Product Concepts Use Cases

Products and Product Concepts

Product concepts are ultimately a way to access and organize drug products. One way to think of product concepts is as a type of persisted search query. Each product concept specifies a subset of the entire set of drug products in DrugBank. The more specific the concept, the fewer products it matches. Understanding the ability to move between products and product concepts is crucial to being able to make the most out of both datasets. Each use case below either builds directly on this relationship, or can be extended with it - perhaps by taking a product concept and then finding a product it represents, or by starting with a product, translating it to product concepts, and then working with the representative product concept.

By leveraging the tree structure offered by product concepts, a product or product concept selection flow can be easily built which offers a compelling user experience.

The first step to this flow is to select a product concept based only on ingredient information - the drugs and salts. From there, by checking the products one level further down on the tree, this product concept can be refined. The product concepts being presented can be limited to the options for a single field at a time, eg. route. This concept is demonstrated in the product concepts API tutorial.

For example, a user might follow the following steps:

FieldSearch typeSelectionDrugbank ID
Ingredienttext searchTamoxifenDBPC0017857
Routeselect from children of previous conceptTamoxifen OralDBPC0017859
Formselect from children of previous conceptTamoxifen Oral TabletDBPC0103415
Strengthselect from children of previous conceptTamoxifen 10mg Oral TabletDBPC0104225

Note that in this case, all of the desired fields were filled out. For some use cases a user may need or want to leave certain fields unselected, eg. to find a final product concept with no specified route.

Using the comprehensive cross-referencing available with product concepts, it becomes simple to find similar product concepts. The basic flow from one product to a list of equivalent products is this:

  1. Find initial product
  2. Find product concept which corresponds to that product at the desired level of detail
  3. Find products of that product concept
  4. Filter those products by region/availability/etc. if desired

Step number 2 is the most crucial step. The product concept selected here determines how many products will be found in step number 3. If a product concept with only ingredient information is used, this will result in the largest number of products found in step 3. However, it may be the case that the resulting products should have the same strength, route, form, or brand. There is no right answer to this question - it depends on your goals. In this case, the product concept is like a net being cast. A very specific product concept is a smaller net - it will bring in fewer products, but they will be more similar to the initial product.

With this technique, product concepts can be used to find

  • an equivalent product in another jurisdiction
  • an equivalent product from another brand
  • similar products with a different strength
  • a generic form of a product

Identification/comparison of products

In some cases, it is not the exact regulatory product code (eg. NDC) of a product which is important, it is the combination of ingredients, strength, route and form. For instance, two generic products from different manufacturers may be functionally equivalent, but they will have different product codes. Comparing the two products directly can be complicated and cumbersome. With product concepts, it is simple to see that the two products are equivalent in this respect - they will share product concepts. When the regulatory product code is not the field of interest, it can be easier to work in product concepts.