Cover Image
Market Research Report

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

Published by GBI Research Product code 251904
Published Content info 49 Pages
Immediate Delivery Available
Not Available
Back to Top
Engaging Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) - Identifying and Leveraging New KOL Groups to Drive Medical Marketing Strategy
Published: September 30, 2012 Content info: 49 Pages

This publication has been discontinued on February 2, 2017.



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 industry's 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

Executive Summary

Big Pharma Faces Serious Competition in Emerging Countries

While the expanding economies and populations of Asia, Africa and Latin America have gained the attention of international pharmaceutical giants, local competition is proving a significant challenge, finds a new report by healthcare industry experts GBI Research.

According to the business intelligence firm's latest study*, pharmaceutical marketing budgets for many developed countries have contracted in recent years, while support for emerging markets has only grown. For example, global spending on meetings and events dropped by 4% in 2011, but rose by 40% in China, as the industry has worked to gain access to more Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) in this market.

Equally, GBI Research data indicates that, while the number of multinationals in the Chinese market increased from 294 in 1999 to 329 in 2008, growth in the number of Chinese companies competing in the same market was much greater, rising from 1,281 to 2,424 in the same period.

Major pharmaceutical players have witnessed benefits from extending inroads into emerging nations, but face stiff opposition. The geographical reach of local companies, as well as their wide distribution networks, flexible promotion methods, and close relationships with local government officials and hospitals, have all served to cement a strong market position.

Emerging pharmaceutical markets operate with a greater focus on generic rather than branded products and the dominance of local companies requires the largest pharmaceutical firms to alter their strategies in order to compete, says the report.

Although political pressure to improve access to healthcare will fuel growth, in many emerging countries it is the patient who is required to pay for medicines, resulting in a smaller target audience for new, more expensive treatments favored by multinational firms.

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.

This report was built using data and information sourced from proprietary databases, primary and secondary research, and in-house analysis conducted by GBI Research's team of industry experts.

Table of Contents
Product Code: GBIHC262MR

Table of Contents

1. Table of Contents

  • 1.1. List of Tables
  • 1.2. List of Figures

2. Introduction

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

3. Building Relationships for External Innovation

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

4. Building Relationships with Healthcare Professionals

  • 4.1. Introduction
  • 4.2. Identifying KOLs and Building Relationships
    • 4.2.1. KOL Management
  • 4.3. Healthcare Engagement: Codes of Practice
    • 4.3.1. US
    • 4.3.2. The Office of Inspector General Guidelines
    • 4.3.3. EU
  • 4.4. KOLs in Emerging Markets
    • 4.4.1. Emerging Markets: Compliance Environment
  • 4.5. Key Opinion Leaders Online
    • 4.5.1. Examples of Best Practice in Digital Engagement
    • 4.5.2. Channels for Engaging Healthcare Professionals Online
    • 4.5.3. Digital Literacy
    • 4.5.4. Regulating online engagement
  • 4.6. Evolution of KOL Interactions

5. Building Relationships with Patients

  • 5.1. Introduction
  • 5.2. Patients' Roles in Drug Development
  • 5.3. Overcoming Barriers to Effective Engagement
    • 5.3.1. Increasing Patients' Awareness of the Clinical Research Process
    • 5.3.2. Ethical Principles for Working with Patients
    • 5.3.3. Transparency
  • 5.4. Gaining Insights from Patients
    • 5.4.1. Patients Online 39
    • 5.4.2. Working with Online Patient Communities
    • 5.4.3. Patient Intelligence
  • 5.5. Clinical Trial Recruitment
  • 5.6. Venture Philanthropy
  • 5.7. Conclusions

6. Appendix

  • 6.1. Abbreviations
  • 6.2. References
  • 6.3. Research Methodology
    • 6.3.1. Coverage
    • 6.3.2. Secondary Research
    • 6.3.3. Primary Research
    • 6.3.4. Expert Panel Validation
  • 6.4. Contact Us
  • 6.5. Disclaimer

List of Tables

  • Table 1: Engaging Key Opinion Leaders, Key Emerging Markets: Market Size and Growth, 2005-2018
  • Table 2: Engaging Key Opinion Leaders, Examples of Recent Collaborations between Academia and the Pharmaceutical Industry, 2012
  • Table 3: Engaging Key Opinion Leaders, Projects Funded by Pfizer's Centers for Therapeutic Innovation, 2012
  • Table 4: Engaging Key Opinion Leaders, Key Sources of Information for Physicians that Influence Prescribing Decisions, 2012
  • Table 5: Engaging Key Opinion Leaders, Examples of Potential Conflicts between the Goals of the Industry and KOLs, 2012
  • 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)
  • Table 7: Engaging Key Opinion Leaders, Examples of Clinical Trial Finding Websites, 2012

List of Figures

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