Identifying Key Opinion Leaders: A guide by Think360

Key Opinion Leaders are typically esteemed medical experts highly regarded in their field as a result of their innovative research at highly respected institutions, publications in high impact research journals, and presentations at renowned conferences. As a result, they have gained a reputation as a thought leader and influencer within their specific field.

Most pharmaceutical companies rely heavily on Key Opinion Leaders, not just for disease awareness or shaping patients’ expectations of the available treatment options, but also for defining the standard of care, creating drug awareness and lending credibility to their products and diagnostic tools among the medical community.

Key opinion leaders (KOLs) have an important role in pharmaceutical companies—from enhancing the understanding of research and development trends to conducting clinical trials, building product awareness (both pre- and post-launch) among healthcare professionals (HCPs), health authorities, patient advocacy groups (PAGs), aiding decisions surrounding product acceptance (e.g., regulatory/reimbursement) and educating and informing patients.

As medical science becomes more complex, regulations become more stringent and the demand for niche products and personalized treatments grows, KOLs are set to play an even more important role at each stage of the drug lifecycle in the years to come. 

KOLs are uniquely placed to provide accurate feedback on actual effects of these products as they have first-hand experience with how medical treatments impact patient outcomes—and help develop the most suitable drugs.

This whitepaper focuses on the key attributes of KOLs, their motivations and expectations and how pharma companies must adopt a comprehensive strategy to identify and engage with KOLs in the long term.

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