Posted on Thursday 16 May 2013

This graphic is a cut down version of the flyer for the 4th KOL Relationship Summit with just the session topics. It’s to help PHARMA types more effectively recruit and manage the physicians who they use to promote their products. As you read through these topics keep in mind that I didn’t make this up, it’s a real brochure for a real conference, even though it reads like a C.I.A. seminar for how to recruit and handle spy networks [and get around the Sunshine Act]. Each one is worse than the next. My opinion? State Medical Boards ought to make physicians participating in such things grounds for suspension of medical licenses. There’s nothing right about this. This isn’t what Hippocrates had in mind…

Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) possess a unique credibility, as their validity often stems from years of industry experience and medical affiliations. Relationship management is an essential part to a successful KOL program and helps foster a culture of transparent engagement and collaboration. As the healthcare landscape changes due to Healthcare Reform and the Sunshine Act, it is important for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies to know how their relationships with KOLs can be affected and what they must to do to maintain a valuable and engaging relationship.

After three enormously successful events, ExL Pharma is excited to bring back the 4th KOL Relationship Summit. The goal of this conference is to offer professionals from pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology companies a complete understanding of the issues and strategies for effectively engaging in valuable relationships with KOLs to drive the success of a drug or medical device, educate physicians, and maintain a balance with compliance and business objectives during a changing healthcare environment.

By attending this conference, you will hear industry-specific case studies and examples including:

  • Adapting to the transparency of the Sunshine Act and the effect on KOL relationships
  • The role of medical affairs and KOL engagement
  • Defining the new wave of KOLs emerging from a changing healthcare environment
  • Leveraging local and global KOLs to stay ahead of industry globalization
  • Developing effective collaboration between commercial and medical departments
  • Maintain mutually beneficial KOL relationships
  • Understanding the thought leader perspective and expectations
  • Exploring the latest technologies for thought leader identification and expanded networking
  • Assisting KOLs in tracking and reporting payments
  • Developing a strategic KOL plan to align engagement with the product lifecycle
    Berit Bryn-Jensen
    May 17, 2013 | 7:40 AM

    Shame is not in their vocabulary of business and private gain. Just look into how the key team of 10-year old ExL present hemselves, wine collection for a private cellar, golf and tech play and the barest minimum of words for “having” family.
    They even present patient KOLs for influencing patient groups and politics. No end of cynicism… Layer on layer of businesses and the biggest corporations to make money on populations of patients (better still to produce populations of patients) by selling their thinking, to drive the sales, to control global markets. Unsustainable – but familiar thinking – after us the deluge

    May 17, 2013 | 9:53 AM

    I’m going to have to disagree with you somewhat on this one 1BOM. You say “[and get around the Sunshine Act].” The spirit of the Sunshine Act was designed for transparency, not to eliminate entirely payments from industry to physicians. “Adapting to the transparency of the Sunshine Act and the effect on KOL relationships” and “Assisting KOLs in tracking and reporting payments” is not actually getting around the Sunshine Act. Now, “funneling all our payments through CME front companies” is getting around the spirit of the Sunshine Act, and that was put in there by OMB NOT by Congress:

    From :

    In theory, the Sunshine Act should make it much easier for everyone — patients, journal editors, physicians, and those assessing guidelines — to look up payments and gifts to physicians. That said, we can expect pharmaceutical and device makers to quickly invent new survival strategies.

    Indeed, it appears from experts’ reads of the newly released rules that the feds have cordoned off a whole financial area in which no sun will shine: Comparing the draft rules to those released this past week, Larry Husten of Forbes noticed that the finalized rules allow companies to pay physicians as speakers for Continuing Medical Education (CME) events, “as long as the companies don’t select the speakers or directly pay them.” But many physicians get ideas about what drugs and devices to use — or not use — at such CME events.

    On this, Brody observed, “the new regulations apparently support the fiction that so long as the money is properly laundered, the drug company exerts no real influence over the nature of the CME program.” But “the simple fact is that drug companies fund CME program support out of their marketing budgets.” He added, “They spend the money that way because they expect a payoff in increased prescriptions for their product.”

    Brody’s reading is backed by Ed Silverman, editor of Pharmalot, a website that tracks the pharmaceutical industry. When I asked Silverman about the CME exemption, he replied, “CME providers exist to facilitate the messages propagated by manufacturers.” He added, “By deciding disclosure is not warranted, the administration is allowing a form of laundering to be sanctioned.”

    May 17, 2013 | 10:02 AM

    To highlight from the above:

    Indeed, it appears from experts’ reads of the newly released rules that the feds have cordoned off a whole financial area in which no sun will shine: Comparing the draft rules to those released this past week, Larry Husten of Forbes noticed that the finalized rules allow companies to pay physicians as speakers for Continuing Medical Education (CME) events, “as long as the companies don’t select the speakers or directly pay them.”

    The administration has now officially sanctioned that such payments do not need to be reported. Presumably making the work of any would by Paul Thacker that much harder these days. Through the last minute change that OMB introduced, it boosts the credibility of those that say such payments are not an issue “as long as the companies don’t select the speakers or directly pay them.”

