Travel Costs for Key Opinion Leaders Come Under the Microscope

As Physician Fees Increasingly Face Scrutiny, Travel Expenses and Other Associated Costs Become a Big Question Mark

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwire - Jun 21, 2011) - As more companies get a firm handle on processes for determining fair-market value and setting physician fee schedules, payments for travel expenses and other associated costs have come under more intense scrutiny. A new study from Cutting Edge Information found that while every surveyed company compensates thought leaders for air travel, many companies no longer pay for accommodations and meals.

The research shows that 14% of top pharmaceutical companies do not pay for opinion leaders' travel accommodations. Furthermore, 20% of mid-sized pharma companies and 30% of the smallest drug research firms ask key opinion leaders (KOLs) to pay for their own hotel and food bills while working for the companies.

The study, "KOL Fair-Market Value and Aggregate Spend: Documentation, Tracking and the Sunshine Act," includes benchmark metrics for thought leader compensation and physician fee schedules. It also provides detailed analysis on how companies compensate thought leaders for their travel to and from consulting engagements, as well as additional associated costs, such as accommodations and pre-work.

"Drug manufacturers and key opinion leaders have heard and are responding to regulatory concerns over physician compensation for services," said Elio Evangelista, Director of Research at Cutting Edge Information. "Some companies are looking more closely at their travel compensation policies and making changes to become more transparent and pay fair-market value rates."

Cutting Edge Information's study ( also analyzed policies for paying physicians for preliminary or preparatory work leading up to a consulting or speaking engagement. Compensation policies for prep work varied from company to company. Overall, 60% of drug manufacturers compensate physicians for preparation time, but a growing trend seems to be emerging to compensate solely for official hours.

Executives overseeing physician compensation strategy and budgeting noted they are focused on a set of core goals:

  • Build a comprehensive, compliant thought leader management database.
  • Build stronger relationships with clinical and commercial key opinion leaders.
  • Segment and compensate thought leaders in a compliant system.
  • Prepare for the Sunshine Act's impact in 2012 and beyond.

For more information about key opinion leader relationship management and fair market value, contact Cutting Edge Information at +1 919-403-6583.

Contact Information:

Elio Evangelista
+1 919-403-6583