Medical Science LiaisonJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

A medical science liaison (MSL) is a healthcare professional who acts as an advocate and educator for a pharmaceutical company. They work with healthcare professionals, such as doctors and pharmacists, to create a better understanding of the products that the pharmaceutical company produces. MSLs also provide support to patients and their families when it comes to using medications.

In addition to being familiar with the diseases and conditions that a company’s drugs treat, MSLs must have extensive knowledge of the products themselves. They must be able to understand how medications work, what side effects might occur, how they should be used (including dosage), and know when they should not be used. MSLs need to have a firm grasp on the safety requirements and legal issues surrounding medication use.

Sample job description #1

The Medical Science Liaison (MSL) is a field based position of Medical Affairs that supports and represents ABC Company and its products with, and to, key opinion leaders (KOLs), clinicians, academic institutions, and professional organizations. The incumbent addresses the specific needs of these clients by responding to unsolicited requests for information about ABC Company’s marketed and developing products.

As the clinical and medical expert on the company’s products, he/she builds long-term relationships and establishes rapport with clinicians in hospitals, clinics, and academic centers through highly scientific product and disease state discussions that support or expand current therapeutic concepts and ensures safe and effective utilization of products. The incumbent is also a resource to company management regarding market dynamics, business development, and client feedback.

The incumbent works cross-functionally with internal departments and external resources on Medical Science related issues.

The Medical Science Liaison supports adherence to relevant regulatory requirements and company Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as appropriate.

Job description

  • Attends national and regional medical meetings and symposia as a representative of ABC Company and engages in discussions with attendees as appropriate; attends scientific sessions and poster presentations, gathers information, and summarizes findings; as possible, and when appropriate, cultivates professional relationships from these contacts
  • Delivers, and may develop/design, fair-balanced and objective clinical and scientific presentations to healthcare professionals (HCPs), payors, patient organizations in response to unsolicited requests for information on the use of company products
  • Identifies and trains speakers for advisory boards, symposia, and educational programs with regulatory approved materials, slides sets, abstracts, posters, etc.
  • Identifies, organizes and carry outs regional medical initiatives e.g advisory board as needed
  • Provides input to management regarding alternative therapies, business development opportunities/risks, and client feedback
  • Establishes, manages and maintains successful relations with relevant health authorities, including but not limited to: KOLs, HCPs, academic institutions, payors, patient organizations, etc.
  • Facilitates the accurate and timely submission of applications for unrestricted educational grants or research initiatives and requests for support of studies, per company policy
  • Maintains a thorough awareness of medical/clinical, regulator, compliance, and quality issues and processes as they apply to the ABC Company therapeutic areas and adheres to, and supports the standards established by the company
  • Maintains competitor information relevant to company’s therapeutic areas, goals/objectives, project activities and/product team priorities, and stays current on therapeutic advances and competing therapies or products; analyzes and applies relevant intelligence findings and communicates and presents insightful data/impact in an efficient format to appropriate internal stake holders


  • Minimum level of education and years of relevant work experience
  • Preferred, advanced degree (e.g., Masters, MPH, PharmD, M.D. or Ph.D.) in a scientific discipline and a minimum of 7 years progressively responsible, relevant experience in a pharmaceutical, biotechnology, or related environment with a minimum of 3 years experience as an MSL or equivalent Preferred Bachelors degree required
  • Special knowledge or skills needed and/or licenses or certificates required
  • Experience supporting products that are distributed through a specialty pharmacy and requires extensive coordination with patient access services
  • In-depth, hands-on experience working with KOLs, clinicians, HCPs, payors, and/or academic institutions establishing/maintaining relationships and scientific/medical credibility
  • Demonstrated success in interpreting scientific data and presenting research information to scientists and HCPs
  • Excellent understanding of the pharmaceutical delivery process
  • Ability to influence without direct authority
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office
  • Excellent verbal and written communication and skills, including scientific/technical writing and presentations including the ability to communicate complex technical information clearly
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively, as required, in a fast-paced, matrixed, team environment consisting of internal and external team members
  • Analytical thinker with excellent problem solving skills and the ability to adapt to changing priorities and deadlines
  • Excellent planning, organization, and time management skills including the ability to support and prioritize multiple projects
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license and a personal automobile with an active vehicle insurance policy. Must be able to travel on a daily basis to/from customer accounts and drive and/or fly long distances (distances will vary based upon the size of assigned territory)
  • This position requires overnight travel, the amount of which will vary based upon the assigned territory. In addition to travel within the territory, overnight and/or weekend travel outside of the assigned territory is required
  • Daily entry to hospitals and other medical facilities is required. Many facilities have instituted vendor credentialing policies which require vendors to meet defined training, background check, and proof of immunization requirements as a condition of entry. ABC Company employees entering these facilities are required to abide by these credentialing requirements
  • Special knowledge or skills and/or licenses or certificates preferred
  • Experience supporting an orphan, rare disease and/or specialized drug(s)
  • Travel requirements: 50 – 60%
  • At ABC Company we are seeking candidates in the United States who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or who will be fully vaccinated by the time they begin the position

