Medical science liaisons (MSLs) are increasingly forming relationships with key opinion leaders (KOLs) who serve on reimbursement committees, according to a study by Cutting Edge Information.
“MSL Activities and Performance Measurement: Harnessing KOL Relationships for Optimal Clinical Support”
The study, "MSL Activities and Performance Measurement: Harnessing KOL Relationships for Optimal Clinical Support," found that 67% of MSL teams build and maintain relationships with key decision makers on reimbursement committees. Increasingly, payer organizations, such as health insurance companies, contract with KOLs to serve on committees or panels that determine reimbursement choices.
These decisions include formulary inclusion, price points and drug tiering. Naturally, pharmaceutical companies want to improve their relationships with those KOLs who serve on these panels, although meetings with these individuals typically focus on delivering health economics or outcomes data to the opinion leaders.
"Key opinion leaders serving on reimbursement panels certainly have an increased interest in pharmacoeconomic data in addition to the usual presentations made by medical science liaison teams," said Ryan McGuire, research team leader at Cutting Edge Information. "Of course, market access teams are already responsible for working on reimbursement issues. MSLs must strike a delicate balance to not overstep their responsibilities. Still, more and more, market access teams request assistance from MSL groups."
The data reveal that for most companies, these relationships make up a small percentage of the total KOL pool that MSLs target for building relationships. Interestingly, US companies are less likely to have relationships with KOLs on these panels than in Canada or Europe. This is likely because many of those countries have more restrictive reimbursement policies.
"MSL Activities and Performance Measurement: Harnessing KOL Relationships for Optimal Clinical Support" (http://www.cuttingedgeinfo.com/research/medical-affairs/msl-medical-science-liaisons/) explores the best practices of top-performing medical science liaison teams at companies in the US, Europe, Canada and the Asia Pacific region. This report is designed to help medical affairs departments and MSL teams:
Empower MSLs to coordinate with internal functions, including medical and clinical teams and commercial groups.
Prioritize thought leader criteria and build strong KOL relationships.
Implement best practices for using quantitative and qualitative data to showcase MSL value to stakeholders.