Frustrations of a Pharmaceutical Market Researcher…
Not that long ago, I was updating a key research project here at Best Practices; and as usual, I was waiting on approval from our research manager. The approval delay made me agitated, but not nearly as much as when I received no uptake on the survey launch once it was approved. Agitation turned to frustration after the launch as I considered what I could do to publish the report in a timely manner – after a slow review and limited immediate interest in the topic.
However, after just completing work on another study, I look back on my frustration and realize that it must be nowhere near what my counterparts in the Pharmaceutical industry are likely to face.
Right from the design of a market research project to its execution, a host of functions (market research, legal, pharmacovigilance, ad prom, compliance, etc.) are involved in approving a single research project. The research design goes through iterations across all these departments to ensure it meets regulatory restrictions that are increasingly complex. Add to this mix, the uncertainties that managers face around newer regulations (e.g. double-blinding or single-blinding the study and its repercussions on honorarium as per the Sunshine Act), projects spanning different regions and countries, inter-departmental politics and you have the perfect recipe — much to research manager’s chagrin — for a delayed project.
Having said that, every cloud has a silver lining! During my years working on benchmarking projects, I have seen some companies step up and gain critical efficiencies in managing processes across various functions. Recently, I worked on a project that helps pharmaceutical companies hasten the market research approval process .
Here are some of the tenets that I came across that can save research managers from much of the frustration of getting a project underway:
- Create clear roles and responsibilities, with designated authority. Use team building to establish cross-functional trust and collaborative culture.
- Use automation for communication, tracking and rules-based decision making.
- Train Market Research, Compliance, Legal and PV to understand each group’s objectives, mandates & boundaries.
- Employ best practices, checklists and rules for high performance. Set exception & niche market rules to address, document and move forward. Employ multiple management processes and design approaches to simplify work flows.
- Standardize proposals, reviews and work procedures. Employ a multi-step process to validate FMV honoraria rates.
- Set time and service response requirements and close review periods after agreed upon milestones.
Our report summary of Enabling Marketing Insights and Superior Competitiveness Through Faster Market Research Approvals details many of these tenets as well as other key principles that best in class companies are using to gain faster approvals.