MSL Required Experience

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MSL Required Experience

Postby LYAO » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:43 pm

I am a recent PharmD graduate (also have a BS in biology) and interested in becoming an MSL. I’m planning on applying for some positions immediately, but afraid that my lack of experience will hinder me. In the meantime, I’m looking for positions that will facilitate a future position as an MSL and would like advice from current MSLs.

Some positions I have been looking at:

Clinical Research Coordinator – recruiting for and managing clinical trials on a participant level

Pharmacy Field Representative – Somewhat like a company PR role for providers, with education of providers and patients about services. Troubleshooting patient and provider problems, reporting customer trends

Cares Associate – First contact for providers and patients, troubleshoot problems, respond to medical queries, interact with clinical trial sites

Would these positions be good experience? My only concern is that many of these positions are beneath a PharmD level, and only require a BS. Will this make me look bad to employers? I do not want to go into clinical pharmacy. What other positions would be good experience?

Thank you in advance for any responses!
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:40 pm

Re: MSL Required Experience

Postby D.X. » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:47 am


Former MSL here. First what is your Long-term Goal, you've already established you want be an MSL so where do you want to take that experience. I think you will get a role eventually, in the MSL Teams i've been on, we either had a PharmD or the organization was dominated by PharmDs. You carry a good back ground on understanding both the clinincal data and the economic considerations when in Comes to formulary choice and drug utilization per cost-effectiveness Point of view, plus you know about working with insururers and dealing with tiering/authorizations and so forth, so if you can communicate well - i'm sure you'll find a spot.

Regarding other roles around clinical Research, those will give you good experiences to go more into clinical development withing R&D where potentually you'll get involved in Trial design and conduct. With those 2 positions you mentioned, they deal more with Clinical Trial Operations which is something well can be highly administrative and operational, can take you into clinical development in the longer term. But highly operational dealing with case Report forms, gathering and QC of individual Patient data etc. Im not sure what tha tother pharmacy role is you decribed. They are not below pharmd but well again what do you want to do?

For MSL roles something you can look at is Health Economic Outcome Research (HEOR) MSL roles - here you'll not only communicate the clinical data but you'll be using some of your Pharmacy Training - a key customer stake holder for you would be other pharmacists, be it linked to Hospital, Group Purchase Organizations, Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs), retail pharmacy Distributors and you'll be working along side Key Account Managers (KAM) as well as Sales Reps as applicable.

You could look at an entry Level KAM role, yes ist sales but high health-economic discussions as you also are talking alot about clincal rationalization for pricing and eventual negotiation and targeted at Hospital pharmacy.

If you're interested in Health Economics Research, Health Outcomes Research could be good and you could look at roles within specific pharmaceutical Company functions that may cover this usually under a Globla Market Access and Pricing Team or Global Health Economic Teams, These function try to understand value to medicine using modeling, imputing clincal data and consdiering various health System elements of interest, i.e. Budget Impact that consider relevant direct and indirect costs.

YOu can look at Real World Evidence Generation that consider costs data - here both HE/Market Access/Princing and Medical Affairs Teams are working cross-functionally to get to showing value-proposition for the product.

Happy to talk about other directions after being a MSL if you want, I went up a Medical Affairs (where MSL organizations are a sub-function of) route to be a Portfolio Medical Lead, then to Marketing in the International Mangement path - i work cross-functionally with other Teams so can tell you a bit about other Areas on the Commercial/clinical development side, not related to drug discovery, pre-clinical or tranlational Research.


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Re: MSL Required Experience

Postby LYAO » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:21 am


Thank you for the advice! I'll go ahead and try for MSL positions in my area, and a KAM position seems like it will be a good way to gather experience if I cannot find an MSL job. I actually did a summer internship in global health economics and outcomes research and absolutely LOVED it. Unfortunately, it was in a different state and there aren't many companies like that in my area, and my husband will never move. Hopefully that experience will help me find a good position here. I think you've saved me some wasted time on positions that do not matter, so thanks again. Let's keep in contact!
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:40 pm

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