Market Research involves gathering, recording and analysing information about customers, competitors and markets in a systematic way. Results from this research, surveys or focus groups is then used to make product decisions based on real feedback.
The main objectives of a Pharma Market Research role are:
Products within Pharma Market Research are generally drugs 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’ - such as certain painkillers and cough medicines; or Consumer, where products have a broader appeal and can be purchased from supermarkets etc. These would include pain relief, cough and cold medicines.
A career within Pharma/healthcare Market Research would ideally suit someone with an inquisitive and analytical mind. You’ll need attention to detail and the ability to interpret and explain data/information.
Most Market Research roles are client facing and therefore you’ll need to be able to communicate effectively, be adaptable and think on your feet.
It’s not uncommon for people to rise through the Market Research sector very quickly, while others prefer to remain at one level over another. You can have a lot more or a lot less experience than your colleagues and still work the same roles as them, especially if you have come from other areas. 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 a guide to show a typical rate of progression.
Discover more about how to progress your pharmaceutical Market Research career here.
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.
Most companies will require a Bachelor Degree with a strong understanding or experience within the pharmaceutical industry. Jobs in Pharma market research will require not only a social science portion (understanding consumers) but also a statistical and analytical mind. For more analytically focused research jobs, maths based degrees are also well received.
The majority of people who work within Pharma Market Research will have a degree in a relevant subject such as:
Masters and PhD qualifications in similar subjects are highly regarded due to their nature, showing a further understanding of therapy areas and terminology. Another advantageous qualification for this sector is an MRS certificate.
Any internship experience, either in market research or something similar, would also be highly beneficial.