IMS Health, Inc. History
Fairfield, Connecticut 06430
Telephone: (203) 319-4700
Fax: (203) 319-4701
Sales: $1.4 billion (2002)
Stock Exchanges: New York
Ticker Symbol: RX
NAIC: 541613 Marketing Consulting Services; 541910 Marketing Research and Public Opinion Polling
Our Vision: To enable our clients to help people throughout the world live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Our Mission: To be integral to our clients' success by delivering critical business intelligence, decision support, and services that enable them to optimize their performance and advance the quality of healthcare. Our Values: Commitment to create continuous value for the benefit of our clients. Excellence that breeds innovation and leadership within every facet of the business. Integrity and respect for individual performance and collective success.
- Intercontinental Marketing Services (IMS) completes its first pharmaceutical audit.
- The company enters the U.S. market through acquisition.
- IMS becomes a publicly owned company.
- Medical Communications and Life Sciences divisions are formed.
- The Multinational Integrated Data Analysis (MIDAS) system is introduced.
- Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) acquires IMS.
- Growth of healthcare industry-related businesses leads D&B to spin off IMS Health as a subsidiary of Cognizant Corporation.
- IMS Health becomes an independent company.
- IMS Health launches several new Internet-based products, including i-squared Internet portal.
- The acquisition of Cambridge Pharma Consultancy fortifies consulting operations.
- Marketing Effectiveness Suite is launched, providing sales information daily.
IMS Health, Inc. is the leading provider of global market information to the pharmaceuticals and healthcare industries. Compiling information into more than 10,000 reports, available on a regularly updated basis, IMS Health provides a wide variety of market knowledge to support strategic decision-making in all aspects of pharmaceutical company operations. The company uses the latest information technology to provide real-time information and rapid results; data resources are available through the company's i-squared Internet portal or an online store at open.imshealth.com. The company operates in more than 100 countries around the world, collecting information from more than 29,000 data sources, including drug manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, pharmacies, hospitals, managed care providers, and long-term care facilities. Customers include the major pharmaceutical companies, as well as government and regulatory agencies, financial analysts, researchers, and educators.
Founding in 1954 Prompted by Need for Drug Market Information
IMS Health originated in 1954 as Intercontinental Marketing Services (IMS), the overseas extension of Frolich Intercon International, a major New York-based advertising agency established by L.W. Frolich in 1941. In conducting campaigns for pharmaceutical companies Frolich was dissatisfied with the limited market data about the new "wonder drugs." By forming IMS, Frolich and David Dubow created the first market research syndicate for the pharmaceutical industry, providing information at a level of depth and objectivity not available at the time.
With Dubow as president, IMS began its pharmaceutical research in Europe. The company's first syndicated study, published in 1957, included a sales audit of the West German pharmaceutical market. The drug audit involved tracking sales invoices and monitoring inventory at select drugstores, at chain and discount stores, as well as at drug wholesalers and physicians' offices. IMS paid participants for the opportunity of accessing this information. The study compared the market share of different drugs and brands, organizing data according to therapeutic class, package size, and form of dosage. This information enabled drug company executives to analyze product sales and make strategic marketing decisions based on this knowledge. As the syndicate developed, IMS initiated monthly and quarterly reports and translated financial data into the currency of the customer's home country.
From its London-based office IMS conducted research for pharmaceutical markets in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, and Japan. By 1969 company revenues reached $5 million and IMS was the leader in pharmaceutical market research in Europe and Asia. IMS began operations in North America through the acquisition of Davee, Koehnlein and Keating, a Chicago-based syndicate that conducted sales audits for markets in the United States and Canada. IMS entered Latin American markets through acquisition as well.
Following an initial public offering of stock in 1972, IMS reinforced its market position in the United States and Europe and augmented its research capabilities. IMS acquired Lea Associates, known for developing the first National Disease and Therapeutic Index. Through the acquisition of Armbruster, Moore and MacKerell, IMS gained the Hospital Supply Index and Laboratory Diagnostic Audits. IMS obtained important products with the acquisition of Pharmatech, which developed the precursor to online delivery systems that IMS later created, and Cambridge Computer, which developed Drug Distribution Data, providing information to pharmaceutical sales representatives across several market areas.
In 1973 IMS established the Medical Communications division and the Life Sciences division to complement its market research activities. Medical Communications published informational materials, such as professional and trade journals, directories, and audiovisual training products. The division established the IMS Pharmaceutical market letter and acquired Medicine Digest Ltd. in 1978. IMS formed the Life Sciences division by acquiring Biodynamics, Inc., which conducted toxicology testing of chemicals and pharmaceuticals. When the U.S. Toxic Substances Act passed in 1976, IMS benefited as sales exploded with increased government requirements for toxicology testing. In 1978 IMS acquired Argentan Ltd. to further capitalize on the opportunity created by the new law.
