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Beyond Traditional Rx Data – Are There Other Options?

Traditional data sources such as APLD, Rx, ICD9, etc., are generally available, and they help us both identify and quantify market opportunities. But there are often situations where these "traditional" data sets are of little value due to poor coverage, low match rates, structural biases, and other factors. When we find ourselves in this type of a situation, it is important to look beyond the usual sources and consider some of the non-traditional sales data available.

Longitudinal Rx data is generally available for most therapeutic areas, but inputs become fewer when we consider products that may be administered directly in the physician’s office. Consider the challenges associated with segmenting your target audience for vaccines, for which there is no “script” to track:  

  • Physician offices typically stock only one product, as competitive or alternative products are typically not available.
  • Data are available only at the account/clinic level, not at the physician level.
  • Data are more likely to reflect direct orders rather than actual sales, which presents challenges for measuring market potential.

In the vaccine scenario, the target audience provides clues as to alternative approaches for measuring market potential. If your product is targeted at adolescents, infants or juveniles, consider using one of the rich, broadly available demographic data sets. Establishing the relevant specialist (pediatrician, endocrinologist, etc.) as the target, you can perform a radius analysis, which in turn will allow you to build out market potential by target density, household size and proximity to the desired HCP. Taking it one step further, an overlay of IMS data showing traditional Rx loyalty or volume for a competitive manufacturer may support your assumptions regarding physician behavior, and provide some insight into potential opportunities for both non-personal promotion as well as field force activity.

Ultimately, this approach involves an exercise in triangulation. While the actual data that pinpoint the opportunity may not be available, identifying your target using a number of different approaches is often just as effective, and may even find potential opportunities that your traditional approach overlooked. Join us at the PMSA 2014 Annual Conference in Orlando on May 21 to drill deeper into these alternatives!

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