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Conducting countless custom analytics projects to answer business questions for pharmaceutical companies worldwide reveals a universal truth: Every research method has limitations, and only when used in combination can pharma teams get a holistic picture of their market. Additionally, what happens in a clinical trial may not follow the same patterns in a real-world setting.

While epidemiology is the gold standard for sizing patient populations, shifts and trends are likely happening right now that impact market sizing data and epidemiology studies.

By combining real-world evidence with epidemiology studies for market sizing in pharma, research teams can increase the speed and timeliness of their insights, understand the broader disease population, and generate more current and balanced trending and forecasting.


“The combination and use of different types of data is more important, but also more complex, than we might ever have initially thought.”
“Each asset is strong, but each has weaknesses that we need to accept. We need to marry them together.”
-Wouter van der Pluijm
Director, Data & Analytics, DRG

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What’s Driving the Need for Integrated Market Sizing in Pharma?

There are a few trends that are increasing the need for teams to balance epidemiology data with real-world evidence in pharma market sizing, which include:

  • Specialty medications and the importance of subgroups. Patients identify in smaller populations, and nearly every drug in development has some biomarker indication. Physicians look at therapy options through a patient safety lens. Epidemiology data will inform where to look and how many variations need to be considered.
  • Focus on rare and niche diseases. Investment in orphan drug development continues to increase. However, market sizing can be challenging scarce due to the lack of observational studies and small sample sizes. Both epidemiology and real-world data, in addition to advanced methodologies and extrapolations, will be needed more than ever to accurately size these niche, unique patient groups.
  • Patient portals and the speed of change. Physicians can communicate directly with patients, report more frequently, and make real-time adjustments to treatments. The stakes are high to detect shifts early, understand what’s happening, and intervene appropriately. Real-world data reveals what’s happening, now.


Capturing the Best of Both Worlds in Market Sizing

and EHR

Physician coding
practices will reveal total
populations, treatment
patterns, and other
patient profile elements.


Claims data is updated
daily, enabling
deep-dive epidemiology
to incorporate real-time

Marrying the
Market Sizing
Data Sets
Integrated Analysis
and Commercial

Epidemiology studies
reveal disease specificity,
severity, and schemas.


Epidemiology studies
give the rich dimensions
of a disease area and
influential factors.

Integrated Market Sizing
that Drives Business Decisions

Perfect Blend: Examples of When Integrated Market Sizing Matters

  • Multiple sclerosis and sizing subgroups. While primary research in combination with disease coding from claims data will convey the total Multiple Sclerosis patient population, epidemiology data will round out the market picture to reveal nuances like secondary progressive patient populations and percentage breakdowns.
  • Chronic liver disease and sizing a total population. Because physicians code for the causal disease – such as Hepatitis C or Cirrhosis – real-world data will size seven disease of interest and eliminate duplicates, while epidemiology studies will determine how many patients pursue treatment.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and understanding addressable populations. Real-world data will reflect the total Rheumatoid Arthritis population with a single diagnosis code, and the addition of epidemiology provides an understanding of treatment guidelines according to physicians’ lens of three classifications.
“Teams need to understand
faster, with a higher
degree of granularity, and
with higher confidence.”
Julie Moloney
Client Engagement Lead, DRG

Want to read more?

Download the full Analytics Viewpoint to learn how one company used epidemiology and real-world data together to strengthen their market sizing and forecasting.