September, 2009    SMM-052

Exploratory Study of KOL Management Trends in European Pharmaceutical Companies

Opinion leadership is a well-defined concept. Likely changes in the pharmaceutical 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.