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What to expect in a medical science liaison role

What's it like being a medical science liaison? Let us tell you. Medical science liaisons (MSLs) are responsible for the legitimate exchange of medical and scientific information, education and research initiatives with the medical community. It’s a big undertaking, but with this level of responsibility comes the opportunity to push boundaries and transform healthcare.

The role is all about managing relationships, gathering insights and remaining clued up about the latest scientific research and clinical data throughout the product lifecycle of a drug or device.

You might already know which qualifications will you need as a medical science liaison, but what can you expect from the role itself?

Opportunities to progress your career

An MSL is known for their depth of expert knowledge, meaning that it’s a job where you never stop learning.

Working in a learning environment ensures there are many opportunities to progress your career. If you prove yourself to be competent within the medical field, you could become a senior medical science liaison like Raff, who explains that his work directly feeds into IQVIA’s mission to develop better patient care.

One element of Raff’s job is understanding where treatment gaps are and relaying this back to key opinion leaders (KOLs) and healthcare professionals (HCPs), but there’s so much more to the role. As you progress, your managers will encourage you to develop and deliver scientific training courses to other staff members and international distributors, including medical sales reps. This experience will set you up for a promotion to medical science liaison manager further down the line, and for those who are truly ambitious, a medical director role will be within reach if you’re willing to put the hard work in.

The chance to work within different markets and therapies

It was as early as the 1960s that the pharmaceutical industry recognised a need for trained professionals who could communicate between KOLs and internal stakeholders, offering clarity in the complex system that is healthcare.

As the healthcare market advanced, it wasn’t long before MSLs saw their role diversifying, and they had the chance to work within biotechnology, the medical device market and other related healthcare fields. This means that anyone choosing this field of work truly has the opportunity to carve out the career they envision for themselves.

Not only that, but you also have the option of working in oncology, genecology, gastroenterology, hepatology, endocrinology and many more therapies. And as these new markets and therapies became viable career paths for MSLs, they soon were regarded as specialists in their areas and took on a more stimulating, consultative role.

The opportunity to travel

If you choose to work for a global company, the chances are they’ll have clients in lots of exciting locations and offer you the chance to travel to meet them face-to-face on occasion. However, even if your company is based just in one country, visiting sites is a big part of the job, so you’ll still get to travel around and put your relationship building into practice.

For example, a client may be preparing for the launch of a new product. It will be your job to communicate scientific data, provide strategic input to the company’s strategy and offer any other guidance where it’s needed.

That’s not to say you’ll always be on the move. Keeping on top of the latest developments requires a high level of desk research. Not only that, but the current pandemic has sparked a new hybrid working model where many professionals are now enjoying the benefits of working from home some days. So depending on the company you work for, you could find yourself with a productive balance of working remotely, collaborating with teams in the office, and meeting with other professionals on-site.

Help us power healthcare with connected intelligence

At IQVIA, we are committed to getting the right treatments to patients, faster. How? We invest in our people and their medical science liaison career paths.

With a growing network of colleagues working across more than 30 countries, we have unparalleled capabilities and technologies, data, and global healthcare expertise right at our fingertips.

If you want to be a part of our shared goal of improving human health, browse our latest medical science liaison jobs.

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