University of Wisconsin–Madison

The Evolving Role of the Medical Science Liaison

What you need to know about Managed Markets

The role of the Medical Science Liaison (MSL) is growing in stature within the global industry and we have an opportunity to help fill this need. Currently, PhDs + PharmDs make up roughly 70% of those that fulfill the MSL role. MSLs are growing overseas and so the 70% will likely fluctuate a bit. In the U.S. MSL positions grew 76% between 2005-15. So how do you establish effectiveness and credibility in the field? It seems clear that there is a ‘recipe’ for success!

In addition to the pharmacist and clinically focused PhDs, other healthcare professionals are in high demand. Nurses, physicians, nutritionists and laboratory scientists are also successfully fulfilling the role of a clinical educator, trainer and subject matter expert.

When considering the traits that make up an effective Medical Science Liaison, it is hard to think of any more important than communication and presentation skills. When considering the very nature of this MSL position, these are the very professionals required to have timely, clear and responsive communications to both internal and external groups. Knowing that everybody is busy, sometimes these communications can be delayed and result in your client feeling forgotten important. Needless to say, no MSL could build a relationship with customers that way. A good MSL has to ensure that communication does not get lost.

This ever-expanding career field has historically been learned through on-the-job experience, however, employers are increasingly seeking experienced individuals and those who understand health systems. It may be difficult for some individuals to transition to an MSL without experience or this specialized training. We are proud to offer this introductory program to better understand your career options for healthcare professionals. The role requires a combination of strong clinical knowledge coupled with outstanding communication skills.

For more more information on MSLs and managed markets, consider attending our upcoming programs! Visit:

Brett Kelly, MS

Erik Burns, EdD