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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: derekb.lowe@gmail.com Twitter: Dereklowe

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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

In the Pipeline

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September 17, 2010

The Life of a Key Opinion Leader

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Posted by Derek

Here's an uncomplimentary look at the whole concept of "Key Opinion Leaders" in drug marketing. I think this part gets at the real reason many people agree to do this (and a lot of other things besides):

"It strokes your narcissism," says Erick Turner, a psychiatrist at the Oregon Health and Science University. There is the money, of course, which is no small matter. Some high-level KOL's make more money consulting for the pharmaceutical industry than they get from their academic institutions. But the real appeal of being a KOL is that of being acknowledged as important. That feeling of importance comes not so much from the pharmaceutical companies themselves, but from associating with other academic luminaries that the companies have recruited. Academic physicians talk about the experience of being a KOL the way others might talk about being admitted to a selective fraternity or an exclusive New York dance club. No longer are you standing outside the rope trying to catch the doorman's eye, waiting hungrily to be admitted. You are one of the chosen.

Although, as the piece makes clear, it's more about the life of not-quite-key opinion leaders. As with every club, there are inner rooms and outer rooms. . .

Comments (7) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Why Everyone Loves Us


COMMENTS

1. Chemjobber on September 17, 2010 8:05 AM writes...

Oh, man, you left out the best part! From the article:

"Perhaps the most remarkable recent exchange with a KOL emerged in an investigation of Joseph Biederman, a child psychiatrist at Harvard University. In a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, Biederman was accused of promising positive research results to the company in exchange for funding. A hint of Biederman's self-opinion emerged in a deposition, where a lawyer asked him about his academic ranking.

Biederman: "To move in the ranks from one rank, for example, at Harvard, there is instructor, from instructor you move to assistant professor, from assistant professor you move to associate professor, from associate professor you move to full professor."

Lawyer: "Full professor?"
Biederman: "Mm-hmm."
Lawyer: "What rank are you?"
Biederman: "Full professor."
Lawyer: "What's after that?"
Biederman: "God."
Lawyer: "Did you say God?"
Biederman: "Yeah."

Permalink to Comment

2. Beige Parrot on September 17, 2010 8:37 AM writes...

@ Chemjobber

Thanks. That exchange made my day.

We had so many non-productive, out-in-left-field, non-relevant discussions with KOL's in my past large pharma life that we pitifully referred to them as Kooks-On-the-Loose.

Permalink to Comment

3. john on September 17, 2010 9:19 AM writes...

I quote Homer Simpson when I ask "but what about their hippopotamus oath"

Permalink to Comment

4. bad wolf on September 17, 2010 9:24 AM writes...

What was that Alec Baldwin movie with him as an MD on a witness stand? "You ask if I have a God complex? Let me tell you something... I am God."

Permalink to Comment

5. You're Pfizered on September 17, 2010 9:32 AM writes...

@4--Malice

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqeC3BPYTmE

Permalink to Comment

6. Intruder alert on September 17, 2010 7:29 PM writes...


No commentary of Forest Lab's 300 million dollar hit??


http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/09/16/con-forest-plea.html

Permalink to Comment

7. MIMD on September 20, 2010 3:37 PM writes...

A number of (non-complimentary) posts on KOL's can be seen at the Healthcare Renewal blog here.

Permalink to Comment

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