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HEOR in Pharma: What It Is & Why Conduct It in 2024 

health economics and outcomes research definition

Evaluation of drug efficiency is a complex process that requires Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR) experts to measure multiple indicators to understand the actual market value of the product. Without such an assessment, it would be too risky to launch new products into development or even enter a new market. So what do HEOR experts do for the pharmaceutical companies and what HEOR-collected data is used for? 

In this article, you can find out about HEOR meaning, how it contributes to pharmaceutical research, its potential in enhancing patient treatment, what exactly these researchers do, and the future of health economics and outcomes research. 

What Does HEOR Stand for and How Does It Contribute to Research?

Health Economics and Outcomes Research – is a common term used for experts who collect patient and medical data that proves the real value of the product, how it can influence the quality of life of the patient, and its capacity to compete against similar products present on the market. 

As we mentioned, health economics and outcomes research (HEOR) experts cooperate with different departments and teams assisting in the evaluation of the products. But what is health economics and outcomes research in the real world? There is a number of specific tasks that HEORs fulfill or contribute to that help to increase the quality of the products and, hence, the quality of treatment. 

Defining drugs dosage

Even when all stages of the clinical trial are over, there are still many things pharmacists and doctors may learn after patients get access to the new treatment. HEOR serves as a link between patients, physicians, and pharmacists, collecting all relevant data to come up with the most well-balanced evaluation of dosage. 

HEOR analysis of patients

The social value of the drug in increasing the quality of life is also an important issue. One of HEOR’s tasks is to determine which patient groups may benefit from the new product or a new healthcare project. In case it is proven that the new product provides effective treatment and can be made available for a vast population, it will contribute greatly to the value of a new product. 

Creating health outcomes guide

The entirety of the field data collected by HEORs as well as analytical reports may provide valuable data for the Health Outcomes Guide. HEOR collects all reports about health outcomes from patients and physicians and later provides detailed analytics to healthcare providers, clinical outcomes research institutions or pharmaceutical companies. 


Pricing should be approved before clinical research of a new drug can be launched. Especially, when we are talking about most over-the-counter drugs that have more popular alternatives. HEOR’s main focus here is to define the most adequate cost for healthcare payers. 

Reimbursement terms outlining

Pharmaceutical companies always need to have a plan “B” in case something may go wrong at any stage of development. The unforeseen effects of treatments among some populations of patients can also be an important concern for pharmaceutical companies since even three-phase testing can not give a guarantee that the positive health effects of the treatment will meet the initial expectations. 

Marketing and product positioning

HEORs have a clear vision of the groups that should be targeted by the marketers. The data collected about the target group can tell marketers a lot about the patient’s expectations, and the desirable effect of treatment. 

heor data

What Does Health Economics and Outcomes Research Do?

HEOR department plays an important role in healthcare organizations since the data collected by them provides the industry players with insights and trial data for decision-making and strategic planning.

In itself, HEOR is a suite of disciplines within health economics related to marketing, public health, and social studies. Here are the major fields that HEOR professionals are specializing in:

  • Market access

  • Pricing

  • Reimbursement

  • HEOR consulting

  • Contracting & account management

  • Policy & advocacy

  • Epidemiology

  • RWD/RWE analytics (Real World Data/Evidence)

  • PRO (Patient-reported outcomes)

HEOR experts play an important role in strategic decision-making in pharmaceutical companies. For instance, HEOR-provided value and HEOR data provide evidence that allows determining strategic trends for the company – whether to develop a new product, improve and remarket the existing one, or invest in social affairs and population education. 

The list of HEOR competencies includes, but is not limited to, clinical trial design, epidemiology, HEOR modeling, statistics, data mining, collecting and processing statistics and documenting real-world evidence. Also, the HEOR has to be competent in healthcare policies and financial analysis.

How Pharmaceutical HEOR Experts Impact Drugs Engineering

The development of a new product is an immensely costly and time-consuming process – frequently it takes about 10 to 15 years to finish all clinical trials and apply for a license. Since the stakes are so high, healthcare providers need to be sure that the investment made will bring profits. 

