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How Big Pharma uses Key Opinion Leaders to control the Narrative
In the Pharma industry, understand there is a symbiotic relationship between Doctors and Pharma. Most doctors are career-minded people like everyone else. They look for career progressions, and one of the ways to accelerate their career is by riding the Pharma's machinery.
In Pharma, we categorize a group of doctors as Key Opinion Leaders. We call them KOLs or "External Experts", depending on which Big Pharma you work in.
What are Key Opinion Leaders? These are doctors who shape the discussions around science. In addition, they are usually sought after to give educational talks to the general population of doctors.
We rank these KOLs according to several criteria, such as.
a. The number of papers they published
b. The number of talks they have given
c. Their medical association/ranks
d. their geographic influence (whether they are local, regional or globally renowned)
There are many other criteria, too, and this is a simplified list.
Medicine is a very complex subject, and it is very time-consuming for every doctor to catch up with science because there is an information overload concerning science and medicine. You must understand that doctors are extremely busy with patients/paperwork. They only have a little time to read and critically analyze Clinical Papers/Research etc.
Key Opinion Leaders have generally trusted doctors who shape the general narratives because they are seen as the experts in their fields and constantly keeping "up to date" with evolving studies. These are the ones that will say, "The Vaccines are Safe and Effective", and present their case, and the majority of doctors will follow their recommendations and thought processes.
One of the things that doctors MUST do to maintain their license is to get CME Points. They need these CME points to renew their medical license to continue their work. CME stands for "Continuous Medical Education".
So, for example, if you're a doctor, there are a mandatory number of events you must attend per year to collect your CME accreditation points and renew your license.
Regulators award CME Points at Speaker Events and conferences. These events and meetings are like educational talks where doctors must frequently go to renew their knowledge, get points and renew their licenses. It's called "CME Accredited Events".
Here's what we do in Big Pharma.
Big Pharma usually sponsors these CME Accredited Events. We prepare the agenda, invite the speakers and work with the speakers to ensure we are all aligned on the narratives. We pay for the event logistics such as meeting rooms, flight and accommodations (if these events are held in a beautiful, far away holiday resort). We prepare lunches and dinners; we send out invitations to these events through our Medical Sales Reps. It is an all-paid holiday provided by Big Pharma, and doctors are obligated to attend them to get their CME Points to renew their licenses.
Let me tell you something even more SHOCKING.
Most Key Opinion Leaders are groomed. So first, we identify young and new graduate doctors; we call these Potential KOLs. They are very career-aggressive doctors. But they are unknown because they have yet to build a reputation within the industry. So big Pharma identifies these doctors from their early careers and grooms these KOLs.
We train these Potential Young KOLs through various methods. Training them young builds their loyalty towards us. We send them on training, such as speaking and presentation training to make sure they build up proper skills to shape narratives in the future. This became so prevalent that it became profitable to train young KOLs that ex-pharma started new companies to train KOL Speakers. You can do a google search on "Training Pharma KOL to find a massive list of these businesses, such as this
This is how knowledge is captured; conversations are shaped according to the narratives of Pharma. By Key Opinion Leaders sponsored by Pharma.
We even have a great App to manage all that logistics, including ensuring we invite the right doctors to suitable events.