When Should Politics Stand in the Way of Healthcare?

March 25, 2011 · Leave a comment

Paul Meade, M.Sc., MPH

Well, there’s an easy answer: NEVER! I could stop there and be content with “enough said,” but I would like to expand on my concerns for a minute. The Obama administration has made some noble attempts at healthcare reform, and they made some small gains despite the need for a “major” overhaul in healthcare delivery in the United States. By the time the bill was passed, many argued it had become too watered-down to pass the House and Senate. In the end, the victories were small in relative comparison to what was truly needed to get healthcare back on track in this country.

Now, this new healthcare law has become a political ping-pong ball for grandstanding antics among politicians in Washington. When did “We the People” become “Me the Politician?” Elected officials are supposed to represent their constituents, not their self-interests for their own political survival.

What would be in the best interests of the American people with regard to healthcare? Most Americans want access to affordable and effective healthcare. Much like the tagline seen at Target stores–“expect more; pay less”–that’s what we all want. Do we want to be constrained by our healthcare insurance to lifetime limits? Do we want to be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions? Do we want to continue to pay more and more ... read more »


Thought Leader Select Announces Media Partnership with Marketing4Health

February 14, 2011 · Leave a comment

February 14, 2011 (CHAPEL HILL, NC)—Thought Leader Select, a Research Triangle, NC firm focused on collaborations between the biopharmaceutical industry and the medical community, announces the launch of a new media partnership with biopharmaceutical industry blog Marketing4Health.

The research and consulting firm (Thought Leader Select) has signed on to become the blog’s exclusive sponsor, beginning February 14, 2011. With a growing international following and strong readership bases in the United States, Canada, and Europe, Marketing4Health focuses on healthcare and pharmaceutical marketing practices and challenges, as well as emerging trends in technology and social media. Natalie Bourre, the editor of Marketing4Health, is a 13-year industry veteran, with leadership positions at Alcon, Serono, and, most recently at Solvay, where she led the marketing team for Pantoloc (Protonix), which became the 5th largest Rx brand in Canada during her tenure.

“When we were seeking a media partner for 2011, the choice was obvious,” stated Brian Castle, the firm’s director of global marketing and client relations. “Natalie Bourre and Marketing4Health represent a perfect fit for our company, in that she is committed to advising the industry to market new medications in the right ways, whether to medical experts or consumers.  With any advertising partnership, we want to drive potential clients our way, and we know that Natalie’s readers are our kind of people—leaders in the industry ... read more »


Press Release: Top 10 Global Pharmaceutical Company Chooses Thought Leader Select for US Market Access KOL Assessment

November 16, 2010 · Leave a comment

November 16, 2010 (CHAPEL HILL, NC) Thought Leader Select, a North Carolina firm dedicated to delivering the most accurate and effective key opinion leader (KOL) profiling research for the biopharmaceutical industry, announces the launch of a drug reimbursement project for a top-10 US pharmaceutical company.

With a new drug for treating coagulation coming to the market in 2011, the client contracted Thought Leader Select to find advisors for reimbursement for the new drug. Thought Leader Select is helping the client company by finding the most qualified market access advisors throughout the United States. These key opinion leaders (KOLs) range from pharmacy directors to translational benefit influencers.

The payer KOLs will be found from across the United States through Thought Leader Select’s extensive databases. Through a deep profiling methodology based on 15 categories, ranging from area of expertise to publications, Thought Leader Select will understand the key opinion leaders’ skills and experiences in the area of coagulation.

The role of the customized group of KOLs will be to advise on what the pharmaceutical company needs to accomplish with various private and public formularies to successfully gain reimbursement well in advance of introduction into market.

At project delivery, Thought Leader Select will showcase the market access leaders’ profiles in its proprietary database, Thought Leader Index, according to Neil Mellor, business development consultant. “This database allows users to ... read more »


Fast Facts from Thought Leader Select—Trends in Diabetes Advocacy Involvement

August 2, 2010 · 2 comments

Key opinion leaders (KOLs) are health care leaders who make a high-impact footprint while advancing medical science. Thought Leader Select specializes in delivering objective, validated data on the skills and experiences of KOLs, so that pharmaceutical companies can seek their advice and guidance in the development of new medicines.