International expansion involved the 1973 acquisitions of PRSA Holding Pty of Australia and New Zealand and the Interdroma group of companies in West Germany. Interdroma was known for its Die Gelb Liste or "yellow list," a work similar to the Physicians' Desk Reference. In 1975 IMS acquired Medifrance, which published physicians' prescription pads with pharmaceutical advertising.
The pharmaceuticals industry experienced dramatic growth during the 1970s, and IMS grew with it. Between 1973 and 1979 the company's sales growth averaged 20 percent. From revenues of $113.5 million in 1978, IMS reaped $8.2 million in profit, a 36 percent increase above the previous year. Providing information services in 42 countries, international operations accounted for 69 percent of revenues. The majority of business, 66 percent, originated from Market Research, while 22 percent originated from Medical Communications and 11 percent from Life Sciences.
1980s: Personal Computers Changing Methods of Transmitting Market Data
As the use of personal desktop computers spread, IMS changed the way it distributed information. In 1979 the company introduced one of its most important products, the multinational integrated data analysis service. Known as MIDAS, the system automated access to market information as computer terminals installed in customer offices provided direct access to IMS databases via satellite. Information on MIDAS covered activities of pharmaceutical, chemical, and healthcare companies in several countries, including drug and ingredient purchases by pharmacies and hospitals and expenditure on advertising and product promotions. In the years following the introduction of MIDAS, almost every major pharmaceutical company in the world subscribed to the service.
IMS developed several online database services during the 1980s, transforming existing knowledge for ease of access. In addition to Pharmaceutical Sales Audits, services included Sales Territory Reports, based on Drug Distribution Data reports, and Call Reporting, which provided sales information for a targeted area. Doctor Profiling organized the buying habits of physicians by zip code. Sales Management Systems combined the three databases. Post Marketing Surveillance reported drug trial results. By 1988 sales for database services exceeded the company's 1990 target of $100 million.
Further product and service development at IMS was influenced by Dun & Bradstreet's (D&B) acquisition of IMS in 1988. D&B, the world's largest provider of business information, considered IMS the "jewel in its crown." Upon completion of the $1.7 billion stock transaction, D&B proceeded to create synergy between IMS and other subsidiaries. Nielsen Marketing Research and IMS began sharing data collection on the sale of over-the-counter drugs and health and beauty products. Sales Technologies, acquired by D&B in 1989, collaborated with IMS on marketing laptop-based sales management service tools for mobile sales representatives in the United States and European pharmaceuticals industries.
Another aspect of personal computer usage, which influenced IMS operations, involved improved data collection. The use of personal computers by physicians not only simplified data collection through electronic transfer, it expanded the range of information available. In 1989 IMS introduced new services based on information gathered from physicians, initially in France and West Germany.
IMS continued to introduce online versions of existing reports, including the Japan Regional Sales Report and, in seven European countries, the OTC Report on over-the-counter drugs. International expansion involved the introduction of products and services in the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries, South Africa, and Asia, including China, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
IMS introduced many new information products and services. These included the Xponent, providing information about the activities of drug prescribers, and Plan Trak, providing information about managed care providers' handling of prescriptions. In the United States IMS introduced Xplorer to serve individual information requirements by combining data from inside the client company with IMS research resources.
In 1995, D&B made Sales Technologies an operating unit of IMS, with the intent of further developing mobile information services specifically for healthcare and pharmaceutical sales professionals. In emphasizing Pharmaceutical Relationship Management solutions, Sales Technologies developed automated sales management tools based on market information for targeting potential sales, such as Cornerstone and Premier. In collaboration with Logix, Inc., maker of handheld personal computers (HPC) used by pharmaceutical sales representatives, Sales Technologies integrated HPC applications with Cornerstone sales and marketing applications.
"Pure-Play" Global Healthcare Information Provider: 1998
In 1996 D&B began a process of separating its business operations which led to IMS becoming an independent company. During the first phase, IMS became a subsidiary of Cognizant Corporation along with Nielsen Marketing Research and the Gartner Group. In 1998 D&B spun off IMS and Nielsen from Cognizant Corporation, with Cognizant becoming a subsidiary of the newly formed IMS Health, Inc. IMS Health became an independent public company through a stock dividend distribution in June.
The main components of the company included IMS, the company's market research segment, Erisco Managed Care Technologies, which developed software applications for healthcare providers, and Cognizant, renamed Cognizant Technology Solutions, an information technology company. IMS Health subsidiaries included Enterprises, a venture capital unit investing in new healthcare businesses. IMS Health held an equity investment in Gartner Group, another information technology company. As an independent company IMS Health planned to focus solely on supplying global information solutions to high growth areas in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. This meant that information technology subsidiaries would be sold or spun off.
