To get a
fresh perspective on the role of medical science liaisons, the MSL Society Blog recently sat down with
Amy Joseph, a newcomer to the profession after serving for nearly 12 years as a
clinical and retail pharmacist. After
completing her PharmD at Northeastern University in 2000, Amy worked in the
greater Boston area at CVS Pharmacy, Women and Infant’s Hospital, Kent
Hospital, Care New England, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
Amy is in her
first year as an MSL at DUSA Pharmaceuticals, a company focused on dermatology
treatments, and she was kind enough to share some of her insights on the MSL
role after completing her first month on the job.
What drew you to the MSL profession?
The main draw for me was a new challengeundefineda change. Remaining stagnant or
reaching a plateau is not good for the human spirit; therefore, my mindset has
always been to incorporate some degree of change in all aspects of life,
including work. The MSL role interested me because it incorporates my clinical
practice experience in a unique way for me.
How did you prepare for the leap from clinical pharmacy to working in
My preparation involved updating my CV and doing a lot of
networkingundefinedthat’s how I found Dr. Samuel Dyer and the MSL Society. It was a
happy coincidence that the first society meeting took place just one month into
my search for a MSL position.
I found this
meeting extremely helpful, along with reading online about how to be successful
in the role. I thought the timing for the transition was ideal, as the MSL role
is becoming increasingly recognized for its value to the pharmaceutical
What were your first impressions of the role and working in
My first impressions aligned with my expectations that this role would
be challenging and exciting. So far,
I’ve felt that I made the right choice in pursuing this position at DUSA.
What have you enjoyed most about your new role as an MSL?
I have most enjoyed the new challenges brought about by this change.
Also, I enjoy the flexibility, driving my own schedule independently, the travel, and meeting new thought leaders. I am grateful for all of these aspects of my
roleundefinedit’s been very fulfilling.
Has anything surprised you about the MSL role?
I’ve been most surprised by the depth of the relationships that I’ve
been able to form in a short amount of time in the MSL position. I am fascinated by how much impact these
relationships have on the dissemination of scientific data among the medical
community, which ultimately leads to improving patient care. Although building
these relationships often takes time and patience, proving the value that MSLs
provide gives me a surprising level of fulfillment each time.
If you could give any tips to other newcomers facing early challenges in
the MSL role, what would they be?
Amy Joseph: The strongest challenges that I face in this
still very new transition right now are many, but certainly not
insurmountable! First, you have to
figure out how to meet the set of expectations that are required to demonstrate
to your company’s leadership your value as an MSL
have to navigate regulatory and compliance guidelines while still remaining
effective in your role. Third, you have
to accept that this position is not something you can master solely by studying
materialundefinedthat’s important, certainly, but you also learn so much with each
thought leader interaction as you’re building relationships in the medical
need to realize quickly that it will just take time to feel comfortable in the
role, and that you need to be patient with yourself, along with getting
patience from your employer. Finally,
you have to learn how to integrate your company’s unique business strategy with
the medical minds of your thought leader panel, within the allowed regulatory
confines and only with the resources available to you.