Getting Inside Physicians' Heads - Merck Case Study



  • Our client was the #2 brand in $6 billion pharma category.
  • Previous research failed to identify reasons for limited support among low prescribers.
  • Low prescribers felt the top two drugs were interchangeable and were not even aware of their own low prescribing of our client’s brand.

What We Did:

  • Used our Context Storytelling research technique to reconstruct the memory context of the prescribing decision (Context Storytelling is adapted from the Cognitive Interview, a methodology used to improve the completeness and accuracy of eyewitness memory recall).
  • Determined that superiority efficacy claims made years ago by the market leader continued to drive habituated prescribing behavior with severe patients, without the doctor’s awareness.
  • Also found that “side indications” (secondary uses of the medication) influenced prescribing behavior, despite doctor insistence that they did not.


  • Client launched a campaign to strengthen efficacy perceptions and market side indications.
  • Gained half share point ($30 million topline growth) in six months, leading to highest share in brand history.  About a 35,000% ROI on the research!
Case StudyScott Seidewitz