Many of the new company's activities focused on international expansion. In February IMS Europe located its worldwide headquarters in London. New research products introduced in the United Kingdom at this time included Xtrend, which tracked drug prescriptions, and PharmaTrend, which tracked sales of over-the-counter drugs. IMS developed markets in Czech and Slovak Republics, Poland, Turkey, and countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Through acquisition or joint venture IMS Health entered markets in China, Hungary, and Switzerland. IMS Health acquired Walsh International, a Pennsylvania-based firm whose $54 million in annual revenues came primarily from business conducted in Europe. With the acquisition of the non-U.S. assets of Pharmaceutical Marketing Services, Inc., IMS Health gained additional access to markets in Europe as well as Japan. International development also involved the introduction of new products in local languages. Sales Technologies introduced its Cornerstone automated sales management tool in local language versions in Japan and Brazil.
Among the company's new products, IMS Health introduced EarlyView for Xponent customers in mid-1998. The service provided information about product sales activity within one month of the previous month's close, compared with approximately two months for other data sources. The sales tool allowed company representatives to target drug prescribers with high sales potential by accessing early information on adoption of new products or change to competitive products.
Erisco Managed Care Technologies introduced Facets 2.7, an upgraded version of its primary software application. Facets 2.7 provided enhancements to major managed care functions, such as the Capitation/Risk Fund Management and Electronic Commerce Systems. Improvement to the Claims Processing function streamlined the release of pending claims in batches.
Late 1990s: New Technology Providing Foundation for Knowledge Products
During the late 1990s, new information technology provided a platform for creating new business decision-support tools that operated more rapidly and conveniently. As the Internet matured as a platform for information dissemination, IMS Health designed products that took advantage of its features. In collaboration with Physicians Online (POL), IMS Health created FASTview research service, to provide survey results of physician prescribing activity within 24 hours through access to POL's network of 200,000 physicians. The strength of this product included monitoring of drug prescriptions during the first eight weeks after launch, a period that was critical to the long-term success of the product.
Strategic Technologies, a merger of Sales Technologies and Walsh International, launched Insight Manager, an Internet-based tool for accessing sales information based on pharmaceutical prescribing activities. Integrated with Premier and Cornerstone applications, Insight Manager supported pharmaceutical sales representatives by providing information about potential sales opportunities.
In December 1999 IMS Health launched the i-squared Internet portal. The portal provided real-time drug market information with links to IMS Health's databases and services. The portal gave users the option of configuring their own work environment, such as merging client data with IMS resources and creating menus based on IMS Health products or by business processes, including market assessment, product launching, sales force deployment, and product portfolio management. Within the first year, more than 200 pharmaceutical corporations subscribed to the service.
As IMS Health developed market knowledge products, these products became increasingly specialized and complex. For instance, Xponent Specialty Retail monitored pharmaceutical prescriptions from specialized dealers, such as those prescribing drugs for HIV, schizophrenia, cancer, infertility, and other specific disorders. Enhanced Medical Dynamics collected and disseminated information on patient/physician consultations and treatments in 11 major markets in North America, plus Europe, Asia, Argentina, and Mexico.
New services reflected stronger attention to the way clients used information, such as specific areas of the marketing process. The new National Business Impact Assessment studied spending on direct-to-consumer advertising as it related to brand performance by measuring the incremental growth of a particular brand-name product. Another service, New Product Spectra, provided information on 265 major product introductions organized for more than 30 therapeutic classes. Analogue provided a comprehensive overview of pharmaceutical marketing in North America, Europe, and Japan, covering 1,800 major pharmaceutical new product introductions of all therapeutic classes.
As part of a movement toward qualitative information solutions, IMS Health introduced forecasting products under the new PharmaCast & Beyond service. IMS Health offered reports as a group or on an individual basis. The reports included qualitative information gathered from industry experts. Growth Analyzer, available in 40 countries, examined the causes of market growth and decline, looking at trends, differences in locality, and product promotions.
As part of its strategy to focus IMS Health activities on providing healthcare information, the company divested subsidiaries that handled technology development. IMS Health sold SSJ KK, a provider of financial application software, in March 1999, and Erisco Managed Care Technologies in October 2000. IMS Health spun off the Gartner Group in July 1999 and Sales Technologies in September 2000. In addition, IMS Health sold Source Dispensing, acquired from PMSI, as required by a British court due to a near monopoly when Whole Sale Data Services was combined with Xtrend services.
With more than 10,000 reports available, in May 2000 IMS Health introduced an online store, at open.imshealth.com, as an alternative to the i-squared portal. With a credit card, customers could download information products on an as-needed basis. The site featured the new Sales Report, on the top 20 international drugs in 189 therapeutic classes, and Pharmaceutical Company Profiles, covering product portfolios, mergers and acquisitions, and current product research and development of 100 major companies.
