification of high potential
centers and investigators for
company-sponsored clinical trials
 Support for studies implementation
and follow-up jointly with Clinical
Research Associates (CRAs)

called: Investigator-Initiated Trials or IIT – 2 Frequently Asked Questions & Objections
February 2016

Smart Pharma Consulting

1. MSLs’ current role & responsibilities

Building relationships with KOLs and training HCPs or colleagues account together
for ~55% to 60% of MSLs’ activity in both pre- and post-launch settings
MSLs’ time allocation per core activities
MSLs share the same core activities from one company to another,
but there could be important variabilities in planning and duties

Pre-launch product

Post-launch product

Other¹
17%

Other²
25%

Building
relationships
with KOLs
35%

Competitive
intelligence
7%

Building
relationships
with KOLs
45%

Competitive
intelligence
5%
Training
19%

Support for
trials
10%

Training
13%

Scientific
communication
12%

Support for
Scientific
trials
communication
6%
6%

Number of respondents: 11 pharma companies

Number of respondents: 11 pharma companies

¹ Including pre-launch transversal activities with marketing or medical teams, etc. –
² Including support to other field forces, participation in internal advisory boards, etc.

Sources: "Aligning the Activities and Goals of Medical Science Liaison Teams for Strengthened
Corporate Sustainability", MSL World – Interviews with 5 MSLs – Smart Pharma Consulting analysis
Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

5

February 2016

Smart Pharma Consulting

1. MSLs’ current role & responsibilities

MSLs must support KIMs who facilitate regional market access of brands, KAMs who
ensure their listing at hospital level and marketing and sales reps who promote them
The transversal role of MSLs
Key interactions with
corporate medical affairs
 Medical strategy:
Determined by
corporate medical
affairs and translated
locally by MSLs

 Brand teams: Integration of MSLs’ key activities/actions
 Coordination: Between marketing’s and MSLs’ projects with KOLs
 Training: MSLs may train marketing teams on medical issues

 Coordination:
Between corporate’s
and MSLs’ projects with
KOLs, especially
regarding companysponsored clinical trials
and IIS¹
 Training: Corporate
medical affairs ensure
the continuous training
of MSLs
 Field feedback: On
future KOLs, on clinical
trial centers needs, on
frequent medical
questions / objections,
etc.

Key interactions with
sales team
 Medical information:
To answered scientific
questions / objections

Key interactions with marketing

 Local scientific
events: staffs and
scientific meetings coorganization (med.
reps. for the logistic
part, MSLs for the
scientific part)

MSLs

Key interactions with Key
Account Managers (KAMs)

Key interactions with Key
Institution Managers (KIMs)

Increasing number of interactions
between MSLs and KAMs:

KIMs, who interact with regional
health authorities and payers, may
ask for MSLs help to highlight the
medical or even medico-economic
profile / benefit of a brand or of a TA2

 Scientific presentations of
MSLs during hospital listing
processes

”MSLs now serve as a bridge between our clinical, scientific and commercial teams
and even help drive greater patient-centricity” Head of medical affairs, Shire

Source: “The changing role of the modern MSL”, Pharmaceutical Market Europe, October 2015 –
Interviews with 5 MSLs – Smart Pharma Consulting analysis
Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

 Training: Med. reps.
on scientific / medical
environment related to
the promoted brand
 Local medical and
commercial strategy:
Development of
Integrated Regional
Strategic Plans and
monthly follow-up
meetings

¹ Investigator Initiated Studies – 2 Therapeutic Area

6

February 2016

Smart Pharma Consulting

1. MSLs’ current role & responsibilities

MSLs are not allowed to promote products, however, they can discuss their off-label
use from an objective perspective and in response to a demand from HCPs
Compliance issues regarding MSLs
Current situation analysis

Focus on off-label prescription

 The main mission of MSLs is to build collaborative
relationships with KOLs and to facilitate the exchange of
unbiased scientific information between them and the
company

 Off-label prescription is a common practice, particularly in
fields where the approved treatments do not provide
satisfactory results (e.g. oncology, psychiatry) or for a subset
of the patients population, such as children

 Unlike medical representatives, MSLs are not allowed to
promote their company’s products…

