The Majority of Pharmaceutical Companies’ MSL Budgets Allocated to
Direct Salaries and Overhead
More than two-thirds of medical science liaison (MSL) team budgets is dedicated to direct salaries and overhead or travel expenses, a recent study from Cutting Edge Information found.
The study, “Managing Medical Science Liaison Teams: Budget, Staffing and Compensation Benchmarks,” found that 52.3% of reported MSL team spending covers overhead and salary compensation, while 16.0% is spent on travel costs. While the MSL groups’ costs cover a wide range of activities, the remaining segments each represent less than 7.0% of the total MSL budget . Some of these segments include costs for attending medical meetings and speaker programs, conducting MSL training, and medical publications .
“Because of the MSLs’ required skill set and travel, staffing a team of MSLs is relatively expensive,” said Elio Evangelista, Director of Operations at Cutting Edge Information. “In addition to the significant portion represented by salaries, companies also take on additional expenses for liaisons’ travel and key opinion leader (KOL)  activities. Companies can easily spend more than $200,000 annually per MSL.”
The study also found that travel costs in particular can be variable depending on the number of territories covered. But even large companies are likely to have some large territories, particularly in the northwestern United States, which incur high MSL travel costs.
“Managing Medical Science Liaison Teams: Budget, Staffing and Compensation Benchmarks” (http://www.cuttingedgeinfo.com/research/medical-affairs/msl-benchmarks/ ) includes detailed data on MSL team budgets, headcounts, structures and compensation packages for liaisons located in the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America. The study is designed to help MSL managers and medical affairs  organizations:
For more information about MSL benchmarks and performance measures, contact Cassie Demeter at 919-403-6583.