Sample job description #2

The Medical Science Liaison functions as a member within the Medical Affairs department. This regional position may require up to 4 days of field travel per week with 1 day spent in a home office. The travel is within a defined geographic region, but occasionally additional travel may be necessary. The primary responsibility of the Medical Science Liaison (MSL) is to provide education and subject matter expertise to support ABC Company’s strategic initiatives.

This position is field based.

Essential duties and responsibilities

  • Become proficient in and demonstrate ability to understand the major data sources (clinical trials, studies, published reports, etc.) relative to the use of ABC Company’s products
  • Support healthcare providers by offering clinical and scientific information that helps guide medical decisions
  • Support health systems, population health leaders, and medical quality professionals by offering clinical, public health, medical quality, and other scientific information to help guide medical decisions
  • Deliver clinical and scientific presentations to healthcare providers, health systems, and medical group leadership, as well as community/advocacy groups
  • Work collaboratively with the sales and marketing corporate departments and field sales teams to create and implement educational strategies for key clients
  • Provide insight into market trends and competition
  • Builds relationships and assists in the development of key opinion leaders
  • Builds relationships with key decision makers in health systems, medical groups, healthcare provider offices, state departments of public health, advocacy organizations, and national/regional professional societies
  • Collaborates with the Medical Affairs leadership in the development of key opinion leaders
  • Collaborate with clients and thought leaders on a national, regional and local level to develop clinical insights that support medical research associated with new and existing products
  • Supports implementation team as needed
  • Collects and reports market information within company guidelines
  • Provides Clinical Affairs team with recommendations on investigator and site selection for future trials and studies
  • Collaborate cross-functionally within Exact Sciences (e.g., Marketing) to supply clinical content for future growth
  • Provides insights to Sales Force Effectiveness team regarding opportunities for updates and improvements in sales force training
  • Attend regional and national tradeshows, symposia, and scientific/clinical meetings
  • Identify local/regional educational events such as patient education events and CME events
  • Manage time and travel expense budget for scientific exchange and clinical education activities within dedicated regions
  • Demonstrate excellent written and oral communication skills, as well as effective presentation skills
  • Ability to work well independently and manage time effectively
  • Strong attention to detail with a focus on producing high quality work
  • Strong verbal and written communication; public speaking skills
  • Strong analytical, problem solving and decision-making skills
  • Uphold company mission and values through accountability, innovation, integrity, quality, and teamwork
  • Support and comply with the company’s Quality Management System policies and procedures
  • Regular and reliable attendance
  • Ability to work normal schedule of Monday through Friday during normal business hours
  • Ability to lift up to 10 pounds for approximately 10% of a typical working day
  • Ability to work seated for approximately 60% of a typical working day. Ability to work standing for approximately 40% of a typical working day
  • Ability to work on mobile device, tablet, or in front of a computer screen, and/or perform typing for approximately 50% of a typical working day
  • Ability to travel approximately 60% of working time

