Key Opinion Leaders are physicians who influence their peers’ medical practice, including but not limited to prescribing behaviour. Other term which closely relates are Thought Leader, Opinion and Thought Leader (OTL).
Pharmaceutical companies generally engage key opinion leaders early in the drug development process to provide advocacy activity and key marketing feedback.
Often KOLs are chosen more for their high prescribing habits which would enable them to influence their peers. KOLs are well respected in the medical fraternity and whose voice will be listen by many peers. Physicians are more interested in true thought leaders who have credentials such as academic standing and/or have performed clinical trials.
Pharmaceutical companies hire KOL’s to consult for them, to give lectures, to conduct clinical trials, and occasionally to make presentations on their behalf at regulatory meetings or hearings.
KOL management is indeed a topic of interest today among all pharma marketing and selling professionals.