Patient benefit topic
Preferences and Regulations

A psychology perspective introduction to
patient preferences 

To demonstrate a benefit premium for a new drug or technology as required by government or payer regulations for reimbursement presents stark challenges for pharmaceutical companies.

Patient preferences have assumed an important hard fact importance with regulatory agencies. Thereby, preferences can directly decide about market access and availability of health services in a country overall.

In other words, health interventions not proving their positive patient benefits can be excluded from statutory health funding and the economical impact can be great for all the involved stakeholders.

For pharmaceutical companies arguing with patient preference studies (presenting the needs, expectations and priorities of patients) from early on and also for marketing increasingly becomes the way to go. Now, exclusively evidence based medical clinical studies need to translate into a proven, resulting patient benefits.

Prerequisites for conducting psychological preference studies


Patient preference studies are not the standard market research study. They are multi phase extended endeavors. One step builds on another; from the first, all steps impact the later and final benefit report results.

Although they follow mostly standardized format procedural steps, specifically crafting each single step is both complex and tricky.

The term strategic truly fits here to ensure reliable success. They present a much higher degree of research responsibility. The entire research is as well highly scrutinized for its validity e.g. by government entities.


Preference studies require an informed, yet empathic embracing of the very condition of patient-citizens. They delve into the ever-existing range of contradictions, conflicts and common logics.

Understanding patients in their illness related, world and life situation takes professional psychological knowhow. Patients don’t perceive all the whys and hows of their condition and therapy. An in-depth, extended morphological approach explains experiences, relevant illness life stories and their structural relevance. It takes this analytical approach to explains what happens to a therapy actually applied in real life.


Patient preference studies require academic expert advice or co-conducting with the companies for applicable procedural standards.
Needed is the combining of competences in different areas. These include:

  1. Assess the relevant patient illness ecosystem (incl. patients’ motivators, hopes, fears, habits and related needs).
  2. Developing an attribute level matrix and designing the experiment with the adequate statistical instruments.
  3. Utilizing pharmaceutical know-how, overall strategic analysis and advanced qualitative and quantitative competences.

Our cross-area team carefully prepares and lays out the possible research scenarios for our clients.

Public Perception services – Patient preference studies

Our expertise with both, the psychological and methodological requirements to assess reliable data reflecting the patients’ health related situation and create report standards meeting government and payer benchmarks allows us to support clients in a relevant and sophisticated way.


Patient benefit studies (GER: IQWiG based methods (Conjoint, AHP) plus multi-methods)


Strategy support: Benefit dossiers and relevancy stories


Functional structure and cohesion player


Expert and decision maker evaluations

The complexity of the research design on the one hand, the individuality of each project takes up a lot more attention and room than given here. Please get in touch or further information.

Links to two of our preference studies publications:

Umstellung von oralen auf injektable Antidiabetika bei fortschreitendem Typ-2-Diabetes: Welche Präferenzen haben die Patienten?

Insulintherapie bei Kindern und Jugendlichen mit Typ-1-Diabetes: Welche Präferenzen haben die Betroffenen?

Our full article on patient preferences discusses the issues from a perspective of Psychological Morphology. 

A more in-depth look

Please find the full article here

Our Team