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Certification for the Medical Science Liaison: An Idea Whose Time Has come---or Not

Title
Certification for the Medical Science Liaison: An Idea Whose Time Has come---or Not

Abstract
Field-based medical programs are common adjuncts to development, headquarters medical, and commercial operations for most pharmaceutical companies in the United States. The shift in regulatory complexity, coupled with a waning acceptance and impact of the traditional “reach/frequency” business model observed by many pharmaceutical companies, has enhanced the strategic importance of field-based medical groups. Lack of standardized training and assessment of functional capabilities may threaten this enhanced role and raise the question of the need for a uniform certification process. To confirm or dispel our own bias about the need for certification, we explored this issue using an informal web-based survey tool. A simple majority (63%) of responders to our survey felt certification was not needed. It was interesting that the subset of managers was evenly split, while the majority (70%) of individual contributors was not supportive of a certification requirement. These results suggest that while certification is not an attractive option to the majority of responders, a meaningful minority of responders, including some managers of medical science liaison programs, believe certification is important. Our opinion is that while the move to certification is not imminent, this will continue to be an important topic for discussion and debate in the years to come.