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New Study Presents Tactics and Insights on How to Effectively Globalize Medical Science Liaison Programs in the Pharmaceutical Industry

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Sept. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Pharmaceutical companies today rely heavily on Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs) and other Field-Based Medical Specialists (FBMS) to build and strengthen vital relationships with physicians, key opinion leaders, and thought leaders in critical therapeutic areas.

To increase the effectiveness of their field-based teams, companies are expanding the critical MSL function into global markets in order to align countries with corporate objectives and to achieve regional consistency, compliance, and product harmonization. However, given the complexity of efforts to globalize MSL and FBMS programs, pharmaceutical organizations face numerous challenges in structuring and aligning MSLs and FBMS effectively across global organizations.

According to a new Best Practices, LLC study on this topic, key obstacles to standardization are local resistance, local misunderstanding of the MSL function, decentralization, variations in local regulations, and differences in customs, language, or culture.

"Best Practices in Globalizing MSL & Field-Based Medical Specialist Programs" investigates how leading companies successfully manage globalization challenges regarding program governance, internal communication, staffing levels, span of control, outsourcing, program standardization, budget ownership, budget sources, and operating models.

Key study objectives that are addressed in the 88-page report include:
  • Developing organizational charts showing how peer companies address MSL team reporting structures for greatest global impact
  • Outlining strengths & weakness of different structures
  • Identifying which MSL activities are best handled at the global, regional or country levels
  • Assessing how leadership and field-based teams communicate across a global organization to ensure that strategies and work plans are aligned.
  • Highlighting pitfalls to avoid in internal communication
  • Identifying obstacles to global standardization
  • Comparing resources and funding sources for MSL/ FBMS function across companies
  • Examining outsourcing trends and model evolution

For this study, Best Practices, LLC engaged 38 leaders of Medical Science Liaison and Field-Based Medical Specialist functions at 31 different pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies. Results include more than one response from seven companies, where survey participants represented separate MSL organizations. In addition, four deep-dive interviews were conducted with field-based team leaders.

To access the full report or to download a complimentary summary containing insights found in this report, click on the following link:

For related research, visit our Best Practices, LLC Web site at


Best Practices, LLC is a leading benchmarking, consulting and advisory services firm serving biopharmaceutical and medical device companies worldwide. Best Practices, LLC's clients include all the top 10 and 48 of the top 50 global healthcare companies. The firm conducts primary research and consulting using its comprehensive proprietary benchmarking tools and analysis.

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