Facets of socio-economic research and the desirable involvement of market research

Date of publication: June 15, 1991

Author: Karin Buechner


Socio-economic research is a comparably young discipline in the pharmaceutical world. While target groups, aims and the basic method (converting medical properties of a health care measure product into economic consequences) do not differ very much, the types of instruments applied and study designs do all the more. There is practically no standard in socio-economic research so far; we still find it in the trial - and - error phase of development. But this will charge in future years since there are more parties in the health care business than just the pharmaceutical industry which are interested in developing this field, if not far their own purposes, then as a contribution towards general transparency. In attempting to identify the ideal person or department within a company to take responsibility for socio-economic research - given the underlying theoretical and practical prerequisites for such research - we are led to the following conclusions: - The number of companies which have already carried out socio-economic research is still far outweighed by the number which have not. - The departmental allocation of socio-economic research varies very much and depends on the person who first began to collect know-how in this field. - There are no reasons why market research should not be involved. On the contrary, some aspects seem to support the idea, e. g. continuity of methodologies, contribution volume to socio-economic studies. - Since a lack of know-how and experience is very often the reason for not starting or for postponing socio-economic research, the advice to anybody who wants to tackle it must be: just do it! The extent to which the involvement of market research is desirable has to be decided individually by each company. This depends on the value attributed to socio-economic research, on resources in terms of personnel and budgets, on product policy and other overriding factors.

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