 Under certain circumstances, and according to more or less
well-defined procedures, depending on the country, it is
allowed for physicians to prescribe some products off-label
(e.g. Early Access Programs1 in Europe or Expended Access
Programs in the USA)

 … but can exchange unrestrictedly unbiased scientific
information regarding the products and the related therapeutic
areas

 Off-label promotion by pharmaceutical companies is banned

 MSLs’ activities are not subject to specific laws or regulations

 In practice, if KOLs or other HCPs ask questions regarding
off-label indications, MSLs should respond factually

 Like any other employees of the company they belong to,
MSLs are supposed to comply with:

 It is not recommended for MSLs to pro-actively communicate
about off-label indications, even if the communication is based
on scientific evidence, this could be considered as disguised
promotion

– International and national regulations
– The industry codes of practice

 To protect their corporate reputation and their own employees
and to prevent to be fined, companies such as Bristol-Myers
Squibb have written SOPs2 that clarify the Do’s and Don’ts in
terms of compliance for employees, including for MSLs

– The accepted standards of best practice
– The company’s compliance procedures
Sources: “MSL-KOL Engagement”, FirstWord Dossier June 2011 – MSL Institute – Smart Pharma
Consulting analysis
Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

1

7

Two types: Compassionate Use Programs (CUPs) or Named-Patient Programs (NPPs) – 2 Standard
Operating Procedures
February 2016

Smart Pharma Consulting

1. MSLs’ current role & responsibilities

In general, MSLs’ activity is not regulated by dedicated texts and they are not subject
to the same restrictions as medical representatives
Regulatory framework relative to MSLs’ activities – The French case
Interaction
with HCPs

Medical
representatives

MSLs

Subject to med.
reps. charter

Promotional
communication

Off-label
communication

Brand name
communication





X



X

X



X

Proactive
(Unsolicited
communications)

Reactive
(Only solicited
communications)

For medical
information,
MSLs interact
with HCPs only
after being
solicited for a
specific subject


… in that
context, MSLs
are not subject
to med. reps.
charter signed
between the
CEPS¹ and the
LEEM²…

… therefore
promotional
communication
is banned of
MSLs duties…

Sources: Charte de la visite médicale, October 2014 – Interviews with 5 MSLs – Smart Pharma
Consulting analysis
Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

… but it is
allowed to
communicate
regarding offlabel indications
in response to a
request from
HCPs, only …

1

8

… and it is
authorized to
communicate
about products
under INN only
(brand names
being banned)

Other regulations re.
MSLs’ activities
 Unsolicited joint visits of
MSLs and of med. reps. to
HCPs are banned
 In the presence of both MSLs
and med. reps. to a same
event, the latter should leave
any discussion regarding offlabel indications
 MSLs can not be incentivized
on sales

Control from companies’
compliance department
 The activity of all field forces
should be recorded in the
CRM systems of the pharma
company
 A systematic control of the
compliance department
should be performed for each
activity of MSLs
 Enforcement measures
should be defined and
communicated in advance to
MSLs

CEPS: French drugs prices regulation authority – 2 LEEM: French pharma companies association
– 3 INN: International Nonproprietary Names
February 2016

Smart Pharma Consulting

1. MSLs’ current role & responsibilities

MSLs teams face recurrent issues that can be addressed if pharma companies
implement the relevant actions
Six main issues facing MSLs teams
Key issue

What to do?

 Role confusion persists in the mind of some
HCPs / KOLs

 Information campaigns should be implemented to
inform stakeholders of the distinctive role of MSLs
 The information should be provided through calls

1

Distinction from
sales / marketing

2

Disconnection with
corporate initiatives

 Initiatives initiated by corporate (clinical trials,
etc.) are not always well coordinated with MSLs
teams

 The coordination should be improved by
implementing standard communication processes
and rules

3

Distraction from
core activities

 MSLs, for being well trained and effective
professionals, can contribute to tasks such as
health economics, outcomes research, etc.

