Boehringer Ingelheim - Qualitative primary market research: Determining the potential for an oral antidiabetic medicine in the market of elderly homes

With research as their most important drive for growth, Boehringer Ingelheim’s laboratories develop ground-breaking medicines to be used in various domains such as pulmonology, cardiology, rheumatology, neurology, virology, and oncology.

Furthermore, Boehringer Ingelheim develops products for self-medication and phyto-pharmaceuticals, and a series of veterinary products.

Project description

The objective of this market research was to support Boehringer Ingelheim to determine if the market of elderly homes is an interesting one for an oral antidiabetic medicine, and who the most important stakeholders are in this market.

The market research had to provide an answer to the following questions:

  • Who are the top 7 biggest organisations (groups) of elderly homes in Belgium?
  • Do these groups have a general policy for managing diabetes?
  • Is this policy being executed effectively within the individual elderly homes of those groups?
  • How big is the influence of the groups on the individual elderly homes?
  • Which treatments do these elderly homes give to diabetics?
  • What is the operational role of a ‘medicines formularium’ in an elderly home?
  • Who decides upon the treatment of diabetes in an elderly home?
  • What is the role of a general practitioner, a coordinating and advisory physician, specialist and nurse in an elderly home?
  • How are medicines bought and distributed in an elderly home?
  • What are the current and future trends in an elderly home?


 The first phase consisted of determining together with the client which strategic questions needed to be answered with the market research.

This market research had 2 different approaches:

1. Top-down market research: research with the 7 biggest elderly home groups

Collecting information via interviews with the 7 biggest elderly home groups in Belgium. We put together a semi-structured questionnaire, approved by the client and tested through pilot interviews. Semi-structured questionnaires allow you to collect crucial information but leave room for the interviewer to go more in depth concerning other information that might be of use for answering the strategic questions.

2. Bottom-up market research: research at 41 elderly homes

Collecting information via interviews with the head nurses of 41 elderly homes in Belgium. The selection of the elderly homes was done as follows: the 4 biggest elderly homes of the 7 biggest elderly home groups in Belgium (n = 28) and the biggest elderly homes of the next 12 elderly home groups (n = 12). A semi-structured questionnaire was put together for this bottom-up research as well, approved by the client and tested through pilot interviews.

hict then processed all collected information in a structured manner and presented this to the client.


The gathered information was presented to the client in a structured way, including the interpretation of these results and possible future initiatives. The results of the market research were delivered by hict during an interactive workshop, and gave an answer to the pre-defined strategic questions and therefore contributed to determining Boehringer Ingelheim’s new strategy for the market of elderly homes.


Your contact person

Ann Tanghe
Senior Manager
Ann Tanghe
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