As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the activities of MSLs including how they engage with KOLs and other healthcare providers is quickly evolving. The MSL Society worked with its Advisory Board to create a comprehensive survey to gain insights into how the current COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the activities of Medical Science Liaisons globally including working virtually and engaging with KOLs. The survey investigated how companies are dealing with this new challenge, and the implications for future interactions with KOLs and other HCPs. The goal is to provide insights that may help MSL teams and management make critical business and operations decisions based on best practices from the global MSL community.
The MSL Activities During the COVID-19 Pandemic Survey received responses from 672 MSL professionals from 54 countries. The online survey was open from March 24th to March 30th. The survey was only open to current MSLs (or equivalent title) and MSL management. Reports were created for Global, USA, and Spain results. Only responses from individuals that identified their current role as one of the following roles were included in the data presented in this report:
- MSL / Sr. MSL (or equivalent title)
- Manager / Director of MSLs (or equivalent title)
- Executive Management / Vice President of Medical Affairs
Only those that selected one of these roles were included in the final reports. These combined roles resulted in a total of 659 respondents from 53 countries for the Global report and 397 respondents for the USA report.
For this supplemental issue, many of the Advisory Board members provide their perspectives through brief responses to most of the questions in the survey. Our goal for this supplemental issue is to shed light on the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the MSL role and function within Medical Affairs across the globe. Some impacts were much as we expected, while many other impacts illuminated through the survey heighten our awareness of the continued and evolving issues we all face. In particular, converting from field travel with most engagement in person to entirely virtual interactions over the past 6 weeks or more has led to further scrutiny of how MSLs deliver value and shifted methods of measuring and assessing MSL efforts. Large gatherings such as conferences and company meetings will likely have much longer impact with need to protect health and safety of all. The MSL Society will continue to monitor COVID-19 pandemic effects and provide updates as we navigate a dynamic environment created by this unprecedented pandemic.
Cherie Hyder, PharmD, MSL-BC