Over the past several years, Thought Leader Select has studied physician key opinion leaders who treat diabetes and analyzed their involvement in many areas, including clinical research, treatment guidelines involvement, publishing, reimbursement involvement and participation in advocacy efforts. In a recent assessment of nearly 500 diabetes KOLs across the United States, Thought Leader Select examined their participation in patient advocacy activities. Using keywords to link these KOLs with such activities, Thought Leader Select found that 62% of physicians regularly take part in patient advocacy efforts, such as participation in advocacy organizations, patient education or legislative efforts (see Chart 1).

Of the 301 KOLs with advocacy involvement, most take part in five or fewer activities, while only 3% of them boast 10 or more advocacy activities and/or awards. In addition to activities through the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) – especially the American College of Endocrinology’s Power of Prevention (POP) program – top advocacy initiatives and organizations include:

• Taking ... read more »


Capitation and Thought Leaders

July 27, 2010 · Leave a comment

Industry Insights from Paul Meade, M. Sc, MPH

Academic institutions across the United States are placing physicians affiliated with those institutions under an “industry capitation.” What this essentially means is that there are limits to what such physicians can accept from biopharmaceutical companies for services rendered to those companies.

In other words, a physician working with an academic medical institution can only accept a specified amount of remuneration from a biopharmaceutical company for participating in company-sponsored activities, such as advisory boards, speaking engagements, consultative sessions, and travel reimbursement to scientific conferences. Therefore, when an internationally renowned thought leader reaches that maximum allowable limit, he can no longer provide any consultative services for the company.

What’s next? Deciding how many automobiles a thought leader can personally own? Limiting the number of secondary residences a physician can purchase? Deciding which companies they are permitted to work with?

To be sure, an academic institution wants to establish some ethical rules for their affiliated physicians and have some reasonable assurances that these physicians do not compromise their objectivity by exhibiting a conflict of interest, especially one that appears in the front page of a nationally recognized newspaper. But where do you draw the limits? Who decides what the right amount of remuneration is for services rendered for a known thought leader interacting with a biopharmaceutical company?

As long as ... read more »


Thought Leader Select Launches Key Opinion Leader Assessment in Mexico

July 23, 2010 · Leave a comment

Press Release Out Today from the Offices of Thought Leader Select

July 22, 2010 (CHAPEL HILL, NC)—Thought Leader Select, a North Carolina company dedicated to delivering sophisticated key opinion leader research solutions to the biopharmaceutical industry, announces new key opinion leader research for an established Mexican pharmaceutical company.

The pharmaceutical company, a long-time presence in the Mexican market, has contracted the firm for key opinion leader identification, profiling, and engagement strategies in support of a novel prescription medication for the relief of muscle and joint pain.  Thought Leader Select will assess the skills and experiences of a host of rheumatologists and orthopedic surgeons throughout Mexico.  The pharmaceutical firm will engage the identified medical experts for one-on-one consultations, advisory boards, and speaking engagements, as well as potential clinical studies for new treatment indications for the drug.

In addition to profiles and activity plans for the leading Mexican physicians, Thought Leader Select will also deliver access to its exclusive web-based expert tool for optimizing physician teams for a variety of development activities.

“Our customized services, well-known throughout the United States and Canada,  work for companies operating domestically in Mexico as well as multi-nationals doing business throughout Latin America,” stated Dr. Daniel Bagi, head of Latin American business development at Thought Leader Select, from his office in Mexico City. “The launch of this project establishes Thought Leader ... read more »


Fast Facts from Thought Leader Select—Profile of a Top ADD/ADHD Center of Excellence

July 8, 2010 · Leave a comment

In a recent study commissioned by a global pharmaceutical and medical device company, Thought Leader Select delivered an objective research assessment of the top 35 medical centers of excellence for the treatment of attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) across the United States and Canada.  For the assessment, Thought Leader Select analyzed information in several key areas, including basic and clinical research, publications, residency programs, and treatment guidelines involvement.

Within the scope of the overall assessment, the client company commissioned a more focused look at the top centers of excellence for research in the ADD/ADHD field.  The top center’s profile included 11 ongoing clinical trials to evaluate the potential for new medicines to effectively treat ADD and ADHD.  Previously, the center completed nine major studies evaluating the effectiveness of various treatment methods for the conditions, and the center had generated 18 clinical trial publications over a seven-year period.

In addition to the center’s array of landmark studies and clinical trial participation, the Thought Leader Select assessment also noted the center’s dominance in the area of publishing. For this category, the company used keywords relevant to the client’s focus within the therapeutic area to determine medical journal article relevancy. The center had generated a total of 94 publications in the treatment area of ADD/ADHD since 2001, with 67 of ... read more »