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Online pharma market research continues to increase

Internet-based market research is a growing trend in pharma, and one that looks set to grow, according to the 2007 Medefield Pharmaceutical Market Research Trends Study, which was released yesterday (February 14).

Internet-based market research is a growing trend in pharma, and one that looks set to grow, according to the 2007 Medefield Pharmaceutical Market Research Trends Study, which was released yesterday (February 14).

According to the study, online market research is now conducted three times more than telephone interviews and nearly four times as often as face-to-face meetings.

There was also an increase in 2007 in the global spread of online research, with Eastern Europe and parts of Asia and Latin America gradually, although they are still far behind the US and Western Europe.

"What we're seeing is that market researchers have grown more ambitious. They still want their studies to be time efficient, cost effective and capable of producing high quality data. But they're designing more complex studies with higher goals, aimed at reaching more doctors ã geographically and within a cross-section of specialties ã and yielding information that's really solid. What's more, the researchers want to do all this within their pre-approved budgets and deadline," said Johanne Guarda, senior vice president of Medefield America.

Researchers now report internet experience in Brazil (9 per cent) and Japan (6 per cent), two countries that had previously been thought too remote for large-scale online studies.

Online access to market research has steadily increased according to previous Medefield studies, but the increase in 2007 of 43 per cent showed a sharper curve than in any of the previous years.

The use of face-to-face and telephone research has sharply declined, with face-to-face falling 28 per cent and telephone interviews dropping 41 per cent since 2006. There was a clear correlation between previous experience with the internet and an increased comfort level, resulting in a higher expectation of quality and access to a large cross-section of doctors.

The switch to online market research is partly down to cutting costs. However, according to Medefield, the same market researchers who chose the online methodology in the first place - generally for its cost-effectiveness - are now using it so much that they are spending more.

More than 20 global pharma and biotech companies were involved in the study, including AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Wyeth, Novartis, Roche and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Online interviews were conducted with 163 market research and business intelligence professionals.

14th February 2008

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