 A clear definition of MSLs’ responsibilities should
be made to all internal stakeholders through
information campaigns and the objectives for each
of them should be quantified in MSLs’ action plans

4

Extensive
geographical zones

 MSLs teams are small; therefore they have to
cover large geographic areas and must
undertake frequent travels

 The use of alternative communication technologies
such as web conferencing, e-mailing,
teleconferences, etc., should be considered

5

Complex regulatory
environment

 Government agencies keep on scrutinizing on
how products are promoted by pharma
companies

 Pharma companies should focus on MSLs’
compliance…
 … which should be carefully monitored

6

Trend towards
specialization

 The development of secondary care products
and the increasing complexity of science lead
to major training requirements for MSLs

 Pharma companies should keep on investing on
their MSLs’ scientific training

Sources: "Implementing a MSL team", Publicis Touchpoint – "Aligning the Activities and Goals of
Medical Science Liaison Teams for Strengthened Corporate Sustainability ", MSL World – Interviews
with 5 MSLs – Smart Pharma Consulting analysis
Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

9

February 2016

Smart Pharma Consulting

1. MSLs’ current role & responsibilities

MSLs’ most important challenge is certainly to create highly valued interactions and
trusted collaborative relationships with KOLs to support companies and products
MSLs’ challenges – Required skills – Expected outputs
MSLs’
challenges

 Keeping up with the latest scientific information
 Building strong and sustainable relationships with KOLs
 Managing multiple and diversified tasks

Required skills

 Complying with national regulations and internal
code of conducts
 Ensuring effective coordination with collaborators

Expected outputs

 Excellent scientific knowledge and understanding to carry out
peer-to-peer discussions during interactions with KOLs

 Ability to inform, challenge and / or convince KOLs based on robust
and updated scientific evidence

 Strong communication skills to properly position:
– A company’s therapeutic expertise
– A given product at pre- or post-launch stage

 Convince KOLs to carry out research or clinical studies
 Convince KOLs to support the company’s products

 Ability to manage projects with KOLs (e.g. while supporting
investigators-initiated studies or company-sponsored clinical trials)

 Identification of clinical research opportunities with KOLs
 Effective implementation of clinical research trials

 Ability to train / teach and / or develop support documents for
companies’ collaborators and / or HCPs
 Capture and share insight gathered through interactions between
KOLs’ and all customer-facing teams

 Improvement of participants knowledge, understanding of the
disease area and of the benefits of the company’s products
 Profiling and selecting the relevant KOLs to partner with
 Fulfilling of KOLs needs related to MSL activities

 Cooperate and coordinate activities with other customer-facing
collaborators and corporate teams interacting with KOLs

 MSLs being the preferential contact of KOLs, they will ensure
consistent interactions and address potential issues

 Comply with national regulations and ethical considerations
regarding disseminated information (e.g. off-label)

 Prevent the company to be sued and to be fined

 Ability to manage time, set priorities and adjust unforeseen
changes inherent to MSLs’ job

 Timely and proper execution of multiple tasks under the
responsibility of MSLs

Sources: “The changing role of the modern MSL” Pharmaceutical Market Europe October 2015 –
Smart Pharma Consulting analysis
Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

10

February 2016

Smart Pharma Consulting

2. MSLs’ performance management

MSLs’ activities should be integrated in a Regional Strategic Plan to ensure synergies
with marketing, sales, market access and patient compliance departments’ activities1
Integrated Regional Strategic Plan – Principle

Integrated
National Strategic Plan

Integrated
Regional Strategic Plan

“Men differ less in their abilities…

“Men differ less in their abilities…

… than the degree to which they use them”

… than the degree to which they use them”

December 2015

December 2015

Smart Pharma Consulting

Smart Pharma Consulting

1, rue Houdart de Lamotte – 75015 Paris – France
Tel.: +33 6 11 96 33 78 – Fax : +33 1 45 57 46 59
E - mail: jmpeny@smart -pharma.com
Website : www.smart - pharma.com

1, rue Houdart de Lamotte – 75015 Paris – France
Tel.: +33 6 11 96 33 78 – Fax : +33 1 45 57 46 59
E -mail: jmpeny@smart - pharma.com
Website : www.smart - pharma.com

Medical Section

Marketing & Sales Section

 Collaborators: MSLs
 Key clients: national and regional KOLs
 Key objectives: build strong and sustainable
relationships with KOLs to develop advocacy
 Key activities: regular interactions with
KOLs, scientific lectures at congresses,
symposia, staff meetings, support of research
clinical trials, training of speakers and
collaborators from marketing and sales teams,
support of Key Institution Managers (KIM)
while meeting their clients, competitive
intelligence initiatives

