Pharma wants research partners, not data suppliers

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Form true partnerships with your clients, keep them happy and make your recommendations short and sweet — that's the message from pharmaceutical companies to their marketing research suppliers and consultants, according to a new study by marketRx, a Cognizant Company.

Pharma companies felt that the most important attribute they wanted to see in suppliers was their ability to be a partner, rather than simply providing data. Having a positive relationship with them also scored highly, as did suppliers' ability to provide companies with concise summaries of conclusions and recommendations.

However, while most pharma companies generally viewed their experiences with suppliers as positive, they felt that most have considerable room to improve on working with them as partners and on providing concise summaries. Interestingly, companies reported that they were less concerned about their suppliers offering proprietary techniques and providing normative data.

MarketRx presented the results of the survey of 26 pharma companies and 55 suppliers and consultants at last week's Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Group (PMRG) Annual National Conference in Phoenix, AZ. Gary Minarich, VP, professional services at marketRx, stressed that all findings should be considered “directional only.”

The survey also found that the “preferred provider” model is currently dominant (used by 54% of companies) and will be used increasingly in the next five years (65% of companies) at the expense of the “no restrictions on suppliers” model (currently 38%, dropping to 26%).

The “preferred provider” model scored high on “knowledge of therapeutic area” and “cost to the client,” while the “no restrictions” model came out top in “quality” and “ensuring the right supplier.”

Only 4% of companies currently use the “agency of record” model and this is unlikely to change in the next five years.

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