Acuity, Louis Harris Launch Online Pharmaceutical Survey

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Acuity HealthGroup, the healthcare consulting division of direct marketing agency Rapp Collins Worldwide, New York, is working with survey research firm Louis Harris & Associates to generate Internet-based consumer surveys that can be used to help pharmaceutical companies better focus their prescription-compliance campaigns.

The Patient PharmAssessment surveys will be conducted through Harris Poll Online, which uses the Harris Poll Interactive Panel of more than 3.5 million respondents. The initial studies will focus on proton pump inhibitors, migraine therapies and non-sedating antihistamines. Subsequent surveys are planned for cholesterol reducers, antidepressants, oral diabetes therapies and immunosuppressants.

Rob Dhoble, president of Acuity, said the surveys could be of interest both to pharmaceutical manufacturers that are seeking to design compliance programs and to managed care and insurance companies that are seeking to achieve positive outcomes at the lowest possible cost.

"I think this provides for both groups a bridge into a real slice of what's going on," he said. "By understanding more about demographics and experiences, the feeling generally is - and we've gotten a lot of positive response so far - that this will quickly replace the old plan of doing five or six focus groups to get a feel for the patients, and then going off and developing a program."

PharmAssessment will be conducted twice a year in each product category to monitor changes in responses over time. Participants will be polled about such matters as frequency of physician visits, education level, disease severity, Internet use and participation in compliance programs. The information gathered can be used to identify reasons for non-compliance, identify differences between patients receiving competitive prescription brands and measure patient response to prescription co-payment levels, among other things.

"The pharmaceutical industry is now more concerned than ever about who they are targeting, how they can measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and how successful their competitors actually are at the patient level," Dhoble said.

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