To accommodate the massive amount of information compiled by the company, in August IMS Health announced that it would build a global data processing center at the regional office in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. One of the largest computing centers in the world, the facility would process one billion transactions per month and store 26 terabytes of data collected from 100 countries.
Development of Consulting and Related Services in the Early 2000s
As the company streamlined operations to become purely an information resource, IMS Health sought to build on the potential of its offerings by providing consulting services. IMS Health consultants assisted clients to interpret insights garnered from market data and to translate them into business management and marketing decisions. Toward that end, in March 2002, IMS Health acquired Cambridge Pharma Consultancy, a healthcare consulting and advisory company in the United Kingdom. The acquisition supplemented IMS Health's existing consulting services and strengthened its international presence in this area.
IMS Health formed an alliance with Cognizant Technology Solutions to assist clients in building a custom infrastructure for organizing business intelligence. IMS Information Management Consulting, combined with Cognizant's capabilities in customizing information technology, would design software that catered to clients' specific needs. Consultants offered diagnostic assessments, data warehousing solutions, and integration of client data with IMS resources.
Among 20 new information services introduced in 2002, the most significant was the IMS Marketing Effectiveness Suite, a web-based tool providing detailed information on the complete lifecycle of a product, from pre-launch to patent expiration. Designed for the marketing professional, the Marketing Effectiveness Suite merged several existing databases to provide immediate response to client questions, answering with narrative or graphic displays. Services included Performance Tracker, which monitored product performance on a national, regional, and state level, following prescribing activity, sales, product inventory and withdrawal, and promotional spending. Early Insight emphasized daily prescribing activity indicative of the impact of special promotions on national sales.
Through an alliance with Harris Interactive, announced in March 2003, IMS Health planned to develop custom research and consulting services through online physicians panels. Harris Interactive's qualitative analysis on physician attitudes about prescriptions would supplement IMS Health's quantitative material to provide pharmaceutical companies worldwide with a new source of insight on market behavior.
Acquisitions in early 2003 involved specialized pharmaceutical information resources. IMS Health acquired Marketing Initiatives, Inc., which specialized in healthcare facility profile data, and Data Niche Associates (DNA), which specialized in rebate validation services for Medicaid and managed care. With managed care and Medicaid becoming a rapidly growing channel of pharmaceutical prescription activity, the DNA acquisition provided IMS Health with access to a significant information source.
IMS Health completed the transition to a pure-play global pharmaceutical information provider when the company spun off Cognizant Technology Solutions. Cognizant became an independent company in January 2003 through a stock exchange that decreased IMS Health's majority interest in the company.
Principal Subsidiaries: IMS AG (Switzerland); IMS Chinametrik Inc.; IMS Health Asia; IMS Health Australia Pty, Ltd.; IMS Health Canada; IMS Health Group Limited (U.K.).
Principal Operating Units: Marketing Effectiveness Solutions; Sales Optimization Solutions; Consulting Services.
Principal Competitors: Cegedim Group USA; NDC Health Corporation; PAREXEL International Corporation; Quintiles Transnational Corporation.
- "Comprehensive Information That Can Be Hard to Find," New York Times, September 19, 1998, p. G10.
- "Dun & Bradstreet to Acquire IMS International for $1.77 Billion," IDP Report, February 19, 1988, p. 1.
- George, John, "Drug Giant Inks $347M Acquisition," Philadelphia Business Journal, March 27, 1998, p. 1.
- Gilpin, Kenneth N., "Dun & Bradstreet to Split into 3 Public Companies," New York Times, January 10, 1996, p. D1.
- "IMS Database Services Revenue Well Ahead of $100 Million Target for 1990," IDP Report, January 8, 1988, p. 1.
- "IMS Health Acquires Data Niche Associates," Fairfield County Business Journal, March 17, 2003, p. 11.
- "IMS Health Takes Over Cambridge Pharma Consultancy," Pharmaceutical Technology Europe, March 2002, p. 5.
- "IMS International Inc. Buys Private Company for 300,000 of Common," Wall Street Journal, May 29, 1973, p. 22.
- "IMS International Offering Is Sold Out at $25 a Share," Wall Street Journal, June 28, 1972, p. 15.
- "IMS Launches New Information Services," Chemical Market Reporter, June 14, 1999, p. 49.
- "IMS Told to Sell Wholesale Sales Data Service Business," Chemist & Druggist, March 6, 1999, p. 24.
- "L.W. Frolich Led Ad Agency," New York Times, September 29, 1971, p. 36.
- Wiggins, Phillip H., "Tracking Drug Industry Sales," New York Times, March 23, 1979, p. D1.
Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 57. St. James Press, 2004.