Working life: Dr Catherine O'Connor, medical science liaison manager

Ever wondered what a management position in the sciences might be like? Well, we spent a day with Dr Catherine O’Connor, a medical science liaison manager at GlaxoSmithKline.


I kick off my day with a gym session or a yoga class before heading from Dundrum, where I share a house with an another doctor, to GSK in City West.


My first task is to organise an external meeting with consultants to discuss the latest research and development (R&D). The pharmaceutical industry revolves around innovation and R&D and a big part of my role is meeting doctors in clinical settings around the country to deliver expert talks on developments in the areas of asthma and allergic rhinitis.

I am essentially a pharmaceutical physician with an in-depth knowledge of GSK medicines and I act as intermediary between GSK and doctors on medical topics. It is my job to ensure safe and effective use of GSK medicines through appropriate discussions with the medical community.


Next up is meeting with internal stakeholders including sales and marketing colleagues, our director of medical affairs in Ireland and our general manger. We discuss innovations in technology, focusing on unmet patient need, such as how best to deliver information for appropriate prescribing.

Working life: Dr Catherine O'Connor, medical science liaison manager

12 noon

I take part in a teleconference with international GSK colleagues to discuss the latest R&D. This year we published the Salford Lung Study, a pioneering study involving patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Salford, Manchester, which measured the effectiveness and safety of one of our medicines in an everyday clinical setting. The results of the study should help inform best practice for treating patients.


I have lunch in the cafe next door with colleagues.


I visit consultants on site at a Dublin hospital to deal with a request for medical information.


I work with the health outcomes team and international colleagues on gaining market access for a product that we hope to launch. Because GSK is international, my job also involves foreign travel. I recently attended a global conference in London, the European Respiratory Society International Congress. Next year it’s in Milan.


I conduct internal training of sales reps and internal stakeholders around the latest guidelines governing certain medicines. We also discuss the latest innovations and any new data that has emerged in relation to our products.


I head home. Evenings are spent catching up with friends or taking part in a fashion design course I recently signed up to.


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