Key opinion leader is a very pivotal term in the field of medicine and it is used mainly to define the senior doctors who assist various kinds of drug and medicine companies to sell the medicine or the drugs. These doctors are influential and they are engaged or hired by the industry to advice them on marketing and help in enhancing the sales of the new medicine. In all kinds of hospitals and specialties and universities there are several leading specialists who are given generous fees to promote the medicines on behalf of the global drug companies that are big. There was a drug company sales representative known as Kimberly Elliot and he was the sales representative for almost 2 decades in the US. According to him, KOL key opinion leaders are salespeople and they would daily measure the return on their investment, by tracing the prescription, before and after their representation.
Important Role of KOL –
An interview was held with the BMJ, in which the MD at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (Richard Tiner) also agreed and accepted that Key Opinion Leader plays a pivotal role for the drug companies. In which the companies will hire the employ consultants to assist and advice the people on marketing strategies. It also included them to present and speak at various conferences. Most recent business intelligence reports suggests on how the drug companies identify, train, and recruit and pay their opinion leaders i.e. KOL, also suggest that doctors can earn up to $400 within 2-3 hours. A company called the cutting edge produced the reports, which works closely with drug company executives. In addition, they are available to purchase at $8000.
Global KOL & their Earning –
In advisory fees, some doctors can earn more than $25,000 in a year as per the publicly available summary report. For scientific speech an average fees that a doctor can earn is more than $3000. In addition, these are the speeches that the doctors give at educational events which has been organized by the companies. The use of the KOL key opinion leader is global in nature just like the drug marketing strategies. As per the UK based Pharmaceutical Marketing magazine, drug marketing company staff are urged to work daily with the KOLs or key opinion leaders to make them into product champion. In addition, marketing staff searches for doctors who can endorse their products and then they help them to raise their profile and develop them into their key opinion leaders.
Evaluation of the KOL –
As per the industry guidelines, the first and the foremost steps in developing and recruiting a set of opinion leaders are to do the valuation of their views and influence potential. Next, step is to create relationships with them and provide the doctors with proper platform so that they can communicate or talk on their behalf with other doctors and wider public. Besides that, the drug companies also evaluate the performance of their KOL key opinion leader continuously to avert the wastage of capital on the wrong person. Central databases of the KOL is also maintained which is a trick of the trade.