September, 2009 SMM-049
An exploratory study of key opinion leadership management trends among European pharmaceutical companies
Opinion leadership is a well-defined concept that underpins much marketing practice in the pharmaceutical and other industries. Likely changes in that sector, consequences of its industry life cycle, are anticipated to make key opinion leader (KOL) management more important still. Despite this, little is known about the scope of KOL management processes in pharmaceutical companies or the trends that those processes may follow in response to industry changes. This article presents the findings of an exploratory, qualitative study involving 18 pharmaceutical company executives with responsibility for KOL management. It suggests that an enhanced, formalised, integrated and IT-enabled model of KOL management will evolve and that many leading companies have extant plans to realise such an approach.