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Opinion leadership is a concept that arose out of the theory of two-step flow of communication propounded by Paul Lazarsfeld and Elihu Katz. This theory is one of several models that try to explain the diffusion of innovations, ideas, or commercial products.

The opinion leader is the agent who is an active media user and who interprets the meaning of media messages or content for lower-end media users. Typically the opinion leader is held in high esteem by those that accept their opinions. Opinion leadership tends to be subject specific, that is, a person that is an opinion leader in one field may be a follower in another field. An example of an opinion leader in the field of computer technology, might be a neighbourhood computer service technician. The technician has access to far more information on this topic than the average consumer and has the requisite background to understand the information.

Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) are physicians who influence their peers' medical practice, including but not limited to prescribing behavior [1]. Pharmaceutical companies generally engage key opinion leaders early in the drug development process to provide advocacy activity and key marketing feedback [2]. Key opinion leaders generally belong to specific area of expertise, such as oncology, cardiology, diabetes, or sometimes do specialized in very niched therapeutic areas such as Colorectal Cancer (CRC), Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). Some KOLs also belong to administration, the FDA or EMEA. Pharmaceutical companies engage KOLs in publications, conducting of clinical trials, or conducting marketing research through online panels.

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