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MSLs in 2019: Five Things To Watch in Pharma

If you’ve spent a day and a half observing the pharma industry, you know things change quickly and unpredictably. No two years are created equal in the Pharma and Biotech industry. What can we look forward to for MSLs in 2019: Five Things To Watch in Pharma?

1. Mergers and Acquisitions

2019 has already been busy in the merger and acquisition department. BMS agreed to acquire Celgene last week, Eli Lilly is set to acquire Loxo Oncology this week, and the Takeda/Shire union that is imminent. With so much action in January’s first week, what excitement can we expect over the next 12 months? Will other members of big pharma feel the pressure to pull off their own moves to keep up? If the first week of the year is any indication, 2019 may be full of surprises.

 2. MSL Expansions

The end of 2018 was marked by a brisk MSL job market – driven by team expansions. Those of us involved in the MSL world would love to see that trend continue – hopefully as a result of more drug approvals and drug development!

 3. MSL Pipeline Support

Another trend, albeit a small-scale one, was the increase in MSL positions supporting products in earlier stages of development in 2018. It’s nice to see MSLs being utilized in an outside-the-box strategy in medical affairs. This generally happens more often with smaller companies, but perhaps this trend will continue to grow and become the norm.

 4. Panel Interviews

Another trend that became en vogue at the end of 2018 was the utilization of panel interviews – an interview where candidates meet with multiple people simultaneously rather than a series of one-on-one meetings. This allows for a shorter interview day, decreases the complexity of orchestrating schedules for multiple interviewers, and allows everyone to see the same side of a candidate. However, it can inhibit a candidate’s ability to get an in-depth description of the company or the position of each person. While we all assumed video interviewing would soon take over, panel interviewing may be the next interview of choice.

 5. Orphan Drug Development

In November 2018, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released investigation results on the FDA’s review of orphan drug applications.  They found inconsistencies in the information that’s evaluated to grant orphan drug status. With process exposed, will this plus the constant call for investigating the high prices that frequently plague orphan drugs affect the rate at which we see orphan drugs get developed?

Questions or comments? Email me at lawrence@sembiogroup.com.

Author: Lawrence Beck, CPC

Lawrence joined SEMbio in 2011 and is a team leader in recruiting and business development. He attended Texas Tech University on a path that led him to obtain his Master’s degree in Sports Management which provides Lawrence a unique perspective as a recruiter.