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The first response to the above question shall be expression of surprise, “We already use lot of data. We buy IQVIA, we have installed sales teams tracking software, we even get data from mobile carrier. All of this is true, but we are still far behind in using data to the extent we should. In these posts, we shall explore our data usage vis-à-vis the international situation.
IQVIA MARKET DATA
IQVIA is now an American company and has a long history of collecting and publishing pharmaceutical industry data in many countries. They have been present in Pakistan also since a long time. They have their own way of collecting data which they then treat statistically to arrive at various formats. With time, they have also diversified, but our focus is on market data.
IQVIA offers following data related services in Pakistan.
- PKPI – Pakistan Pharmaceutical Index – Book & soft copy as IMSPLUS
- MIP – Medical Index of Pakistan – Book & soft copy as IMSPLUS
- OSR – Oncology Sales Report – Book
- Sales Analyzer (Monthly) – software
- PLD – Pharmacy Level Data – software
- DSR – Daily Sales Report – software
- IAM – IMS Analysis Manager – cloud-based
- PMR – Primary Market Research – on demand
IQVIA suite is quite comprehensive for marketing people. They can see the market size, growth, market share of their own company and competitors. They can also see which new products were launched during the last 12-24 months and how did these fare in the market. New product ideas can also be taken from their publications. For long, IQVIA, which used to be IMS, was the exclusive source for multinational companies, but now medium to large size local companies are also making use of these publications. IQVIA claims around 95% accuracy and their figures can be cross-checked with internal figures. The deviation, if any, does not change the overall picture.
The more marketing-oriented companies can gauge their own marketing performance vis-à-vis competitors. They can adjust their plans accordingly while keeping a tab on the competitors’ activities.
A very useful publication of IQVIA is the information about spread of information across medical specialties. The marketing team can adjust focus to penetrate more effectively into the specialties they target.
Pharmacy Level sales is also very useful to ensure that the company sales are distributed more evenly. It is a check on the sales team working also who may not be reporting failures or gaps in working.
Widespread use of IQVIA is restricted by its cost which is charged in foreign currency, mostly Swiss Francs. The cost has become even higher due to unfavorable exchange rate. Small to medium size companies just cannot afford to buy their publications.
The data for smaller companies is underrepresented. It is probably because their monitoring system is based on prescriptions and pharmacy sales. The company with larger base and wider sales would be represented more adequately, while smaller companies business may not be picked up accurately.
Small to medium local companies are not geared for strong marketing. It is not of much use to them to see what others are doing. Similarly, they already know the gaps in their working; more monitoring will not be needed.
Even if a small company somehow subscribes to IQVIA, their people may not have enough expertise to analyze the wealth of information contained therein.
Even in larger companies, IQVIA data is not used to get the maximum benefit out of it. Although IQVIA offers periodic orientation sessions, but data analysis is our national weakness. As a nation, we have not collected any reliable data. Doubts are cast over government statistics, even on those collected by the Statistical Bureau of Pakistan.
Pharma companies are no exception. They are not good at collecting data, and whatever data they have, they do not take advantage of it.
Long time back, there used to be only one indigenous market research company, Aftab Associates. Later it was taken up or merged with AC Nielsen, a multinational company. After several years, Aftab Associates have emerged again. I do not know of any other local market research company.
Pharmaceutical industry has rarely outsourced market research to such a company, mainly due to the thinking that it is an expense which should be saved. They would rather do market research though their own people.
Market research has two arms of any research; data collection, and data analysis to find workable results so that strategies could be formed. We are not good in collection of market data because of inherent issues. The data collection forms are not good enough and data is collected by people who do not know the importance of this step. I have seen that usually data comes in raw form which is difficult to process. The data collectors take it as additional burden and try to get over with it as soon as possible; the quality is compromised.
To be Concluded……
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