Understanding The Prescribing Decision

Modeling the Role of Patient Factors

David A. Luery
Senior Vice President and Associate Director, Taylor Nelson Sofres Healthcare, United States.


A primary focus of pharmaceutical market researchers is modeling the prescribing decision. After all, if we understand what factors physicians weigh in making their choices of one drug over another, we will know the factors that either drive or retard the usage of our product. Better understanding the prescribing decision will help us build forecasting models, design communication strategies, and position/reposition our product. Traditionally, in trying to understand the determinants of the prescribing decision, pharmaceutical market researchers have focused most of their attention on product attributes as the drivers of the product choice. But we know that physicians treat different patients differently. By understanding the role that patient factors play in the prescribing decision, pharmaceutical marketers will be better able to understand the behavior of their customers and in turn be better able to market their products to their customers' needs. In this paper we discuss several approaches – based on existing methodologies – that can help the pharmaceutical market researcher develop a better understanding of the role of patient factors (characteristics) in determining drug choice by physicians.