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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 14720

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: news

ImpactRx: Real-time market intelligence with SAS®
SAS Institute Inc. (Accessed) 2008 Dec 4

Full text:

Companies like ImpactRx gather intelligence on how doctors prescribe medications and how they discuss them with their patients – intelligence that is increasingly important in the fiercely competitive life sciences industry. With SAS, ImpactRx delves deep into the data that doctors provide so it can make sure its clients stay ahead of the competition.

In pharmaceuticals, as in other industries, warp-speed access to the latest data about the target audience is forever needed to ensure successful marketing. ImpactRx steps in to fill that need.

By opening a doctor’s-eye view of prescribing medications, ImpactRx helps drug manufacturers improve promotions and target discrepancies in how doctors prescribe their products. The most advanced intelligence vendor in this niche is ImpactRx, which uses SAS to maintain its edge with fast and accurate analytics and reporting.

The customer
Founded in 2000, New Jersey-based ImpactRx first looks at data on how, when, why and to whom doctors prescribe various prescription medications. Then the company links that data to the drug makers’ pharmaceutical sales activity, thus demonstrating the influence of promotions on prescription-writing patterns.

Most work that ImpactRx does with SAS occurs in the Department of Research and Development and Advanced Analytics, where David Stephens is Senior Director. Because analytics is central to operations, R&D’s role is crucial – as is its aptitude with statistical software. “Although every part of the company matters, I really think we hold ImpactRx together because we know how to rapidly transform information into insight using SAS,” says Stephens.

Straight from the source
To gather data from select doctors, ImpactRx equips the physicians with personal digital assistants (PDAs). The PDAs collect information and transmit it to ImpactRx for analysis. ImpactRx also uses SAS to monitor each doctor’s compliance with both PDA usage and data input so that ImpactRx knows the conclusions are valid. “We preserve patient privacy even as we examine what doctors prescribe, how patients respond to diagnoses and so on,” Stephens explains. “We also ask doctors about the effectiveness of the pharmaceutical sales reps, how those reps detail products, what they present and how knowledgeable they are. Then we take the data, package it, do high-level analytics and sell it to the pharmaceutical companies.”

For example: A large pharmaceutical company launching a new drug into a competitive therapeutic area needs to understand what factors most influence the highest prescribers of an existing competitor. That way, the company learns how to create more effective ways to get doctors to prescribe its new drug over the competition’s. They can do this using ImpactRx’s reports, which show in detail what most influences the highest prescribers and their script-writing behaviors. They also track competitors’ launches to gauge the success of their messaging and marketing strategy versus their own. They can then make rapid adjustments to improve their marketing and sales strategies.

Ultimately, the ImpactRx model makes for higher-quality information, which translates into better decisions about how to gain market share.

“With its speed and ease of use, SAS expedites the flow of that data, which is why ImpactRx chose it over competing vendors,” Stephens says. “The way SAS allows us to automate our activities and given the range of analytics we can perform with SAS, I’m not sure how we would operate without it.”

Competitive advantage
Because companies like ImpactRx represent an emerging industry of their own, the various players are jostling to prove their value to life sciences companies. “Using SAS”, says Stephens, “helps ImpactRx make sure that it stays ahead of the competition by providing drug companies with more accurate, ‘live’ intelligence they need to stay ahead of their competitors.”

While its competitors use online resources to gather information, ImpactRx employs direct access to physicians. “Our competition only takes information from doctors who are responding to Internet surveys based on memory,” Stephens says. “Because we provide them with PDAs, doctors report to us actual information regarding the impact different marketing and sales promotions have on them in real time.”

SAS helps ImpactRx monitor more than sales and prescriptions. ImpactRx can also investigate specific methods of promotion. That means that if a doctor switches a patient’s medicine, ImpactRx can advise its clients as to whether it was because of side effects, insurance coverage, new competition or cost. Life sciences companies rely on that kind of data to make quick adjustments to marketing strategies and halt the loss of sales.

“Many drug companies turn to ImpactRx before they ever even glance at our competition,” Stephens says.

“Our clients want the data right away; they don’t want to have to wait a month. If we weren’t using SAS, we might actually lose business because we couldn’t satisfy their needs.”


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