The 'heavyweights'


I plan to share with you some innovative market research completed to help us estimate the dollar potential for a prescription "weight loss" product in Europe using only medical promotional efforts. Our hypothesis was that even though we did not anticipate the product to be reimbursed, patients would be willing to pay a "considerable sum" for the product. Our European and corporate management in general did not agree with this hypothesis or assumption. The concern about overweight one could argue has become almost more of a social issue than a medical concern. People are spending significant amounts of money on exercise programs and diet plans without receiving reimbursement in both Europe and the U.S. A pill represents a convenient way to lose weight when combined with other changes in behavior. The market research effort combined secondary and primary research with both physician and patients to determine market potential in the U.K., Spain, Italy and Germany. What also is interesting about this project is the relationship we had with our market research agency, Adelphi International Research; and how the results "influenced" our European and corporate senior management. For confidentiality purposes, we will not share the actual results of the study; but will discuss what I would call the creative "out of the box" market research thinking that was done. Some pharmaceutical forecasters are saying by the year 2000 that many therapeutic classes, other than those that are "lifesaving" will no longer be reimbursed in Europe.

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