Not knowing your Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) could hamper or mislead your way in understanding key questions that prevail in this fast-growing and complex industry of pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Questions like:
Whom to trust for their expertise?
Who are the Physicians/Researchers that are influencing their peers?
How to extend the company’s local, national, and global reach?
How to understand the needs, opinions, concerns and difficulties of patients?
How to raise awareness of a new drug for better patient engagement?
How to absorb patient participation in clinical trials as well as help disseminate trial results via trusted sources?
How to find the accomplished investigator/collaborators for clinical trials, advisor for advisory boards, influencial speaker for peer-to-peer programs and so on.
The list doesent end here, there are various questions that pharma or a device company have to answer to be competitive in this dynamic industry.
Who is a KOL or more specifically a Thought Leader!
KOLs are highly influential medical experts/ advisors in their domain and are respected and relied upon by their peers to provide a true assessment of efficacy and safety of a drug or a device. This is the reason, why scientific discussions/forums initiated by KOLs are recognised by everyone and tend to stand-out in this crowded and media saturated environment.
In Healthcare industry, KOLs contribute at various stages of a drug/device life cycle, starting from discovery, to R&D, to marketing and till it reaches the end user. They help in understanding various aspects of a product, including the needs of patients, guiding the clinical trial design to be more relevant and outcomes-based, helping companies understand behaviours for recommending/preferring one drug or device over another.
The companies have realised that they cannot rely merely on DTC channels and sales force efforts to increase their revenues. They are now increasingly relying on KOLs to help establish the knowledge base for their products and expand their reach in different markets. It is estimated that pharmaceutical companies spend ~15-25% of their marketing budget on speaking events involving KOLs. We can say that the companies that identify, create and maintain meaningful relationships with the KOLs will ripe the benefits in future with expanded market share and increased revenues.
How OSG helps!
Developing a new drug/device is a costly affair and involves a lot of risk at each step of its life cycle. Companies have various concerns like, will their drug get approval from regulatory bodies in this highly regulated environment or will it lose market share to competitors. A thought leader can help the companies answer these questions and many more. Thus, identifying the right leader becomes essential for a company.
OSG follows an organized approach to KOL identification, profiling and mapping the exact influence of KOLs, which in turn helps the companies to answer wider questions during the entire life-cycle of a drug/device.
– Who are the highly regarded people in a particular domain and who are the next generation leaders?
– Who are the leaders who will help us in decreasing the risk and increasing the chances of success of a drug/device?
– How a company can stay current in this ever-changing industry and at the same time remain consistent?
– Not all KOLs are equal, there are various types, including but not limited to, established thought leaders, leaders and emerging leaders, with various capabilities and development objectives. And to engage KOLs most effectively, it becomes crucial to understand these aspects in detail
– “Which” KOLs will fit in different situations and who are the peers on which they will have direct as well as in-direct influence?
– This not only helps to map the right KOLs and their peers at right stage of the Life-cycle (be it R&D or marketing), but also helps in identifying the immediate unmet needs to be addressed in a domain.
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