Medical Affairs and Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs) are important and highly visible functions that have faced significant obstacles in recent years, seeking to engage Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) and Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) while providing value. Strategic and data-driven solutions for their organizations.
The pandemic has put the paper in a state of flux many times, changing the way medical affairs and MSLs prepare, engage, and strategize. It has also led to an increased focus on ROI based on metrics that influence the behavior of healthcare professionals and can further influence patient outcomes.
In a recent panel discussion, frontline pharmaceutical industry experts who have worked in medical affairs and MSL roles discussed challenges and relevant changes to their strategy for engaging healthcare professionals and defining measurable impact on pharmaceutical and healthcare organizations.
Over the past decade, the medical affairs role has evolved into its pillar, sometimes operating as an individual contributor or more often as a strategic partner in cross-functional roles within commercial and R&D teams. The emergence of COVID-19 has often led to increased complexity and space between an organization’s broader strategy and the experts that MSL supports and seeks to engage. The rise of COVID-19 has also added complexity to the personal commitments MSLs were used to. Therefore, in an increasingly remote world, more work may be required for an MSL to stay in touch with the right experts, which is essential for meaningful engagement in scientific exchange.
But what many organizations found was an opportunity to discover new and emerging social media and digital channels where experts shared the latest findings and research. In short, it marked a new frontier for the role historically based on dating and personal encounters, a kind of modernization. But what they found was a new landscape of rising stars, digital opinion leaders, and regional treatment leaders.