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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 long-term epidemiology studies don’t address. In combination with real-world evidence, research teams that utilize epidemiology studies can increase the speed and timeliness of their insights, understand the broader disease population, and generate more current and balanced trending and forecasting.


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What’s Driving the Need for Integrated Market Sizing?

There are a few trends in particular are increasing the need for teams to balance epidemiology data with real-world evidence:

  • 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 are able to 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


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 diseases of interest and eliminate duplicates, while epidemiology studies will determine how many patients actually 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.

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.