The New Market Segmentation – Increasing Treatment Duration Through Market Interventions

We’ve all heard the business adage that acquiring a new customer costs 6 – 7 times as much as retaining an existing one. But how often is that wisdom applied for pharmaceutical products? As an industry, we are often too focused on driving new patient prescriptions and forget to focus on the patients already taking our product. Average treatment duration is one of the most important metrics in evaluating sales of a pharmaceutical product and small improvements translate directly to a product’s bottom-line.

However, treatment duration is a complex issue. Factors affecting this decision rest jointly with the patient and their healthcare provider and includes the varied complexities of patient non-adherence. Additionally, duration can be widely varied, with some switching or abandoning treatment after just a few weeks, while others continue a medication for many years. Despite the complexities of treatment duration, research shows non-adherence can be impacted with proper intervention1.

At KJT Group, we’ve been looking at ways to effectively improve treatment duration using the tools available through market research. Market segmentation is a well-known and common tool among marketing professionals and involves dividing potential customers into groups based on differing characteristics. By looking at the differences between patients with shorter treatment duration versus those with longer duration, we can identify the key drivers in patients continuing a medication when others drop off. Going a step further, we can then segment current patients into groups based on their likelihood to stop taking a medication and the drivers of that decision.

This approach has led to unique and vibrant patient segments with clear prioritization. Furthermore, strategies for addressing each segment are straightforward and directly drive treatment duration. As you finalize your strategic plan for 2019, consider if retaining your current patients might be as valuable as attracting new ones.

1. Viswanathan M, Golin CE, Jones CD, Ashok M, Blalock SJ, Wines RC, et al. Interventions to Improve Adherence to Self-administered Medications for Chronic Diseases in the United States: A Systematic Review. Ann Intern Med. 2012;157:785–795. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-157-11-201212040-00538