2023/01/27 update

What is the value of including dyads in pharmaceutical market research?

Dyadic interviews, in which two participants are interviewed together, are becoming more popular in qualitative research, but are much less discussed in the methodological literature than individual and focus groups. For a couple of years, however, e-Projection have used dyadic interviews as a research method and learned the strengths and the potential pitfalls associated with the dyadic format.


Within the context of our research which aims to gain insights regarding a new pharmaceutical product,  a dyad consists of a key opinion leader in the therapeutic field and a payer. Interviews with dyads have the potential to generate a more in-depth and richer understanding of views, experiences and perspectives than a single perspective. It facilitates the exploration of complex perspectives from which we assess how the value of the new drug candidate can be improved. In other words, analyzing the outcomes from interaction between a KOL and a payer could be effective to develop a message which communicates both clinical and social benefit of the product. We can address such questions as what data should be submitted to the authorities who decide the level of reimbursement or the price for each medical service, and what should be described on the description of the label. That is to say, the dyadic format can give participants a chance to create true value messages of the product. 

“Who are the so-called payers in Japan?”, the answer could be that combination of the Government and the insurers/reimbursement institutions should be collectively called payers


Although the method proves very successful in eliciting rich data in value assessment study, there were inevitably also challenges associated with this complexity. These were evident in cross-cultural research. Namely, language barrier. One problem that could be experienced with dyadic interviews is when “small changes can make a big difference” in language. In the interview, for example, the moderator has to carefully watch the misunderstanding between what “moderate” means for the KOL and for the payer. Since clear and solid explanation for each keyword in an interview facilitates the interaction without misunderstanding, just a simultaneous translation cannot easily overcome the pitfall. In addition to that, language and cultural barriers can be addressed in the phase of questionnaire development. Questionnaires for dyad interviews could be strategically built in order for the interaction to be less misleading and more productive. 


The dyadic format can give participants a chance to challenge superficial or socially desirable opinions that the researcher might miss or might not feel comfortable to question for fear of damaging the relationship with the interviewee. This is extremely effective to seek the true value of the drug candidate. If you are interested in professional technique in this research method, talk with e-Projection, having a wealth of experience of dyadic interviews.  

What differentiates e-Projection’s interview research from others 

  • Participant recruiting strategy
  • Constructive approach to design the discussion
  • Experienced moderators with industrial backgrounds
  • Generating insightful conclusion