Minimum qualifications

  • Master’s degree in a relevant health professions/sciences or related field (biotechnology, biology, any clinical sciences leading to necessary skills) OR Bachelor’s degree in a relevant health professions/sciences or related field and 4+ years of field-based medical affairs experience in lieu of master’s degree
  • 5+ years of industry experience in healthcare or medical technology fields with Medical Affairs or similar industry experience
  • Possession of a valid driver’s license; no suspended, revoked, surrendered, invalid, etc. allowed
  • No more than two moving violations, events, or accidents within the last 36 months
  • No alcohol or drug event in which a vehicle was driven by the candidate or employee, including but not limited to Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) failure, refusal to submit to alcohol or drug test, alcohol related suspension, etc. in the last 36 months
  • No other results from the Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) check that exposes ABC Company to what ABC Company deems to be an unacceptable level of liability
  • Authorization to work in the United States without sponsorship
  • Demonstrated ability to perform the Essential Duties of the position with or without accommodation

Preferred qualifications

  • Doctoral degree in a relevant health sciences or related field (PharmD, PhD, MD) is preferred
  • Experience in public health, population health management, health insurance, and medical quality
  • Experience with screening and wellness programs is strongly desired
  • An in-depth knowledge of the health care market, as well as experience with clinical trials is a plus
  • Experience working with and/or for advocacy groups and professional societies

Sample job description #3

Position summary:

As a Medical Science Liaison you will provide the vital link between our laboratory, pharmaceutical services, and our physician customers. In this role you will be responsible for communicating patient eligibility for clinical trials and various other medical outreach. You will be our subject matter expert on supported clinical trials including working with providers on how to seek enrollment for patients who may be potentially eligible. You’ll also be key in driving medical outreach to help physicians implement precision medicine into practice.

Core responsibilities:

  • Medical outreach to ordering and treating physicians about patients who may be potentially eligible for clinical trial enrollment or targeted therapies
  • Documenting outreach interactions into CRM
  • Identifying opportunities to improve the accuracy of our clinical trial and therapeutic matches based on available data sets or implementing new data capture processes
  • Ability to talk physicians through our supported clinical trials and testing programs
  • Education around companion and complementary diagnostics offered by NEO
  • Advisor to customers on advanced technical issues
  • Gather market intelligence on new products in development

Experience & required qualifications:

  • Advanced degree in Pharmacology, Genetics, Genomics, or similar field preferred.
  • Certified Genetic Counselor, Registered Nurse, or Oncology Certified Nurse preferred.
  • Strong knowledge of molecular oncology needed
  • Experience working with Oncologists and Hematologists in clinical trials strongly preferred
  • Previous laboratory experience (med tech, lab tech) preferred
  • Exceptional communication and presentation skills are required, both verbal and written
  • 2 years minimum experience and success in Oncology services; direct experience with clinical trial design and execution, ability to read, analyze, and interpret scientific and professional journals, technical procedures, or governmental regulations
  • Ability to write reports, business correspondence, and procedure manuals
  • Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, clients, customers, and the general public

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a medical science liaison is $155,200. Medical Science Liaisons typically receive a comprehensive benefits package that covers medical, dental, and vision insurance, as well as life and disability insurance. They may also receive a 401(k) plan, tuition reimbursement, and other perks.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$154,350$208,800 
Los Angeles, California$174,150$235,600
Denver, Colorado$145,100$196,350
Washington, DC$176,750$239,150 
Miami, Florida$144,450$195,450
Orlando, Florida$133,250$180,250
Tampa, Florida$134,550$182,050 
Atlanta, Georgia$141,150 $190,950
Chicago, Illinois$162,250 $219,550 
Boston, Massachusetts$175,450$237,400 
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$139,850 $189,200 
New York City, New York$184,700 $249,850 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$150,400 $203,450 
Dallas, Texas$146,450$198,100
Houston, Texas$145,100 $196,350 
Seattle, Washington$168,850 $228,450 
National Average$131,900 $178,500

Sample interview questions

  • What experience do you have with the drug development process?
  • How would you explain the role of a Medical Science Liaison to a layperson?
  • What do you think are the most important qualities for a successful MSL?
  • What do you think sets your pharmaceutical knowledge apart from other candidates?
  • What do you think are the benefits of having a Medical Science Liaison on a team?
  • What areas do you think need improvement in the drug development process?
  • What do you think is the biggest challenge for a company that is developing a new drug?
  • How do you think the role of MSLs will change in the next ten years?
  • Why did you choose this career path, what professional background did you have that allowed it to be possible for you to do this job?
  • What does an average day look like for a Medical Science Liaison (MSL)?
  • What qualities make someone successful at MSL work?

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