In-Person Pharma Visits Take a Popularity Hit

 

Physicians have always been protective of their time, and that trend is only continuing in the digital age. So-called “mobile savvy” docs, in particular, are less inclined to welcome pharma rep visits, but they are still open to receiving industry information.

 

The information comes courtesy of ZS Associates, as published on www.pmlive.com. Pratap Khedkar, principal and leader of the pharmaceuticals practice at ZS Associates, said: “It’s not that these doctors object to receiving information from pharmaceutical companies. These doctors merely prefer using mobile and other alternative channels of communication to engage with reps.

 

“To take advantage of this change, companies must adopt an integrated ‘surround sound’ approach that uses several alternative methods to capture and keep a doctor’s attention,” he continued. “The trend is moving toward a mix of face-to-face communication with a handful of digital communication channels orchestrated by the rep.”

 

“The consultants’ AccessMonitor report found the decrease in physician access was also being driven by greater demands on doctors’ time and growth in payer/provider consolidation,” writes blogger Dominic Tyer. “Previously rep-friendly specialists, such as those in dermatology, gastroenterology and paediatrics, were also found to be rapidly losing interest in rep visits.”

 

The AccessMonitor report aggregates sales-call summaries from more than 200 US pharma sales teams and examines how often approximately 325,000 physicians and other prescribers meet with the sales reps that try to visit them.

 

“Physician access has been steadily declining over the last six years and nearly half (49%) of those in the US now have ‘moderate-to-severe’ restrictions on rep visits in place – up from 23 per cent in 2008,” writes Tyer. “Access continues to worsen despite cuts in the size of pharma’s field forces – last year Lilly set out plans to axe a third of its US reps and Novartis has already made major reductions, for example. As a result of these and other decisions the industry employs more reps in China than it does in the US.”

 

Khedkar adds: “While it’s discouraging that doctors may not meet as often with pharma reps, most physicians still view these reps as valuable sources of information. Pharma companies just need to find new ways to reach these customers.”

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