By Brian Castle
In treatment areas where many patients are affected with a variety of diseases and conditions, commercial and medical affairs professionals in life sciences companies have institutional knowledge of the key opinion leaders who push medical science forward. In most of these areas, the thought leaders are most often physician specialists, such as oncologists, psychiatrists, rheumatologists, or cardiologists.
In some treatment areas, however, multiple professionals play leadership roles. Such is the case with anaphylaxis. According to the National Institutes of Health, anaphylaxis is a severe, whole-body allergic reaction to a chemical that has become an allergen. These chemicals can derive from food, insects, and drugs. In some people, an exposure to a specific chemical sensitizes the immune system, so that subsequent exposures trigger anaphylactic symptoms such as rash, nausea, and cough, culminating in the tightening of the airway.
Since anaphylaxis is most often triggered by exposure to certain foods or insect bites, most patients see this diagnosis from childhood. Thus, life sciences companies remain focused on evolving devices that are more child-friendly in their delivery of epinephrine doses to stave off severe allergic reactions.
Thought Leader Select has worked in the treatment area of anaphylaxis, and in collaboration with our life science clients, we have determined that this area requires an atypical KOL strategy to support bringing the right devices to parents and patients around the world. While the criteria for analyzing the skills and experience of these thought leaders remains the same (a deep dive into areas of research, treatment, publishing, and speaking to include peer education and patient advocacy), the thought leaders in this space emerge from several corners of the medical community.
Many types of health care professionals touch patients who have suffered from emergency episodes stemming from anaphylaxis. Unlike many other areas, many types of HCPs are investing their time in areas of thought leadership. The physician specialists—the usual suspects—are there leading the way; in the case of anaphylaxis, allergists and pediatric allergists. As Thought Leader Select has widened its research perspective through the years, we have also been sure to shine a proper light on an array of professionals working collaboratively with allergists to define the space. Primary care and family medicine physicians are leading the treatment area, as well as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and registered nurses.
In some geographic areas, many underserved by specialty medical care, even school nurses are engaging in the professional education and patient advocacy efforts needed to save lives from this deadly allergic reaction.
Thought Leader Select’s work in anaphylaxis speaks to the company’s approach that is centered on client needs and focused on the reality of how health care professionals define thought leadership in a given therapeutic area.
Brian Castle is Director of Global Marketing and Client Relations at Thought Leader Select.