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Meeting KOL Needs: What Pharma Needs to Know

Product Code:
February 2013

The role of the Key Opinion Leader (KOL) has changed over the past 30 years. And it's about to change again.

Once viewed with suspicion by their non-consulting peers, clinicians are now considered less significant if they do not collaborate with the pharmaceutical industry. Yet with the implementation this year of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act (PPSA), that role is about to come under scrutiny once again.

In Meeting KOL Needs: What Pharma Needs to Know, FirstWord taps into the mindsets of 33 leading international KOLs to discover how they view their industry work and where they want—and need—their collaborations to go. From KOL views on feedback, trial work and how follow-ups could be improved to invaluable insight on the PPSA's potential impact and how pharma cutbacks have negatively affected their knowledge base, the report exposes KOLs' major concerns. Based on in-depth, qualitative interviews and analysis, the report offers the industry an open window into the KOL relationship and how it can be strategically improved.

Key features of Meeting KOL Needs: What Pharma Needs to Know include:

  • Insight on how the forthcoming PPSA will affect KOL-industry ties
  • Discussion by KOLs on how pharma can best utilise their expertise in trial design and drug development
  • Analysis of core issues facing KOL-industry relations and how to move forward
  • Unparalleled access to KOL views on collaboration, diminishing pharma industry contacts, post-trial feedback, the use of digital media and the development of new technologies and therapies

Key Benefits

How will transparency legislation affect KOL-industry collaborations? While some KOLs feel it could herald the end of such relationships, a wide-ranging FirstWord poll has found they have other, equally pressing issues. From how pharma utilises their expertise in planning drug trials to how it engages them professionally, KOLs are raising concerns about the state and future of their work with industry. This report provides:

  • Insight into the thinking of 33 leading KOLs from across the United States, Canada and Europe
  • Strategic thinking and analysis on how KOL-industry collaborations can be improved
  • Examples of how to identify shortfalls in KOL management and where to go next

Meeting KOL Needs: What Pharma Needs to Know
answers key questions including:

  • In which areas is the industry not fully utilising KOLs and what new avenues can be created to do so?
  • What are the reasons for KOLs' widespread disagreement with the PPSA?
  • How have staff cutbacks in the pharmaceutical industry affected KOL collaboration?
  • To what extent do KOLs want more involvement in drug-development work?
  • How can the industry improve engagement, collaboration and feedback with KOLs?

Selected Quotes

”The PPSA has made the relationship become much more restrictive and defensive. Because of this fear of being tarnished on both sides, from the company's side and the KOL side, there's less interaction, there's less collaboration.” Dr Christoph Correll, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.

”It’s frustrating, new people are just not as receptive. It’s too difficult to find the right people to talk to. Before we knew the medical director directly and personally, but now we've got to go through this quagmire of people to get to the right person.” Professor David Vesole, John Theurer Cancer Center at HUMC, NJ.

”I think that pharma is so big that although it works with KOLs, it doesn’t do very much listening to KOLs.” Professor Laurence Steinman, Stanford University School of Medicine, California.


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