ELITE Master Educator Steve Zlotnick of Genentech

Steve Zlotnick, PharmD

Principal Medical Science Liaison




The Master of the Analogy

Steve Zlotnick has a gift for teaching. Whether it is as an MSL educating a doctor, training a rep to go out in the field, or as a professor at the College of Pharmacy in Philadelphia, he is always able to take information and disseminate it so that it’s understandable.

“You have to know how to speak to people at different levels,” Steve explains. “I really enjoy making an analogy that makes it easy for them to picture.”

For instance, when explaining drug interactions he uses the example of the game of pool. If you rack up 15 balls and then hit them with the cue ball, they will break up and go in various places. If you do the same thing again, will all of the balls go in the exact same direction? Of course not. It is just as unpredictable if you are taking 15 different drugs and then add one more to the mix. Simple, right?

This talent has served him well in the more than 20 years he has spent in the pharma industry in roles varying from an MSL to Medical Director. In fact, he has had so many accomplishments in his career—from getting drugs developed to disseminating medical information—that he struggles to single any out. But he says his goal is always to remain a champion of the patient.

For instance, recently at Genentech he helped with a trial that was able to demonstrate an infusion time on a rheumatoid arthritis treatment in about two hours—compared to the normal four and a half hours. The more rapid infusion schedule has since been approved in the European markets and Australia, but Steve is most proud of the fact that this makes it easier on the patient. He recalls another example from earlier in his career, when he caught a mistake stating “Shake Well” on the label of a generic liquid that should not be shaken. By reaching out to the manufacturer, the labels were corrected and a dosing error was avoided. But that’s just what Steve does. He makes sure people get the right information they need to impact patients’ lives.


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