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Engaging Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) - Identifying and Leveraging New KOL Groups to Drive Medical Marketing Strategy

Published By :

GBI Research

Published Date : Sep 2012

Category :

Advertising and Marketing

No. of Pages : 49 Pages

Engaging Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) Identifying and Leveraging New KOL Groups to Drive Medical Marketing Strategy

GBI Research, the leading business intelligence provider, has released its latest research, Engaging Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) Identifying and Leveraging New KOL Groups to Drive Medical Marketing Strategy. This report examines the roles of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) within the pharmaceutical industry now and in the future. It looks at the roles traditionally held by KOLs. It describes the consequences of the changing healthcare environment on how the industry identifies and works with new groups of key opinion leaders, examining three areas of particular importance for KOL management within the pharmaceutical industry today. Firstly, the report will investigate the emerging trend to externalize research and to establish productive relationships with academic laboratories and principal investigators. Secondly, it will analyze the landscape for the traditional KOL the healthcare professional detailing changes to Codes of Practice guiding the pharmaceutical industrys interactions with these individuals, trends in KOL management, and issues of relevance to emerging markets. Finally, the report considers the role of patients and their advocates in providing insights that should drive drug discovery and development in the future. 

The report is built using information from primary and secondary research, including interviews with experts in the field. 

GBI Research analysis shows that the pharmaceutical industry is facing a number of challenges that will influence the way it works with KOLs. The costs of R&D are rising as clinical development programs become longer and more complex, while industry revenues are falling. Companies have cut their internal workforces and are now looking externally for new products. The pressure on healthcare budgets from growing and ageing populations and the rise in non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and different cancers, as well as the increasing costs of some medicines, have led healthcare providers to pay much greater attention to the cost-effectiveness of new products as a condition of reimbursement. As a consequence, the focus on marketing medicines in emerging economies has also increased. These changes require reevaluation of the role of the KOL as new groups of thought leaders are considered highly influential to the future of the industry.


  • Detailed analysis of the changes in the industry and healthcare environment that are causing new groups of KOLs to emerge
  • Exploration of the influence of academic scientists on industry R&D as companies look to externalize more of their research
  • Detailed insights into the changing nature of the relationship of the industry with healthcare professionals, including details of the current compliance environment
  • Examination of the role of patients in driving drug development within the industry
  • Study of the growing importance of online social networks in each of these areas
  • Investigation of how to identify and build successful relationships with these emerging groups of KOLs

Reasons to buy

  • Identify key groups that are considered influential for the future of the industry.
  • Develop strategies and priorities for engaging with these new groups of KOLs
  • Learn the most important methods for identifying influential people and building effective relationships with them
  • Understand how the changing compliance environment will affect industry relationships with healthcare professionals
  • Explore why patients are becoming more influential and how to engage with this important group
Table of Contents

1 Table of Contents
1 Table of Contents 5
1.1 List of Tables 6
1.2 List of Figures 6

2 Introduction 7
2.1 Key Opinion Leaders: A History 7
2.2 Established KOL Roles in Drug Discovery, Development and Marketing 8
2.3 The Changing Environment for the Pharmaceutical Industry 10
2.3.1 Market Access: Reimbursement Authorities 10
2.3.2 Market Access: Purchasing 11
2.3.3 Generic and Specialty Medicines 11
2.3.4 Emerging Markets 12
2.3.5 Big Data: the Changing Environment for Science and Medicine 13
2.3.6 Emerging Business Models 13
2.4 Emerging KOL Roles 14

3 Building Relationships for External Innovation 15
3.1 Introduction 15
3.2 Growth Close to Hubs and Clusters 15
3.3 Working with Academia 16
3.3.1 Pfizer’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation 17
3.3.2 The California Institute for Biomedical Research 18
3.4 New Funding Models to Support Innovation 18
3.5 Drug Development Relationships 19
3.6 Key Opinion Leaders in the Emerging Drug Discovery and Development Landscape: Finding Experts 19
3.6.1 Knode 20
3.7 Key Opinion Leaders in the Emerging Drug Discovery and Development Landscape: Building Relationships 21
3.8 Conclusions 22

4 Building Relationships with Healthcare Professionals 23
4.1 Introduction 23
4.2 Identifying KOLs and Building Relationships 24
4.2.1 KOL Management 25
4.3 Healthcare Engagement: Codes of Practice 26
4.3.1 US 26
4.3.2 The Office of Inspector General Guidelines 27
4.3.3 EU 29
4.4 KOLs in Emerging Markets 30
4.4.1 Emerging Markets: Compliance Environment 30
4.5 Key Opinion Leaders Online 30
4.5.1 Examples of Best Practice in Digital Engagement 31
4.5.2 Channels for Engaging Healthcare Professionals Online 32
4.5.3 Digital Literacy 32
4.5.4 Regulating online engagement 33
4.6 Evolution of KOL Interactions 34

5 Building Relationships with Patients 35
5.1 Introduction 35
5.2 Patients’ Roles in Drug Development 35
5.3 Overcoming Barriers to Effective Engagement 37
5.3.1 Increasing Patients’ Awareness of the Clinical Research Process 37
5.3.2 Ethical Principles for Working with Patients 37
5.3.3 Transparency 38
5.4 Gaining Insights from Patients 38
5.4.1 Patients Online 39
5.4.2 Working with Online Patient Communities 40
5.4.3 Patient Intelligence 42
5.5 Clinical Trial Recruitment 43
5.6 Venture Philanthropy 43
5.7 Conclusions 44

6 Appendix 45
6.1 Abbreviations 45
6.2 References 45
6.3 Research Methodology 48
6.3.1 Coverage 48
6.3.2 Secondary Research 48
6.3.3 Primary Research 49
6.3.4 Expert Panel Validation 49
6.4 Contact Us 49
6.5 Disclaimer 49

List of Table

Table 1: Engaging Key Opinion Leaders, Key Emerging Markets: Market Size and Growth, 20052018 12
Table 2: Engaging Key Opinion Leaders, Examples of Recent Collaborations between Academia and the Pharmaceutical Industry, 2012 16
Table 3: Engaging Key Opinion Leaders, Projects Funded by Pfizers Centers for Therapeutic Innovation, 2012 17
Table 4: Engaging Key Opinion Leaders, Key Sources of Information for Physicians that Influence Prescribing Decisions, 2012 23
Table 5: Engaging Key Opinion Leaders, Examples of Potential Conflicts between the Goals of the Industry and KOLs, 2012 24
Table 6: Engaging Key Opinion Leaders, Status of Annual Certification of Companies Committed to Abiding by the 2012 PhRMA Code of Practice (up-to-date June 11, 2012) 28
Table 7: Engaging Key Opinion Leaders, Examples of Clinical Trial Finding Websites, 2012 43

List of Chart

Figure 1: Engaging Key Opinion Leaders, Introducing the Key Opinion Leader: The Two-Step Flow Model, 2012 7
Figure 2: Engaging Key Opinion Leaders, Roles Held by Key Opinion Leaders, 2012 8
Figure 3: Engaging Key Opinion Leaders, Key Opinion Leader Activities During Drug Development, 2012 9
Figure 4: Engaging Key Opinion Leaders, Emerging Key Opinion Leader Roles, 2012 14
Figure 5: Use of Social Media by Different Groups, 2012 31
Figure 6: Engaging Key Opinion Leaders, The Social Media Course from Webicina, 2012 33
Figure 7: Engaging Key Opinion Leaders, Potential Barriers towards Patient Involvement:Results of the PatientPartner Project Survey, 2012 36

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