In The Know: What factors determine the size of a leading MSL team?

As medical science liaison (MSL) professionals in the US and Europe are turning to new strategies for connecting with healthcare professionals (HCPs) and key opinion leaders (KOLs), implementing the proper structure of MSL teams is crucial to the progression of the role.

Through recent research with 100 US and Western European MSLs and MSL managers, survey participants were asked to indicate which factors companies are currently using to determine the size of a typical MSL team (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Factors that determine MSL team size

Source: FirstWord, MSL Teams: Field Force Size and Structure (2018)

The results show that the top three factors that influence the team size are the territory covered, the number of opinion leader relationships, and the volume and frequency of interactions between MSLs and opinion leaders. However, while territory size is considered to be most important, the number of relationships with opinion leaders is of prime importance in Western Europe.


Other topics included in this research address MSL territories, brand assignments, compensation and rewards, and key available resources. To discuss this research with a FirstWord consultant, click here.


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