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Pharmaceutical Market Research Tips

Pharmaceutical Market Research

Companies conduct pharmaceutical market research to understand how investigational and marketed products treat or may be utilized to treat specific diseases. Companies gather this information from a wide variety of sources and interpret it, assessing the market success of treatments within a particular disease state. Pharmaceutical market research helps pharma companies then make evidence-based choices, increasing their own treatment’s likelihood of success.

Leveraging observations from the current landscape instead of reacting to perceived market demands can save companies valuable time and money. These learnings can help optimize a company’s internal decision-making by predicting a treatment’s commercial performance, thereby informing product strategy. Therefore, companies should conduct in-depth pharmaceutical market research before expending resources on a specific treatment. 

Pharmaceutical Market Research Tips

1. Define Your Goal

The first step to conducting pharmaceutical market research is having a clear goal. Pharma companies should zero in on what they want to understand about the market. Identifying this goal may require research into a specific therapeutic area, geographic location, or institution. It may also require companies to understand unmet needs at a patient level. In refining the company’s market research goals, they will likely need to answer the following questions:

  • What is the therapeutic area of interest?
  • Are there treatments for this condition?
  • If there are existing treatments, how efficacious are they?
  • Are there safety concerns? Can patients tolerate such therapies?
  • After answering these questions, the next step is determining a baseline metric that would provide sufficient information to yield the desired result. For example, a company may conclude that 50 percent of doctors will use treatment “X” for a specific cancer type, giving them the confidence to move forward.

2. Eliminate Bias

Companies may have preconceived notions about the current commercial landscape before engaging in pharmaceutical market research. In addition, the clinicians and patients from which companies collect data may also have personal biases on such topics from their own anecdotal experience. Therefore, when conducting market research, it is essential to eliminate these potential biases to obtain the most accurate data possible. To prevent bias, companies should diversify market research participants.

Companies should select experts equipped to inform on critical aspects of drug development, such as unmet needs, trial designs, and clinical outcomes of interest. Therefore, it is crucial to pick Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) also known as ThoughtLeaders (TLs) who are field experts. To further minimize bias, companies should also conduct research from a diverse pool of KOLs and clinicians. Experts may differ with regards to their geographic region, patient demographics, and clinical practice. A diverse data set will capture information on different types of patients and disease presentations, including factors such as co-morbidities, socioeconomic status, and disease prevalence. These factors can all impact development and market success.

3. Be Intentional With Research Questions

When conducting pharmaceutical market research, every research question should serve a purpose, and questionnaires should maintain a proper flow. For example, companies can structure their research questionnaires to start with “warm-up” questions, which are questions that acclimate the expert to the topic of interest. Subsequent queries can delve deeper into the research topics. Research questions should be neutral in nature to eliminate bias further. To gather honest data from participants, they should not sway the reader in one direction or the other. 

4. Utilize a Pulse Technique

A pulse technique utilizes a shorter questionnaire that garners continuous (iterative) market research, allowing companies to gather rich insights rapidly. Companies can conduct rapid iterative research that allows them to add or fine-tune questions yielding rich and reliable insights in days not weeks with a pulse product such as DocPulse. This technique provides more rapid pharmaceutical market research insights that can help pharma companies course-correct while maintaining intimacy with KOLs.  


To create high-quality development and commercial strategies, pharma companies should partner with experts in pharmaceutical market research. MDOutlook integrates expertise in the field of market research with an existing widespread network of KOLs, providing the fuel for efficient and fruitful market research. With platforms such as Lumineer®, DOCpulse®, or Orienteer®, pharma companies can adopt a more streamlined approach to market research and ensure market success.


Ways to optimize pharmaceutical market research include goal setting, eliminating bias, formulating purposeful questions, and utilizing pulse techniques. MDOutlook is a proven research partner that leverages these techniques, amongst many others, to increase the likelihood of a product’s commercial success. For more information on how MDOutlook can assist in market research needs, contact us!