A new research study MSL Performance Metrics: Valuing the Role Throughout a Product’s Lifecycle reveals key indicators on MSL performance reviews and identify the most common trends and perceptions among the medical affairs executives including how they see the 3 phases of MSL Performance Reviews. The full study presents an assessment of current practices, feedback from 37 executives across 26 organizations from 11 countries. The analysis provides executives with the various models of MSL performance reviews based on products’ lifecycles, as well as a first ever “consensus” model.

This article presents a few key findings from the full study: the frequency of the conduct of performance evaluations as well as how executives see main shifts when the MSL role adapts to its environment.

MSLs have held various responsibilities since the role’s inception and depends on companies’ needs, objectives and understanding of the function.  Originally formed to interact with high level physicians, the position has evolved into a medical education role with a much wider audience, from third-party payers to Primary Care Providers and Key Opinion Leaders.

Many research organizations have studied performance evaluation in a superficial manner that produces very similar results year after year, a lack of discovery that leaves MSL management across the industry without recourse to improve the performance evaluation of their team members.

We find the issue mainly lies in the nature of the MSL function, a function that evolves with a product, from early phases to maturity. While MSL responsibilities remain fairly constant throughout, particular emphasis on one or more of these responsibilities depends upon where a product is in its lifecycle.

So then, how best can a company evaluate the MSL role? Should it follow one single path, with similar focus across time or should the evaluation follow distinct criteria based on the particular needs of a given phase in a product’s lifecycle? These are questions that the majority of MSL managers face year after year, with no real answers.


Frequency of Reviews

Sound performance evaluation programs prove crucial to ensuring that MSLs maintain an updated understanding of their role, their organization’s objectives and the fast-moving life science environment.

The performance evaluation practice has been part of companies’ processes for ages, but the MSL function has been tricky to nail down. As the graph below shows, companies use various