The MSL Society: Delivering Value to Medical Affairs Professionals

By Allison Murphy

I am proud to say that I joined the Medical Science Liaison Society in its inaugural year of 2012.  After spending a decade as an MSL at Eli Lilly, I see multiple benefits of the society for those currently working in this critical role that unifies life sciences companies and the medical community in the pursuit of better treatment options and health outcomes for patients worldwide.

As with any role, it’s important to know first-hand how others are succeeding.  I believe the society gives MSLs a strong platform for sharing best practices, so much so, that I see the MSL Society ultimately as a conduit for innovation to make the MSL role even more critical to the advancement of medicine. Right now, there are no global standard operating procedures for MSLs, with each company and its force of liaisons operating within uniquely-crafted operations frameworks.  To my mind, the MSL Society is now well-positioned to guide a global set of SOPs to drive companies and their people to new levels of success.

Where I see the highest potential impact for the MSL Society is in the area of training and development.  With the competitive nature of the pharmaceutical business, I believe the MSL Society can serve as a neutral organization that fosters development of the individual to enhance the MSL function.  As the MSL Society continues to position itself in this way, it can serve as a recognized governing body for training and development for new and experienced MSLs.  Also, I see the organization as primed for piloting new programs at particular companies, since the MSL Society boasts a diverse membership of many tenured people well-equipped to advise and mentor companies and individuals as the role continues to expand globally.

The recent global conference in Philadelphia is a great example of the applied value of the MSL Society and its programs. I daresay no one left that event without at least a few key takeaways that broadened their perspective and gave them tools to work with in the field.  The level of experience and tenure of the speakers panel were of the highest caliber. In addition to their credentials, each speaker’s work led to a real topical diversity among the various talks, and I could see that each attendee was engaged and participating during each session.

I perceived the participation levels to be as high as I’d ever seen at a meeting of this type, and I would owe this perception to notion that each talk was very comprehensive within a targeted topical area. This allowed for deep discussions that remained very pertinent to the MSL role and made best practices sharing a real hallmark of the event.

Finally, just as important as the content the MSL Society provided was also the generous amount of networking time allotted throughout the event.  It’s great when an organization has the confidence in itself to know that people gather at these events to not only learn from content provided by the promoting organization, but to also learn from each other. I can tell that this is very much an ingrained value at the MSL Society, and I will work to ensure that this value remains front and center for future generations of members.

Allison Murphy is a global business development consultant at Thought Leader Select  After spending more than 10 years in sales and MSL roles at Eli Lilly, Allison now consults with commercial and medical affairs executives on strategies for more optimized collaborations and engagements with thought leaders and centers of excellence in the medical community.  

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