Much of the research on pharmaceuticals is done during the testing phase, before medications make it to the market. In some cases, pharmaceutical companies can learn additional information based on doctors and patients experiences with currently prescribed medications. This can lead to changes in current prescribing and the development of improved treatments.
Study Patient Satisfaction
It is not enough to determine if a medication is effective enough to make it on the market, you should continuously evaluate medications used to treat different conditions to see if they maintain the same benefits. For example, some medications frequently used to treat inflammatory arthritis are notorious for inadequate patient response, depending on the threshold for improvement. Many people with inflammatory arthritis change medications frequently or are using a combination of two or more medications in an attempt to control symptoms without sufficient relief. You may want patients who take certain medications to participate in surveys to explain their experiences and what they feel like current medications are lacking. Similarly, doctors can provide useful information about what they hear from patients as the reason they might discontinue treatment or why they change treatment approaches.
Look For Treatment Barriers
Treatment barriers can take many forms, such as those who are uninsured that may not have access to potentially more effective medications or issues with securing prescribed medications at the pharmacy. These treatment barriers can make you reconsider the way you promote specific medications to insurance companies, doctors, and pharmacists. One such treatment barrier may exist due to insurance companies not approving certain medications until a patient has tried various other medications and they have not been effective. This can alter the way a doctor prescribes certain medications. Even if they have significant experience with a medication they believe will be more effective, they are forced to prescribe alternative treatments they know do not work as well.
Additionally, you might find changing the way a specific drug is dispensed could reduce barriers. One example might be medications that are available in both oral and injectable forms. In some cases, the injectable form might be preferred by the patient or doctor since it bypasses the digestive system and can reduce side effects. Syringes, whether they are for intramuscular or subcutaneous injections, can be difficult to obtain from the local pharmacy due to some pharmacists being overly-vigilant about syringes being used for misuse of medications or injectable street drugs. To make the patient's life easier, you might consider packaging syringes with vials of medication, even if the cost is slightly higher.
Make Significant Changes
Generally, the next wave of research into medications for a specific illness should offer a significant benefit over what is already on the market to encourage patients and doctors to prefer the new option. A major problem, even with market research, is new medications may have subtle changes, but provide no real benefit over existing, often less expensive options. It is increasingly popular for medications, such as those for mental health or chronic disease management, to boast "hybrid" medications that combine two common treatments that are often prescribed separately.
Although the advantage might be taking a single pill, the hybrid medication is often significantly higher in price, especially if both individual medications are currently available as a generic. Often this is a waste of resources for both the production and marketing of the new medication. It is better to invest money in formulating medications that reduce the hindrances frequently reported by doctors and patients, such as the need for routine blood monitoring, medications only available by infusion or injection, or medication with frequent side effects.
Market research into currently prescribed medications offers an invaluable tool for improving current treatments and developing new ones. Even the information gained through regular surveys of current patients is an inexpensive way to make improvements. For more information, reach out to companies like Clarity Pharma Research.