So, at the end of the day, the HEOR’s major task is to make sure that the patients who get access to the new treatment will get the best health outcomes at the most affordable price. Naturally, HEOR experts take part in the pre-dev stages and assess the process at all following stages. 

HEOR impact on drug pricing and marketing

HEOR professional is not strictly oriented on the cost-effectiveness of the new product or a new program, but rather tries to analyze its impact and offer additional insights. Such insights may consider the efficiency, safety, quality, or dosage of the drug. Of course, all those new drug properties are initially evaluated during the clinical trials, however, HEOR professionals may strongly contribute to the understanding of the population’s needs and expectations, and reveal real-life insights on patient access. 

So, the HEOR expert helps to “humanize” the development part, introducing humanitarian value together with the key economic benefits of the future project. 

Which Healthcare Providers May Use HEOR Strategy Services?

Recently, the demand for HEORs as well as the number of industry sectors that require such professionals has increased dramatically. 

Here are some of the sectors that currently require outcomes research HEOR experts:

  • Pharmaceutical manufacturers – companies that produce drugs, healthcare products, and medical equipment may use HEOR pharma expert’s services.

  • Pharmaceutical distributors – companies that sell drugs and medical equipment may use HEOR-provided data to evaluate the expectations and offer HEOR data-based costs for products.

  • Healthcare institutions – public or private hospitals, healthcare providers, and medical centers.

  • Health insurance institutions – organizations that provide drugs for healthcare payers.

  • Government agencies – as the healthcare system advances, more governmental institutions adopt modern standards for quality assessment and treatment research such as HEORs.

HEOR professionals help decision-makers at companies, governmental or any healthcare institutions to make informed, real-world data-based choices about the launch of new products, adoption of drugs for clinical development, analyzing cost-effectiveness or defining the market cost. With vast knowledge in economic science and recent clinical studies and all instruments for conducting own research of product-related benefits and risks, HEORs improve quality of life and have a high impact on the pharmaceutical industry today. 

Types of HEOR Studies

What types of HEOR studies are there? HEOR includes these types of research studies: 

  • Cost-effectiveness analysis 
  • Cost burden 
  • Economic models 
  • Evidence generation planning 
  • Clinical/claims database analyses 
  • Retrospective chart reviews 
  • Patient-centered outcomes research 
  • Systematic literature review 

What Is the Future of HEOR?

The future of HEOR in healthcare is bright, driven by the explosion of health data from sources like wearables and electronic health records. HEOR’s strength lies in turning this data into useful insights that shape healthcare decisions. It focuses on real-world evidence to understand how treatments work in everyday life, not just in clinical trials. Importantly, HEOR is making sure patient voices are heard, using tools that measure what patients truly value. 

In the pharmaceutical industry, HEOR is a key player in innovation. As companies move towards personalized medicine, HEOR helps assess whether these tailored treatments are cost-effective. It’s also changing how new drugs are developed. Pharma companies now use HEOR insights early on to design better clinical trials that show a drug’s value, not just its effects. 

Big data and AI are transforming drug discovery, and HEOR is central to this change. HEOR experts use AI to analyze vast amounts of data, helping pharma companies quickly understand a new drug’s potential impact. This data-driven approach speeds up development and makes better decisions about which drugs to pursue. 

As healthcare focuses more on value, not just cost, pharma innovation follows suit. HEOR helps companies show that their new products, whether drugs or digital health apps, offer better outcomes at a fair price. This is crucial as the industry expands into areas like telemedicine and AI diagnostics. 

Final Thoughts

In summary, HEOR’s future is tied to making sense of the data boom in healthcare. In pharma, it’s not just adapting to innovations like personalized medicine and AI — it’s actively guiding them. HEOR ensures that industry breakthroughs are not only scientifically impressive but also economically smart and truly helpful to patients. 

If you are looking for a professional channel for all pharmaceutical and life science-related topics, get in touch with the experts at Viseven by filling in the contact form below. 

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