In 2019, there was a substantial drop in the number of physicians meeting with pharma sales reps. According to a report conducted by the Decision Resources Group, just over half of physicians polled met with a pharma sales rep. Certain practice areas are also seeing an increase in the number of physicians not interacting with sales reps. What’s the cause and what are physicians turning to instead?
The main factor affecting sales rep contact is a lack of time. Between caring for patients and accomplishing necessary administrative tasks, physicians are less available to meet and spend a substantial amount of time with pharma reps. Medical Marketing & Media reported that zero to 2% of polled doctors favor a 30-minute phone call, web conference, e-detail, and in-person visit, leaving pharma sales reps with limited windows to effectively interact with physicians.
For pharma reps who do manage to get in the door and speak with physicians, the most effective way of engaging the physician is to present information less through the perspective of the pharma company, but rather from the perspective of the customer. Technological devices such as tablets have also proven an effective way of presenting information when meeting with physicians, as they allow easy access to animations and videos facilitating demonstrations of how treatments work.
Due to a decrease in contact between physicians and pharma reps, more physicians are conducting their own internet searches related to questions about prescription drugs. Thanks to an improved perception of pharma websites, these sites are exerting greater influence on physicians’ clinical decision-making. Physicians’ willingness to engage with pharma companies in such a manner is dependent on the information being transparent and free of bias, with an emphasis placed on helping physicians better care for their parents rather than a “buy my product” focus.
No matter how a physician chooses to interact with pharma sales reps in a changing landscape, the most important thing is that a physician is choosing pharmaceuticals most suited to assist patients. Prescribing faults due to incorrect medical decisions could harm patients, leading to complaints that cause fines, reputation damage, or a risk to your license. Williams & Nickl has effectively represented physicians and is here to help you through the process should such a risk occur.