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Data Mining and Analytics in Pharma: Making the Most of New Regulation

Pharma companies are now starting to regard data mining and analytics as a miracle pill for many troubles: from inaccurate sales forecasting to bad market positioning or territory planning.

pharma data mining

As most of the leaders in the industry agree, accessing this fountain of wisdom is one of their top concerns: 70% of the CEOs in pharma & life sciences say they see strategic value in data mining and analytics.

But do you think seven out of ten organizations actually attain that value? That’s right, most do not!

What do they lack?

Highly-integrated systems play a big part in leveraging data, but they are not enough. To get the right answers, you need to ask the right questions. In other words, you need know-how.

You also have to be connected to every relevant source of information to stay ahead of your competitors.

“Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.”

Peter Sondergaard, Gartner

Data from regulatory reports can become an important resource for market insights and competitive intelligence. And pharma leaders are just starting to take a shine to it.

Looking at the Bright Side of Regulation

Of course, this wasn’t always the case. The industry tended to look askance at additional regulation. An initiative like the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA) was initially seen as just another reporting burden.

In the past few years though, companies have purchased or developed solutions to make PPSA reporting and compliance easier. After overcoming the initial hurdle, pharma leaders are starting to see PPSA in another light: as a legitimate source of free data about the market and their competitors.

Here are the main benefits from PPSA data mining and analytics.

  • You gain valuable insight into your competitors’ marketing strategy. What is your focus vs. your competitors? What are they doing better? What do you need to change? There is a lot you can learn from your competitors’ achievements and failures.
  • You can track and sort marketing expenditures by territory, product, practitioner, etc.
  • You can use existing marketing ROI data to forecast sales, make strategic marketing decisions in the future, or plan spending for new products.

Hurdles in Leveraging PPSA Data Mining

No pain, no gain? Indeed. There are some obstacles to overcome and concerns to address in exploring PPSA data:

  • Integrating multiple data sets from different geographies, such as prescription statistics, marketing data, sales data, and so on.
  • Synchronizing the work of various stakeholders and departments in your organization, from Sales and Marketing to Research & Development or Compliance
  • Facing a certain amount of scrutiny over the use of prescriber-identifiable information for marketing purposes. The availability of this data has been so controversial that it was taken up by the US Supreme Court.

Complicated? Perhaps, but with the right mix of technology and expertise, you can make the most of this opportunity, with no side-effects.

What is your experience with data mining and analytics in pharma? I’d like to know your opinion or answer your questions.

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