 Collaborators: brand managers, area managers, medical
representatives
 Key clients: physicians, retail and hospital pharmacists
 Key objectives: strengthen brand preference
 Key activities:
– Marketers: crafting of a brand preference strategy
leveraging: brand attributes, perceived quality of
associated services and corporate reputation
– Sales forces: medical calls, invitations to medical
meetings, congresses and proposal for services likely to
strengthen brand preference

1 In

Sources: Smart Pharma Consulting
Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

11

Access & Compliance Section
 Collaborators: Key Account Managers
(KAMs) and Key Institution Managers (KIMs)
 Key clients: regional health authorities,
regional payers, hospital directors, hospital
purchase managers, PAGs2, etc.
 Key objectives: facilitate the hospital listing,
and improve patient compliance
 Key activities: development of medicoeconomic studies to facilitate the market
access of brands and support of projects to
improve patients compliance, to promote the
proper use of drugs

compliance with the national regulation and the companies’ policies – 2 Patient Advocacy groups
February 2016

Smart Pharma Consulting

2. MSLs’ performance management

MSLs’ activities should be defined in an Integrated Regional Strategic Plan in
coordination with marketing, sales, market access and compliance departments
Integrated Regional Strategic Plan – Structure of the Medical Section
Structure

 Situation analysis
– KOLs mapping (level of influence – advocacy behavior)
– Activity review (quantitative and qualitative analysis):
• KOLs’ partnership management (e.g. meetings, preparation of staff
meetings, invitation to congresses, support of IIS1 and / or of the
company-sponsored clinical trials, etc.)
• Participation in congresses
• Training of speakers, of marketing and sales collaborators
• Support to Key Institution Managers (KIM) in charge of regional
market access and patient compliance programs
• Competitive intelligence data gathering and analysis

– Measurement and assessment of activities’ impact
– MSL Advanced SWOT analysis2
 Ambition & strategic priorities
– Ambition setting
– Strategic priorities to fulfil the ambition (MSL Strategy Card)2
– Key activities to support strategic priorities:
• Shared activities with other departments (e.g. marketing, sales)
• Non-shared activities

– Monitoring of the quality of execution and impact of activities

Sources: KOL Partnership Model 2016 by Smart Pharma Consulting
Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

1 Investigator

12

February 2016

Initiated Studies – 2 Developed by Smart Pharma Consulting

Smart Pharma Consulting

2. MSLs’ performance management

The Advanced SWOT is a useful tool to help MSLs analyze and evaluate regional
medical opportunities and threats as well as their own competitive position
Integrated Regional Strategic Plan – Specific tools of the Medical Section (1/6)
MSL Advanced SWOT
Opportunities

Relative
importance¹

Relative
importance¹

Threats

What regional changes are likely
to favor the medical environment?

What regional changes are likely
to disfavor the medical environment?

National & regional regulations: relating to MSLs’
activities (e.g. off-label communication, invitation process to
congresses, grants, etc.)

National & regional regulations: relating to MSLs’
activities (e.g. off-label communication, invitation process
to congresses, grants, etc.)

KOLs’ opinion & position: re. the company and its
products, KOL’s level of influence

KOLs’ opinion & position: re. the company and its
products, KOL’s level of influence

Scientific events: regional congresses, other meetings

Scientific events: regional congresses, other meetings

Strengths

Relative
importance¹

Relative
importance¹

Weaknesses

What are the absolute or relative advantages of the
company’s medical activity at regional level vs. competition?

What are the absolute or relative disadvantages of the
company’s medical activity at regional level vs competition?

