Just 2 years ago, Big Pharma fielded 102,000 sales reps. That number has already dropped to 92,000 and it’s headed to 75,000 by 2012, according to Chris Wright, a principal at ZS Associates.
That’ll save $3.6 billion for the beleaguered pharmaceutical companies, who are dealing with desiccated drug pipelines, patent expirations on blockbusters, blood thirsty politicians, and populist rages against the industry…and that’s before breakfast.
Decisions to make the cutbacks haven’t been that difficult since sales force effectiveness is way down.
Nowadays, only 37% of the drug reps who visit medical practices get to place products in the sample cabinet, and a measly 20% speak directly to a physician, according to TNS Healthcare.
About 25% of physicians belong to a practice that bans the reps altogether, and that was before new regs prohibited them from distributing tchotchkes!
“The old sales model is broken now, and who knows how it will look in the future,” Peter Nalen told AmedNews.
The president of Compass Healthcare Communications added “what’s happening is that pharmaceutical companies are realizing there are other ways to reach the doctor instead of banging on the door of the doctor who just doesn’t want to talk.”
Ari Silver-Isenstadt persuaded his Baltimore pediatrics practice partners to adopt a “no soliciting” policy for drug reps. “More than half of us doctors still just have a feeding frenzy of reps in our offices,” he told AmedNews.
“We should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing such an intertwining of our patients’ best interests with the convenience and niceties of drug reps.”
But Ken Johnson, a senior VP for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America disagrees.
“Interactions between physicians and pharmaceutical company representatives benefit patient care through the exchange of information about new medicines, new uses of medicines, the latest clinical data, appropriate dosing and emerging safety issues,” he insisted.