Differentiating a Core Hospital-based Therapy

September 24, 2012 at 2:43 PM 1 comment


MedSpan Research recently assisted an international pharmaceutical manufacturer with one of their core products.  Over the past decade, safety concerns and changes in manufacturing processes have led to intermittent supply shortages and fluctuations in the cost of a widely used, hospital-based therapy.  Our client asked MedSpan Research to help them accomplish two main objectives:

  • Determine the impact of different product characteristics on brand choice
  • Identify new product enhancements and/or service offerings that could impact brand preference

To accomplish the study’s goals, we conducted a series of one-on-one telephone interviews with hospital pharmacy directors.  Using our RapidAccess® database, MedSpan Research recruited a geographically diverse sample of respondents representing a wide range of hospital sizes (based on bed count).  This cohort is primarily responsible for selecting the brand(s) of many hospital-based products administered to patients.  Our extensive access to key decision makers allowed us to quickly contact and schedule all study participants within 3 business days.

While price and availability remain the primary drivers of brand selection, we found that pharmacy directors’ brand preferences could be swayed by marketing messages conveying that a manufacturer has a long-track record of reliably supplying its products.  Differences in product characteristics (e.g., purity, in-vitro biochemical characterization data) would have less impact, because:

  • Most hospital pharmacy directors assume that all Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved products have high purity
  • Unlike in-vivo studies, in-vitro biochemical characterization data may not translate into a significant difference in clinical outcomes

New product enhancements and services that could drive brand preference for our client’s product include:

  • Packaging the product in less breakable containers that are easier to store in the hospital pharmacy
  • Providing color-coded packaging
  • Allowing direct purchasing of the product from the manufacturer with free rush-shipping

We recommended that our client should emphasize its long track-record of supplying its products reliably.  Our client should also emphasize its product’s characteristics in its sales and marketing messages if:

  • Data are available that link the attributes to a clear clinical benefit
  • Those characteristics differentiate our client’s product from that of other manufacturers

In addition, our client should strongly consider implementing innovative packaging options and offering direct purchasing with free rush shipping (if needed) as long as their pricing and availability remain competitive.

MedSpan Research frequently conducts market research studies for many leading medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers.  Our access to the key decision makers at hospitals across the U.S. enables us to capture the perspectives that matter most to our clients.  Based on the results of this study, our client was able to determine how to best position its product in the eyes of hospital pharmacy directors and to develop effective marketing strategies and tactics to boost brand visibility and enhance their product’s market share.

MedSpan Research is a healthcare market research firm providing companies actionable insights from payers, hospitals and alternate sites of care.  MedSpan partners with pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical device and diagnostic companies to deliver insights and recommendations to maximize access, reimbursement and utilization.

RapidAccess® is a proprietary database developed by MedSpan Research which includes over 90,000 critical stakeholders and key decision makers from managed care, hospitals and alternate sites.  With RapidAccess®, MedSpan delivers the right respondents quickly to ensure that your project is accurate, actionable and achieves the results you need.

Author:  Ken Chiang

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Entry filed under: Healthcare Economics, Hospital Care, Medical Device, Pharmaceuticals, Pharmacy Directors, Uncategorized.

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