    May 17, 2013 | 8:10 PM

    This is part and parcel of what psychiatry is now. The new “mental illnesses” are largely a failure to function like a pleasing robot no matter how dehumanized and dis-empowered you and your environment are. It’s failing to suppress the disturbances that naturally occur when a social animal is living in an antisocial society.

    Making money is “health.” The more profitable the employee, business, or product, the more “healthy” it is. If every American went out today and spent their last dime on arsenic and salad dressing, then went home and consumed it all; it would be a great day by the measure of GDP, regardless of the loss of tomorrow’s productivity because DOLLARS.

    Making sales is what matters. How those sales are made, or the value of the product in terms of meaningful personal or social value doesn’t matter much. All that matters is the bottom line. All marketing pitches will be altered for the purpose of sales. All image will be altered for the purpose of sales. All corporate goals will be amended for the purpose of sales. Whether or not the product is anything like the image doesn’t matter as long as it sells.

    Salesmen are groomed to sell. Period. When the product is not so effective, and even when it’s dangerous, the salesman must use “bullshit” convincingly in order to make the sale. Sometimes, this may require that the salesman be taught to bullshit himself.

    Pharmaceutical sales for profit are no different from any other product made for profit. The corporation will spend more on marketing than on product development. The corporation will hide or spin anything that reflects negatively on the product. The corporation will create a need to fill, if there is little or no demand for a new product that is within their means to develop without cutting into profits.

    In order to recruit and fluff arrogant people with a degree in medicine, the potential KOLs must be convinced that they will get the lifestyle they feel entitled to, or must be enticed to feel entitled to it; and must be convinced that taking the position will give them the prestige of being cutting edge medical scientists.

    Are the KOLs as much of a product of marketing as the drugs? Depends on whether the KOL is being decidedly manipulative or inadvertently manipulated, or a combination of both.

    There is no medical or scientific woo here that is anything other than an attempt to woo for the purpose of making sales. All quality research should be done by independent researchers without a dog in the race. The corporation’s “research” should not even be taken seriously. But, when so much research and college grants are dependent on corporate money; this is what we get. Sales pitches, spin, and opportunistic, greedy personalities running the show.

    May 18, 2013 | 10:29 AM

    Gee, were these cloaked Nuremberg trials, just not to incarcerate but to exonerate?

    May 18, 2013 | 1:55 PM

    FYI …. a rebuke

    DSM-5: A Manual Run Amok

    It’s time for psychiatry to drop its field guide and try to learn about mental ills

    —Dr. McHugh is University Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins and former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

    A version of this article appeared May 18, 2013, on page C3 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: A Manual Run Amok.

    May 18, 2013 | 5:01 PM


    You brought up the Nuremberg trials.
    I’m amazed of how *little* psychiatrists know of the history of their profession.

    The extermination of the “mentally ill” in Germany took place before the Jews, with eight death camps, a training ground for the SS; there was a sharing of these techniques between U.S. and German psychiatrists; there was a strong attempt by some of the membership of the APA to euthanize “mentally retarded” children in this country; there was a successful effort to hide this information, from the majority in the profession and the public at large.

    From the website of Psychiatrist, Peter Breggin, M.D. (a Jew, who is sickened by the actions of his profession). –

    Read the articles, Joel… Watch the video (if you dare).
    And please stop making wise cracks about Nuremberg.


    May 18, 2013 | 5:09 PM

    There were 6 extermination centers for the “mentally ill” (not 8).

    My apologies,


    May 18, 2013 | 5:45 PM

    Hitler was inspired by the U.S. eugenics movement. “Lunatics” in the U.S, had been sterilized since 1907. The Nazis sterilized the families of anyone diagnosed with schizophrenia, then later exterminated all the “schizophrenics” whether or not they could work, with the intention of ridding their society of it. It did nothing to lower the incidence of schizophrenia afterward.

    Dr. Ernst Rudin who came of with the hypothesis that schizophrenia was inherited in a Mendelian since, like eye color later moved to New York to do more psychiatric studies, as did Dr. Franz Kallman who had done studies in Germany on “schizophrenic” twins.

    It’s esti­mated that 220,000 to 269,500 per­sons were ster­il­ized and mur­dered by the Nazis, which rep­re­sented between 73% to 100% of indi­vid­u­als with schiz­o­phre­nia liv­ing in Ger­many in 1939?–?1945. After the war, the rate of inci­dence of schiz­o­phre­nia was high; the sim­plis­tic genetic the­ory about schiz­o­phre­nia that the Nazis expected to be proven with ster­il­iza­tion and geno­cide was wrong.

    May 18, 2013 | 8:43 PM

    What are you inferring here Duane, it was psychiatrists who murdered people?!

    Amazing what commenters will deflect to.

    And yes, as a Jew, I do know much about the atrocities of that time.

    I guess I have to spell things out, my analogy was poor but the framing wasn’t, getting KOLs together to validate and commemorate their heinous agenda should be judged instead. But, make a veiled reference and the bashing insures.

    Care to find a mirror?

    May 18, 2013 | 10:40 PM

    Yes, it was *psychiatrists* who murdered people.
    It sounds like you do not know the history of your profession,


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