Not Enough Doctors?

August 22, 2012 · Leave a comment

Industry Insights from Paul Meade, M.Sc, MPH

Recently, I read a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece titled “Why the Doctor Can’t See You” by John Goodman, President of the National Center for Policy Analysis.  The central point of Goodman’s piece suggests that under the Affordable Care Act the “demand for healthcare will increase dramatically,” and there simply won’t be enough physicians in the United States to provide all this care.

Really?

While the United States does rank 53rd out of 145 countries in physicians per capita, with 2.4 medical doctors for every 1000 people, our country ranks higher than Japan at 2.1 MDs/1000, Canada at 2.0, China at 1.4, and India at 0.6 (according to a World Health Organization report). The global average is 1.4 doctors per 1000 people. The highest doctors-per-capita healthcare systems are those in Cuba (6.7/1000) and Greece (6.2/1000).

What does all of this mean? Does this mean that Cuba and Greece have a much healthier population than the U.S.? Canada has a universal healthcare system, offering healthcare to everyone, at a per-capita rate of 2.0 doctors. Can Canada provide its citizens with adequate healthcare delivery? It can, and it does. Can Japan handle healthcare demand for its people with only 2.1 MDs per 1,000, especially given its aging population? I dare say that it can, and it will.

So, if ... read more »

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Thought Leader Select Announces New KOL Identification and Profiling Projects in Oncology, Neurology

December 2, 2011 · Leave a comment

Thought Leader Select is pleased to announce a series of key opinion leader (KOL) identification and profiling projects to support multiple therapeutic areas for a top five global biopharmaceutical company.

In these research assessments, Thought Leader Select will identify and profile leading medical experts in neurology and oncology to support drug development initiatives in various cancers and neurological disorders. The oncologists and neurologists will represent many of the leading physicians at top medical centers of excellence throughout Canada.

Thought Leader Select will use its validated, objective deep profiling methodology to assess the skills and experience of the thought leaders in oncology and neurology in multiple research categories, including their areas of expertise, medical/scientific journal publishing history, and participation in basic and clinical research.  The company’s research group is comprised of subject-matter experts in medicine, with decades of experience working in medical research and clinical settings in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Africa.

The project will yield over 100 physicians who may advise the company on its development efforts in the treatment of cancers and neurological diseases. Typically, key opinion leaders serve on scientific advisory boards and participate in late-stage clinical trials to monitor the effectiveness of new drugs in larger patient populations.

“We are honored that this company has chosen to partner with us again to use effective solutions to identify ... read more »

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Thought Leader Select Announces New Assessments of Key Opinion Leaders, Centers of Excellence in Women’s Health, Oncology

October 28, 2011 · Leave a comment

Company News

Thought Leader Select is pleased to announce a pair of projects in support of a top 10 global biopharmaceutical company as it seeks to develop a portfolio of medicines in women’s health.

For the assessments, Thought Leader Select will study key opinion leaders and medical centers of excellence in the treatment of cancers affecting the gynecological health of women, specifically ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, and uterine cancer. In the first assessment, the company will identify and profile Canadian oncologists with vast expertise in research and treatment of these cancers affecting women.  In the second assessment, Thought Leader Select will identify and profile Canadian medical centers with specialized infrastructures for research and treatment in these disease areas.

“We are very proud to begin this critical work supporting pharmaceutical development in the area of women’s health,” stated Neil Mellor, Thought Leader Select’s global business development consultant.  “This client is an established leader in developing medicines for the treatment of various forms of cancer, and we appreciate the opportunity to help them partner with the right key opinion leaders and centers of excellence in women’s health and oncology, to ultimately help patients suffering from these cancers.”

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Should Doctors Be Paid By Drug Companies?

March 30, 2011 · 1 comment

Industry Insights from Paul Meade, M.Sc., MPH

Should doctors be paid by drug companies? Well, I guess that depends on the reason for the payment. If a physician, known for her expertise in a given area, is asked by a pharmaceutical company to determine if a newly discovered drug compound would meet a medical need in healthcare, then the answer is clearly yes. Likewise, if a patient consults with an orthopedic specialist on whether to undergo a surgical procedure to repair a damaged cartilage, that consultation is paid for by the person’s health insurance.

