Start of Main Content

Who are the key opinion leaders in pharmaceuticals?


As an experienced pharmaceutical professional, no one knows your drug better than you. But you can’t do all the marketing, outreach, and physician presentations by yourself.

You understand the value a key opinion leader (KOL) can bring to your go-to-market plan. KOLs are generally physicians or academics. However, to include a wider range of strategic partners, some industry players are seeking more broadly defined “experts” rather than opinion leaders.

From drug discovery through clinical trials and post-approval, these professionals are valuable strategic partners. No matter where you are in the drug development process, here is some key data you can use to find and engage the perfect experts or KOLs.

How to find experts for each step in the drug development process

Experts are often experienced physicians, but not always. Patient advocacy group members, journalists, academics, researchers, and rising stars within a specific therapy area can be experts, too.

Research and discovery

You can consult with experts to identify your target research areas. Physicians are on the front lines of patient care. This gives them unique insights into diagnosis and procedure trends. They also probably know which treatments are most effective for various patient populations.

Medical claims data can help to identify emerging markets. You can find lucrative new research areas by examining diagnoses and procedures with the most growth. From there, it’s much easier to identify physicians treating your target population — as well as the drugs they are using.

Clinical trials

Consulting with an expert is useful throughout the clinical trial process. During trial development, they can influence program design and differentiators.

A physician directory can help you find providers who have experience with clinical trials. The right database will even let you filter by the number of clinical trials a doctor participated in. You should also be able to segment physicians by region and primary therapy area.

Physician experts should know about the most common clinical trials. An expert with the right experience can recommend ways to ensure compliance and improve your outcomes. Their participation could involve choosing patient populations, recording comorbidities, or recommending trial length, for instance.

Drug approval

During the drug approval stage, experts often advise on the regulatory process. The ideal partners for this stage are experts who have gone through drug approvals before and know what to expect. This can help your company preempt any objections to a new drug and be as prepared as possible for the rigorous approval process.

Physician drug market analytics will help you find the doctors prescribing competitor drugs. High-volume prescribers can act as experts with information on drug effectiveness and side effects. These doctors can highlight how the new drug differs from existing treatments on the market. Equipped with their expertise, you’ll find it easier to navigate approval.

Post-approval and distribution

Once a new drug is approved, experts and key opinion leaders in pharma can build product awareness in their specialties and throughout the wider medical community. For this stage, it is vital to have access to physician and hospital affiliations data.

You can leverage an experts’ network to spread awareness of your new therapy. Well-connected experts and opinion leaders can share their findings through speaking opportunities and published articles. This is a great way to attract a base of early adopters and build reputability in the medical community.

Learn more

Partnering with the right expert can keep you ahead of your competitors and shorten your time to market. You can trust these partners to give candid feedback and expert advice. Ideally, they will share knowledge about industry news, previous clinical trials, and other developments in their specialties.

Are you interested in learning more about the data other pharmaceutical companies use? Watch our on-demand webinar, How Pharma Firms Use Definitive Healthcare to Commercialize A New Product.

Want to try our data on pharmaceutical experts and KOLs firsthand? Start a free trial today, and we’ll show you how our healthcare intelligence can drive your expert engagement strategy.

Definitive Healthcare

About the Author

Definitive Healthcare

This blog was written by a former contributor at Definitive Healthcare.At Definitive Healthcare, our passion is to transform data, analytics and expertise into healthcare…

Author profile