Medical Science Liaison Performance: Presence, Quality, and Opportunities 2017

Medical Science Liaison Performance: Presence, Quality, and Opportunities 2017

Highlights of the report:
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HIRC's Medical Science Liaison Performance report benchmarks 41 leading pharmaceutical medical science liaison (MSL) teams based on managed care customer evaluations of MSL skills and overall quality. The report provides insights into critical MSL success factors, as well as customer perspectives and expectations. The full report addresses the following questions:

  • Which very large, large, and mid-size firms rank highest in medical science liaison presence and quality?
  • How do manufacturers benchmark across ten core and consultative competencies?
  • Which core and consultative skills are most important for MSLs to demonstrate? What opportunities exist for improvement?
  • How do pharmaceutical firms perform across health plan pharmacy directors, health plan medical directors, and pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) managed markets segments?

Key Finding: The best medical science liaisons excel in both core and consultative skills. Leading MSLs are described as ethical, candid, and truthful, are true experts in drug therapies, and understand managed care customers' priorities and needs.

J&J HCS and Novo Nordisk Rank Highest in MSL Presence and Quality Across Managed Markets Segments. Johnson & Johnson HCS, Novo Nordisk, and Novartis earn the highest overall MSL presence and quality scores across all managed markets panels. Novartis Oncology and Bristol-Myers Squibb lead the large manufacturer segment, and Genzyme and UCB Pharma lead among mid-size firms.

HIRC calculated manufacturers' overall MSL managed markets score based upon customer evaluations of MSLs in the two key categories below. The full report provides scores in overall presence and quality for the complete listing of 41 firms.

  • Presence: Engagement with the medical science liaison
  • Quality: Overall quality of the medical science liaison

The Best MSL Teams Perform Well in Both Core and Consultative Competencies. In addition to overall presence and quality, HIRC examined medical science liaison performance across ten critical core and consultative skills. On average, MSLs perform well in core competencies such as being ethical, candid and truthful, and true experts in respective drug therapies. However, the highest ranked MSLs set themselves apart by excelling in key consultative skills, such as interpersonal communication and demonstrating an understanding of customers' priorities and needs.

MSL teams from Johnson & Johnson HCS, Novo Nordisk, and Novartis consistently lead in performance across the most important core and consultative skills to managed markets customers. The full report details medical science liaison performance for 41 pharmaceutical manufacturers across ten core and consultative skills. Additionally, benchmark data is segmented by the following:

  • Commercial Health Plan Pharmacy Directors
  • Commercial Health Plan Medical Directors
  • Pharmacy Benefit Manager Executives¬†

Research Methodology and Report Availability. In December-January, HIRC surveyed 94 key decision-makers from leading commercial health plans and pharmacy benefit managers. Online surveys and follow-up telephone interviews were used to gather information. The Medical Science Liaison Performance report is part of the Best Programs and Best People Service, and is now available to subscribers at

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