In any profession based on an individual’s expertise—think lawyers, management consultants–a person’s informed opinion usually commands some form of payment.  Also, the level of expertise generally dictates the level of compensation. So why is it that when a physician gives advice to a patient, or even a group of patients during a patient advocacy lecture, we all feel compensation is fair and just, but when that same person provides his or her expertise to a pharmaceutical company seeking to make a decision on whether to continue the development of a new drug, many people cry foul? Should pharmaceutical companies be forbidden to seek out and pay for the expertise and knowledge of physicians?

In order for a new medicine to become available to the general population, regulatory authorities demand ... read more »

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Successful Product Launches with the Right Thought Leaders

June 30, 2010 · Leave a comment

Industry Insights from Paul Meade, M. Sc, MPH

When a biopharmaceutical company introduces a new medicine to the market, it comes after years of research, years of clinical development, and some times even years of regulatory review. With the patent ticking away from the early days of discovery, recovering the cost of such an investment in time and money requires a rapid and successful product launch. Achieving rapid success requires careful planning and a tremendous amount of valuable advice. This sage advice usually comes from respected thought leaders with years of experience in their respective therapeutic areas of expertise.

>From the early discovery phase, key opinion leaders help guide a company’s basic research to ensure unmet medical needs are met in a meaningful and cost-effective way. After moving beyond the proof-of-concept stage and into clinical development, other thought leaders play a critical role in assisting with the design of clinical trials that will be implemented through a network of investigators. Throughout the clinical development phases, thought leaders help guide a company with the most important messages other physicians will hear about the strengths and weaknesses of such a new medicine. And finally, as this new product enters the marketplace and is prescribed by the medical community, thought leaders play an important role ... read more »

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The Illuminating Value of a Key Opinion Leader Research Assessment: Validation versus Identification

June 29, 2010 · Leave a comment

During a recent client feedback survey interview, a pharmaceutical company executive defined Thought Leader Select’s value in this manner:  “We always think we know our physician key opinion leaders in a given therapeutic area.  Your company provides immense value not only in validating our KOLs with thorough, objective information on their skills and experiences, but also in pointing out to us that there are other experts out there whom we should be engaging in the development of new medicines.”

A case in point is Thought Leader Select’s recent analysis of a pool of global key opinion leaders in the therapeutic area of infectious diseases for a large, multi-national pharmaceutical company. For the study, the company supplied the names of 32 medical experts they had engaged in Europe and North America and asked Thought Leader Select to profile and compare the skills and experiences of these physicians with those of 23 new thought leaders identified and profiled by Thought Leader Select in those same geographic regions.

The results of the study provided the client company with a better understanding of the skills and experiences of not only their current pool of medical advisors, but those of an expanded pool as well.  In the analysis of the new, larger pool of physicians in the areas of development most important to the client, Thought Leader ... read more »

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The Trifecta of Mutually-Beneficial Relationships: KOLs, Pharma, and Patients—Part Four

March 25, 2010 · Leave a comment

Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology Companies Provide Early Knowledge-building Opportunities for KOLs and Clinical Investigators


Understanding the value that key opinion leaders provide pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies is clear, but how do companies benefit thought leaders and clinical investigators? By definition, KOLs are physicians, scientists and academics who devote time to studying and advancing their craft. Often, these academic pursuits are broadened by involvement in early-stage advisory board meetings and clinical investigations.


In the early stage of molecule development, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies rely on KOLs to help shape how a new compound will be used in patients, to design clinical studies, and to determine pricing. Simultaneously, thought leaders gain early knowledge about new ways of treating patients with specific diseases and illnesses. They also learn about new treatment breakthroughs and therapies that provide greater value for patients.


Clinical investigators who participate in early-Phase II investigations are helping companies determine correct dosing, timing and other safety issues. At the same time, they too have a first look at new therapies as well as the opportunity to shape future treatment guidelines. Additionally, these investigators often present new clinical data to other scientists and physicians, which reveal possibilities for future research and investigation.
Opportunities for ... read more »

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