RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwire - Jul 13, 2011) - Under regulatory pressure for greater transparency around relationships with physicians, pharma and biotech companies have increasingly approached mid-level providers and allied health professionals as thought leaders, according to new research from Cutting Edge Information.

"There are thought leaders within every category of healthcare professionals, but not every category is created the same," said Elio Evangelista, director of research at Cutting Edge Information. "For pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies, better segmentation of thought leader relationships and the goals for those relationships will produce better short- and long-term results."

Evangelista cites Cutting Edge Information's most recent study on thought leader relationships, which shows that 43 percent of large drug companies are building relationships with allied health professionals -- healthcare providers such as pharmacists and therapists -- as potential thought leaders. Mid-level providers -- nurse practitioners and physician assistants -- are also being pursued at 29% of top companies.

The new study, "KOL Fair-Market Value and Aggregate Spend: Documentation, Tracking and the Sunshine Act," includes analysis on thought leader targeting by leading drug and device companies. Overall, 90% of the companies profiled in the report target specialists as thought leaders, whereas only 33% target primary care physicians.

Allied health professionals and mid-level providers have become increasingly important thought leaders for the life sciences industries as companies have stepped up transparency of their physician relationships. For example, the study shows that since 2002, when Vermont passed a requirement for drug and device companies to report all physician payments, payments to nurses have tripled. Benchmarking partners noted that this trend will be even more important in the future because the Sunshine Act does not require companies to disclose payments to healthcare providers who are not doctors of medicine (MDs).

Cutting Edge Information's study ( analyzed policies for developing physician fee schedules of consulting and advisory activities. The study provides guideposts for medical affairs and compliance executives as they:

  • 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