how to obtain CI when conducting a medical interview


Health professionals, such as physicians and nurses, can be excellent resources for gathering competitive intelligence.

The reason is simple. They are also your competitor’s customers, which mean they can share their experiences and knowledge about a competitor with you.

In fact, in ¼ of the Pharma CI studies I work on, insights from physicians and nurses are more detailed and precise than those of the client’s competitor!

obtaining competitive intelligence medical interview, market alert ltd,

With this in mind, let’s look at 2 examples of using medical interviews to obtain helpful competitor research.

Example #1 – Facing a New Competitor Entry

You are the Canadian Diabetes Marketing Manager for “Fiasp”. You are faced with a new competitor “Messima” that was launched 6 months ago in the US. Launch in Canada could be anytime within the next 12 months.

CI Questions to Ask Canadian Endocrinologists

  • Where did you first hear about Messima?
  • Are you aware if Messima has been submitted to Health Canada for approval?
  • If so, when did the manufacturer submit their notice of compliance
  • Do you know whether Messima is facing any delays (e.g. safety concerns, legal challenges) in getting approved?
  • If so, what have you heard?
  • Have you been contacted by the company manufacturing Messima?
  • If so, what was the communication about?
  • Who contacted you (e.g., marketing, sales, medical liaison)?
  • What literature did they give you?
  • Once approved, what drug(s) do you think Messima will replace for the management of diabetes?
  • Why?
  • What else can you share with me about Messima?

Example #2 – Launching a New Product

You are the Senior Oncology Product Manager at “Takeda” and planning to launch, “Fortesumib,” a new Multiple Myelomas (MM) drug that offers greater efficacy and fewer side effects than current drugs on the market.

CI Questions to Ask Oncology Nurses

  • Have you been visited by a specialty or MSL rep, from a multiple myeloma manufacturer in the past 3 months?
  • If so what is the name of the company, title of rep and product?
  • What was the focus (e.g., education on product features, information on clinical trials) of their discussion?
  • How often have they been in contact with you (e.g., monthly, every 3 months, etc.)?
  • Do they discuss their MM product with other products?
  • If so, with what other products do they discuss?
  • In what order (e.g., 1st, 2nd, 3rd) are these products discussed?
  • What impresses you the most in how they interact with you?
  • What is the one thing that is missing?
  • Besides specialty reps and MSL reps, who else from the manufacturer (e.g. Marketing, CHE) has contacted you?
  • What did the communication focus on?
  • Are you aware of any upcoming conferences, education meetings or other forums in which oncology manufacturers will be involved? If so what have you heard?
  • What are examples of patient support programs that MM product manufacturers support?
  • What advice do you have for a new player in the MM market to encourage oncologists to support their product?

Final Word

  •  Follow similar procedures (i.e. use a recruiter, pay an honorarium, develop a screening guide, etc.) that you do for conducting medical interviews.
  • You’ll need to run your survey pass Legal for approval, so expect that some questions will be revised and others deleted.
  • Make sure you mention in your introduction that you may need to call them back to answer a few more questions and get them to agree to this.

Thank you for reading this blog. Please contact us if you have any questions.


David Lithwick