1 Relationships with KOLs: quality and sustainability

1 Relationships with KOLs: quality and sustainability

Scientific communications: congresses, staff
meetings, symposia, etc.
3 Support to trials: company-sponsored trials and IIS2
4 Training: of speakers, med. reps, new MSLs, etc.
5 Competitive intelligence: data gathering and analysis

Scientific communications: congresses, staff
meetings, symposia, etc.
3 Support to trials: company-sponsored trials and IIS2
4 Training: of speakers, med. reps, new MSLs, etc.
5 Competitive intelligence: data gathering and analysis

2

2

Sources: Smart Pharma Consulting
Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

¹ Ranking from 5 =very important to 1 = limited importance

13

February 2016

Smart Pharma Consulting

2. MSLs’ performance management

The MSL Strategy Card will help design a “one-page strategy” including his ambition,
the strategic priorities to meet it and the corresponding medical activities
Integrated Regional Strategic Plan – Specific tools of the Medical Section (2/6)
Therapeutic area B

MSL Strategy Card

Therapeutic area A

Regional Medical Ambition

Strategic levers
Strategic priority #1
to achieve the ambition

Strategic priority #2
to achieve the ambition

Strategic priority #3
to achieve the ambition

Strategic priority #4
to achieve the ambition

Key activities1

Key activities1

Key activities1

Key activities1

Sources: Smart Pharma Consulting
Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

1 To

14

February 2016

support the corresponding strategic priority

Smart Pharma Consulting

2. MSLs’ performance management

The “KOL Partnership Plan” is part of the Integrated Regional Strategic Plan and
specifies the objectives of the partnership, its scope and duration
Integrated Regional Strategic Plan – Specific tools of the Medical Section (3/6)
KOL Partnership Plan (K2P) – Model: Introduction
KOL name

(First name – surname)

Medical
status

MD – head of medical department –
professor of medicine, etc.

Interest/
Expertise

(e.g. Pulmonology, cardiology, etc.)

Reputation/
Influence

Private hospital – public hospital –
teaching hospital – private office

Role

Objectives of the
partnership

(Describe briefly his role vis-à-vis the KOL)

Coordination with…

Advocacy
potential

Address & City

(Indicate the other collaborators with whom to coordinate)



Specific scope

of the partnership1







Starting date

Duration of the
partnership

Medical Private clinic – private hospital –
setting public hospital – teaching hospital

Ending date





1

Sources: KOL Partnership Model 2016 by Smart Pharma Consulting
Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

Examples: Development of a digital tool to improve patients adherence, Coordination of a multi-centric study, Expert support
to estimate the medico-economic value of a new product, Lectures during medical meetings organized with peers, etc.

15

February 2016

Smart Pharma Consulting

2. MSLs’ performance management

The “KOL Partnership Plan” should also describe the services proposed to the KOL
and the activities the latter will carry out, as well as the monitoring indicators
Integrated Regional Strategic Plan – Specific tools of the Medical Section (4/6)
KOL Partnership Plan (K2P) – Model: Service / Activity Card1
Pharma company
objective

Service or Activity #1




KOL
objective

Key step description



Quality of execution Indicators
Expected
Achieved



Expected impact Indicators
Expected
Achieved















Timing


Comments




Sources: KOL Partnership Model 2016 by Smart Pharma Consulting
Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

1 This

16

February 2016

card should be duplicated by service / activity

Smart Pharma Consulting

2. MSLs’ performance management

The assessment of MSLs’ activity often includes quantitative criteria based on their
relationships with KOLs since they are not allowed to be incentivized on sales
Integrated Regional Strategic Plan – Specific tools of the Medical Section (5/6)
Performance metrics to assess MSLs’ activity – Current practice in Europe
Quantitative metrics

Qualitative metrics

% of companies using the metric
(Average of answers)
Number of interactions with KOLs

91%

Number of maintained relationships with KOLs

82%

Number of relationships with new KOLs

64%

Number of projects per product

– KOLs satisfaction surveys
(55% of companies)

64%

Number of scientific speeches of KOLs
regarding company's products / TA

 Some companies use
qualitative metrics as well to
assess the activity of their
MSLs such as:

64%

Number of IIS¹ proposals submitted

36%

Number of publications authored

– Internal feedbacks
(9% of companies)

27%

Average time spent per visit with KOLs

18%

Number of scientific speeches of the MSL
Number of respondents: 11 pharma companies

– Qualitative assessment of
relationship with KOLs
(45% of companies)

9%
0%

20%

40%

60%

80%

100%

Sources: "Aligning the Activities and Goals of Medical Science Liaison Teams for Strengthened
Corporate Sustainability ", MSL World – Smart Pharma Consulting analysis
Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

– Level of contribution to
company’s research
(9% of companies)

¹ Investigator Initiated Studies

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2. MSLs’ performance management

