Do you know what clinical pharmacists and industry pharmacists have in common? Patients! We are excited to publish the first Fellow Feature, this week written by one of our First Year Fellows, Kathleen Montgomery.

One of the goals of this blog is to feature the fellows’ work during their time with the program. They regularly travel to conferences to present posters, and we believe that it is important that they have a platform to share their hard work.

Fostering Relationships Between Clinical and Industry Pharmacists

This March I attended the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA) meeting in Denver, CO. The annual HOPA meeting is an opportunity for pharmacists to present research, network, and obtain education regarding the most current practices in Heme Oncology. Although there were some industry pharmacists at this meeting, attendance at this meeting is overwhelmingly comprised of clinical oncology pharmacists.

One of the break-out sessions for industry pharmacists focused on the importance of fostering relationships between clinical and industry pharmacists. As a Medical Science Liaison (MSL) fellow I am learning to develop and maintain relationships with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs). KOLs are well respected medical experts who influence medical practice by sharing their clinical experience and expertise. Their opinions provide insight into how drugs are working in a real world setting. One thing that I have noticed is that pharmacists are incredibly under-represented as KOLs. Many people within industry see the pharmacist as someone who “counts by fives” and provides minimal patient care. However, pharmacists working in Oncology provide significant care by preparing medications and mitigating adverse reactions for patients, and their opinions would undoubtedly be beneficial for the pharmaceutical industry.

Pharmacists within industry can dispel commonly held misperceptions and advocate for the inclusion of pharmacists as KOLs. Conversely, clinical pharmacists may feel that pharmacists who have pursued careers in industry have left because they no longer want to be involved in patient care. Yet, pharmacists in industry will tell you that they appreciate being able to serve patients on a larger scale. The key to dispelling these and other misperceptions is to develop relationships and advocate for one another.

At the meeting, I presented a poster, “Developing a Tool for the Assessment and Analysis of Key Opinion Leaders’ Perspectives of Current Treatment Options”. My poster was unique in that it was the only poster specifically highlighting research from an industry pharmacist. During the poster presentation session, I had multiple industry pharmacists express how much they appreciated representation at the meeting. My poster also provided the opportunity to share with clinical pharmacists how my role as an industry pharmacist translates to improved patient care.

Pharmacists, whether practicing clinically or working in the pharmaceutical industry, have the same goal – to improve patient care! Participation at pharmacy meetings provides a great opportunity to continually foster the relationships between pharmacists working in different settings.

Montgomery, Kathleen


Kathleen Montgomery, PharmD, MSc, RPh, is a Medical Science Liaison Post-Doctoral Fellow with MCPHS University and Takeda Oncology.

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