Focusing on your Patients

A positioning study in the pharmaceutical field.

A pharmaceutical manufacturer wanted to find out the reasons for the sluggish sales of one of their products. A two-stage qualitative study with patients by GIM Pharma provided the client with some vital pointers on how to stop the negative trend of their medication.

The challenge

The solution

The success

The challenge

The medication used for treating a gastro-intestinal condition was only available on prescription. For inexplicable reasons, patients showed a very high drop-out rate – higher than for competitor produtcs. GIM’s Pharma-experts were asked to find out why the drop-out rate was so much higher. In order to ultimately, find means of lowering the drop-out rate to a normal level.

The solution

Since all previous market research had focused on doctors (motivations and barriers preventing them from prescribing the drug), GIM suggested to switch the perspective completely and to conduct a study with patients.

In face of the rather general research question, GIM’s research team intentionally selected an open approach. 36 in-depth interviews, lasting two-and-a-half hours each, were conducted in the participants’ homes (including photos). Prior to the interviews all respondents completed a preparatory “Creative-Diary” phase, which included collages and other projective and imaginative methods.

The sample of participants was was made up of three different target groups: first-time users of the medication; users who had switched from the client’s medication to the competition; and as a control group, users of other medication who would never consider using the client’s product.

The core of the study were questions concerning the current market positioning of the product. GIM’s starting hypothesis: the current positioning of the medication encouraged doctors to recommend it to a certain group of patients who were more likely to discontinue treatment. To test this theory, thematic emphasis was placed on certain areas. Above all, the patient’s specific needs and motivations in the context of therapy start, therapy change and therapy discontinuation were investigated.

The success

The study provided the client with a deeper understanding of the specific needs, motivations and behavioral patterns of their product-users, particularly in the context of therapy discontinuation. In addition, GIM presented possible options for reducing the drop-out rate – amongst others, an alternative market positioning.