Qualifying MSLs’ activity is a challenge, however, several qualitative and quantitative
metrics can be considered for pharma companies to ensure a proper monitoring
Integrated Regional Strategic Plan – Specific tools of the Medical Section (6/6)
Recommendations of metrics to monitor MSLs’ activities
 Number of partnerships initiated with KOLs
 Number of contacts and / or time spent with KOLs in face-to-face meetings, teleconferences, staff meetings, etc.
 Qualitative assessment of KOLs partnership management

 Number of competitive reports

1

 Number of congresses reviews

 Number of speeches delivered

Build relationships
with KOLs
(and other HCPs)

 Number of articles authored
 Number of attendees

 Quality of information gathered

5

2

Gather and report
competitive
intelligence data

Make scientific
communications
(congresses, staff,
symposia, etc.)

 Number of people trained
 Qualitative feedbacks of trained
people

4

Ensure trainings
(of speakers, med.
reps. and new
MSLs)

Support trials
(both company
sponsored and
investigator initiated)

3

Source: Interviews with 5 MSLs – Smart Pharma Consulting analysis
Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

 Qualitative feedbacks of attendees

 Number of IIS¹ and / or companysponsored clinical trials submitted /
completed
 Number of investigators or patients
included in company sponsoredclinical trials

¹ Investigator initiated studies

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Conclusions
8 Recommendations to Boost MSLs’ Performance

1. Clarify MSLs’ roles and responsibilities to
HCPs and collaborators of the company to avoid
confusion with medical representatives’ roles

5. Develop an Integrated Regional Strategic Plan2
including a Medical section formalizing MSLs’
ambition, strategic priorities and key activities,
in accordance with marketing, sales, market
access and compliance departments’ priorities

2. Focus MSLs’ activities on KOL recruitment and
KOL partnership management1

6. Define quantitative and qualitative metrics to
monitor MSLs’ activities and identify potential
corrective measures to be introduced to
improve MSLs’ efficacy and efficiency

3. Maintain a high scientific level of knowledge
and of understanding to guarantee highly
valued interactions and strong relationships
between the MSLs and the KOLs

7. Make the best use of MSLs’ limited time by
prioritizing their efforts and promoting the use of
new communication technologies

4. Make sure that MSLs’ activities are consistent
with their ambition and their strategic priorities,
defined both at national and regional levels

8. Define internal guidelines and a control
process to prevent any compliance issues that
could damage the corporate reputation

1 See

KOL Partnership Model published by Smart Pharma Consulting in January
2016, that can be downloaded from our website: www.smart-pharma.com –
2 Taking into account national regulations and internal company’s rules

Sources: Smart Pharma Consulting analysis
Medical Science Liaisons - A New Strategic Lever

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Smart Pharma Consulting

Smart Pharma Consulting
Consulting company dedicated to Strategy, Management and Organization services in the pharmaceutical sector

1 Strategy

Core capabilities

 Assessing the attractiveness of markets (Hospital

2 Management
 Facilitation and structuring of strategic
thinking for multidisciplinary product teams

/ retail innovative products - Vaccines - OTC - Generics)

 Key challenges identification
 Strategic options formalization
 Resource allocation optimization program

 Growth strategy
 Optimization of marketing / sales investments
 Development of a company in the hospital market
Business
 Valuation for acquisition
 Portfolio / franchise assessment

 Training of marketing and market research
teams to sales forecast techniques (modeling
and scenarios development)

 Extension of product life cycle performance

 Development and implementation of a "coaching
program" for area managers

 Improvement mature products performance
 Adaptation of price strategy

 Sales reps coaching
 Regional action plans roll-out

 Defense strategies vs. new entrants

 Development and implementation of a "sales
techniques program" for sales forces (STAR1)

 Competitive strategies in the hospital market
 Strategic partnerships companies / pharmacies

1

Sales Techniques Application for Results (training courser

Organization

3 Organization
 Rethink of operational units organization
 Improvement of sales force effectiveness
 Improvement of the distribution channels covering the hospital and retail markets
 Development of a strategic planning process

1, rue Houdart de Lamotte – 75015 Paris – France • Tel.: +33 6 11 96 33 78 • E-mail: jmpeny@smart-pharma.com • Website: www.smart-pharma.com

Smart Pharma Consulting