In today’s increasingly competitive pharmaceutical market, its a must for marketing teams to find opportunity to maximize product potential.By understanding patient types, their characteristics and needs across different lines of therapies and treatment options will enable to identify the right target segment to effectively position drugs in desired markets. A relatively recent method called quantified patient pathways is being adapted to achieve this successfully. I have summarized the basic outline on how patient pathways can boost economic viability for pharma businesses

Patient pathways are generalised algorithms of how patients move from the time of onset of the disease till the time of completion of the treatment.

Patient flows are a representation of the patients across different lines of therapies and therapeutic options in the treatment flow.

Identify niche segments for competitive advantage

Quantifying patient pathways help to understand where the patients are today and what the potential segments are for a product. For example, a patient pathway for Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) supplies information on the number of patients on Intravitreal treatment (IVT), laser or vitrectomy. There are two types of treatments in IVT – anti-VEGF and steroids. Anti-VEGFs are preferred in phakic patients and steroids in pseudophakic patients. Thus, pseudophakic patients on anti-VEGF treatments are a potential target segment for steroids and vice versa.

Marketing strategies can be tweaked to target the identified potential and increase market share upon pinpointing the niche opportunities.

Understanding patient pathways to identify opportunities in a specific disease area

  • Identify patient pockets where the company enjoys a competitive advantage: Patient pathways help to identify untapped and under-tapped market potential. Naïve patients who are pseudophakic are a potential untapped segment for steroids in the DME segment. Marketing strategies are thus designed to increase market share by tapping this hidden potential of unattended patients
  • Understanding physician preferences: Patient pathways help to understand physician preferences pertaining to the therapy used for treatment, which then enable companies to position their drugs accordingly. If anti-VEGF is the preferred treatment option in the DME market, a steroid-selling company can design strategies to change the physician perceptions towards steroids
  • Standardise the way of looking at the patient numbers and potential across geographies: Patient pathways inculcate a common thought process across teams and help in leveraging synergies across markets

Quantify opportunity and risk through patient pathways

Patient pathways are an ideal way to identify new opportunities. They are excellent business tools applicable for both in-market products and to launch products. Patient pathways bring multiple functions together to align thought processes and ensure consistency of business plans.


Senior Business Analyst


Discover the unattended patient segments and access untapped markets by visualizing patient movements. Understand treatment perceptions and physician preferences via the phamax patient journey models.


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