The term healthcare market research is a broad term, but products will either be categorised as ‘Ethical’or‘Rx’, meaning drugs which are prescribed or used by doctors, surgeons, and nurses in primary, secondary or tertiary care environments; Medical Devices (such as pace makers, inhalers, pins and replacement joints used in orthopaedic surgery); OTC or Over the Counter, which means the drugs and remedies available from chemists through consultation such as certain painkillers and cough medicines; or ‘Consumer’where products have a broader appeal and can be purchased from supermarkets, vending machines and pharmacies but don’t require any consultation with a healthcare professional before purchase (e.g., pain relief, cough & cold medicine).
A Career in Pharma Market Research
Pharma Market Research is ideally suited to someone who has an inquisitive and analytical mind. You will need attention to detail and to be able to interpret and explain data / information. Most roles are client facing and therefore you would need to be able communicate effectively, be adaptable and think on your feet. The majority of people who work within this industry will be educated to a minimum of degree level. Within healthcare and pharmaceutical research, degrees in the life sciences, business, marketing, and psychology disciplines are seen as particularly relevant.
Typical Roles in A Pharma Market Research Agency
People can have a lot more or a lot less experience but still work in these roles, especially when they have come from other areas. Occasionally people will rise through market research very quickly. Also some people may choose to remain at one level over another.
Please note that the terms ‘experience’ and any reference to time lengths are in no way discriminatory – during application a person’s suitability is considered based on their individual expertise. In this instance, references to length of time spent in particular roles are used as guide to show a typical rate of progression.
Typical jobs in Pharma Market Research & Business Intelligence
Research Associate / Analyst (0 years experience)
Research Executive (0-2 years experience)
Senior Research Executive (2-4 years experience)
Research Manager (3-5 years experience)
Associate Director (5-8 years experience)
Director (7 years +)
About Fieldwork & Operations
Fieldwork agencies deal with the collection of data, and often work in conjunction with other research agencies. This can be quantitative involving paper, telephone or web questionnaires, or qualitative involving phone, web or face to face interviewing. A fieldwork agency will employ interviewers to carry out the research, and project managers will work closely with the clients to manage how the fieldwork agency handles the project. Sometimes pharmaceutical companies will just use a fieldwork agency, having done the design themselves and planning to do the analysis of data themselves.