The pharma industry is the only industry in the world where the journey from idea to final product takes at least a decade. Millions of dollars are invested in research and clinical trial, and yet 90 per cent of the ideas fail. With so much riding on drug research and development, it is no doubt that market research becomes a necessity before undertaking a project.
A Highly Sensitive Market Condition
The pharmaceutical market is characterized by disruptions due to innovation in drugs and expiring patents. Research and development is therefore the lifeblood of any pharmaceutical company. In the highly regulated market, which currently exceeds $1 trillion, there are strict approval processes and strong patent legislation. Regulation and approval of drugs vary from country to country, making market conditions strictly regulated and highly sensitive to changes.
In this scenario, rushing headlong into drug development without undertaking any market research means the company is risking its reputation and future at once. The market research gives a fair idea of the market conditions and underlying regulatory environment in the pharma industry.
Let’s look at a few basic ingredients of pharma market research.
A Fair Assessment of the Consumer Needs
At any given time, the pharmaceutical industry is not just addressing the patients but is also dealing with a host of other service providers such as doctors, clinicians, hospitals, pharmacies, and distributors. Comprehensive market research should be mindful of the needs and views of these segments as well. Identifying the market potential of new drugs and the reasons for falling sales, are all crucial for the forward movement of the industry.
Sizing Up the Market
Usually, drug development is undertaken for a particular market. It would be a good idea to have a fair assessment of the market conditions and the framework of regulations that could impair clinical trials and research. The potential for the market of a particular drug also depends on the environmental factor and the political and economic condition of the region. The pharmaceutical market research services should be roped in for a comprehensive market report.
No market research can be complete without knowing the plans of the competition. Before taking up any drug development, a pharma company likes to be aware of its competitors. It is likely that they too are working in the same area and the expected timeframe for their drug to hit the market. This way they can pace their research and trial in a calibrated manner.
Regulation and Compliances
The pharmaceutical industry must operate within a highly regulated framework of data privacy, patents, and drug trials. The market research should cover these teething issues and possibilities of legislation impacting their R&D activities. The FDA regulations of the USA have to be taken into consideration at any cost. The solution is to build compliance into the company programs to streamline compliance initiatives and reduce risks. For policy advocacy, key opinion leaders’ management services can be enlisted to influence the opinion makers in society.
Tracking Trends and Patterns
A good market research report should cover industry trends and emerging patterns in drug development. For instance, the use of new technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) to cut short the drug efficacy test period. This is a welcome change and can have a far-reaching impact on the entire pharma industry.
Communication is Crucial
The ultimate goal of any research initiative is not to create silos of data but to share findings and use the insights for improved drug development, trial, and delivery services. To that end, it is also important to incorporate unbiased customer feedback in the loop of a better product development plan. The pharma industry needs to take a big-picture view before embarking on any significant project.