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Global pharma works with Key Opinion Leaders to spur revenue growth by 18-20%

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Friday, June 9, 2017, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Global pharma companies are increasingly working with key opinion leaders (KOLs) to identify new areas of research to improve market access. Working with the right KOLs can increase the revenue of pharmaceutical companies by 18-20%. The companies spend on an average 24% of their total marketing budget on KOLs, which is an adequate allocation, according to Dr. Sashi Kiran Kode, Managing Director, D2L Pharma Research Solutions.

Big Pharma is facing a paucity of promising drug candidates. R&D is expensive  and companies are hankering to augment their scientific productivity. This is where KOLs are engaged to sight the potential drug candidate leads and market opportunities.

“KOLs are experts from pharma research and marketing or could even be healthcare professionals.  Going by their experience, they assist the industry to invest right in drug development, clinical studies and seek regulatory approvals,” Dr. Kode told Pharmabiz.

Every phase of drug life cycle is expensive as it also carries a high risk of failure. Opting for the right KOL is vital to get an early indication on a company’s chance to succeed with a  new drug, getting the  regulatory clearance and to overcome market competition. Though KOLs work with the Indian pharma companies, their participation is quite less compared to Big Pharma. But India stands to gain in the KOL  business model going by its qualified and English speaking pool of professionals along with its out-sourcing cost advantage, noted the D2L chief.

Quoting a report, Dr Kode said, out of the 36 companies recently assessed, nearly four-fifths targeted multiple types KOLs: from specialists and sub-specialists to primary care providers, preventative medicine practitioners and nurses.

The emerging trends in the KOL sector are demand for social networking, access to new software tools and applications for  identification of opportunities and preference for medical science advisors who comprehend the science of drug contents, safety  and efficacy, said Dr. Kode.

The10-year old D2L too has positioned itself as an end-to-end solution service provider offering its capability in Pharma Business Intelligence, consultancy and Social Network Analysis to global pharma customers.  The company is set to open offices in the European Union and North America by this year-end.  “This organic growth strategy to set base in these countries indicates our competitiveness to scale-up,” said Dr. Kode adding that with 95 employees it is now hiring business analysts to strengthen its team.

Challenges for  KOL companies are access to right talent who are fluent to communicate and a tough  regulatory environment  ensuring constant update on quality data, he said.


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