Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Big Pharma, brand manager, brands, marketing, online, patient education, physicians, relationships, social networking, trust
Many physicians see detailers only with scheduled appointments. Drugmakers are responding to hard times with layoffs and a shift toward online marketing.
Source: American Medical News
The relationship between doctors and drug reps may never be the same again.
Pharmaceutical companies — battered by a sluggish drug pipeline, the looming loss of blockbuster patented drugs, an economy in recession and scrutiny of their relationships with physicians — are re-examining the value of sending drug reps into doctors’ offices. Detailers are struggling to grab a shrinking slice of physicians’ valuable time and attention while adjusting to new drug industry rules banning freebies such as pens and notepads.
At its peak in 2007, the American pharmaceutical industry fielded 102,000 sales reps, said Chris Wright, managing principal for the consulting firm ZS Associates’ U.S. Pharmaceuticals Practice. Drugmakers have slashed the number to 92,000 since then, and ZS projects the number will fall to 75,000 by 2012 at the latest, saving the industry $3.6 billion.
Pharma’s return on investment in its sales force has plummeted. For every 100 reps who visit a practice, 37 place their products in the office’s sample cabinet, and only 20 speak to a physician in person, said the New York-based consulting group TNS Healthcare. Profit per drug rep visit fell 23% from 2004 to 2005, said a February PricewaterhouseCoopers report on pharma’s future.
“The old sales model is broken now, and who knows how it will look in the future,” said Peter H. Nalen, president of Compass Healthcare Communications, an online drug marketer in Princeton, N.J. “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 to you.”
1 in 4 doctors works in a practice that refuses to see drug reps.
The time squeeze and the new drug industry rules are “changing the landscape quite dramatically,” Nalen said. Another troubling sign for drugmakers: More than a third of medical schools require drug reps to have appointments before seeing physicians or residents, according to the American Medical Student Assn.’s 2008 PharmFree Scorecard. The Assn. of American Medical Colleges recommended the by-appointment-only policy in May 2008.
While most physicians still have positive views of detailers and drugmakers, those sentiments are cooling.
About one in four physicians works in a practice that refuses to see drug reps. Of doctors who do see reps, about 40% will meet with detailers only with scheduled appointments. The by-appointment-only figure jumped 23% during the last six months of 2008, according to a survey of more than 227,000 medical practices representing 640,000 physicians that was released in February.
The survey, conducted by the doctor-profiling firm SK&A Information Services Inc., did not seek to determine why some physicians are giving drug reps the cold shoulder. But physicians and pharmaceutical industry consultants say doctors have felt besieged by the number of reps visiting their offices and taking up precious time in an era of declining payment.
Last year saw a slight drop in a measure of the quality of detailers’ relationships with doctors, based on a TNS survey of more than 1,500 doctors. And negative word-of-mouth about pharma rose sharply among physicians — this so-called market-resistance index jumped 62% in the last year, TNS said.
Controversies over the drugs marketed as Vioxx (rofecoxib), Avandia (rosiglitazone) and Vytorin (ezetimbe and simvastatin) appear to be making doctors more skeptical of drugmakers as an information source, said Jerome L. Avorn, MD, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts.
“Doctors are increasingly concerned that the sales pitches from drug reps are not giving them the full story,” said Dr. Avorn, author of the 2004 book, Powerful Medicines: The Benefits, Risks, and Costs of Prescription Drugs.
Ken Johnson, senior vice president at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said in a statement that detailing visits are good for doctors and patients. “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.”
Interacting with detailers
For every physician, it seems, there is a different way to handle drug reps.
Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD, is a dermatologist with a high-volume practice in Eagan, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis. Though five to 10 reps visit his office daily, he strictly limits detailers to one five-minute session a week and requires that the rep provide lunch for his staff.
More than a third of med schools require drug reps to make appointments.
“The reps know they are not allowed to disturb me when I am seeing patients,” Dr. Crutchfield said. “If they do bring samples, I have a nurse who will bring the pad back to me so I can sign it. I will not see or talk to reps when I’m in clinic.”
Ari Silver-Isenstadt, MD, persuaded the four other doctors and office staff in his Baltimore pediatrics practice to adopt, in January 2008, a “no soliciting” policy for drug reps. Dr. Silver-Isenstadt is a member of the National Physicians Alliance, whose Unbranded Doctor Campaign urges physicians to refuse industry gifts and stop seeing drug reps.
Despite the new survey figures showing that doctors are cooling to drug reps, he said physicians should be more aggressively addressing the conflict of interest detailers pose.
“More than half of us doctors still just have a feeding frenzy of reps in our offices,” he said. “We should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing such an intertwining of our patients’ best interests with the convenience and niceties of drug reps.”
Not all doctors share Dr. Silver-Isenstadt’s hard-line view.
Most are simply pressed for time. Drug companies are trying to reach out to doctors via the Web, experts said. About 45,000 doctors meet with detailers using online video, and 300,000 physicians say they are open to doing so, said a September 2008 study from Manhattan Research, a drug marketing research firm.
Visits by drug reps will not disappear entirely, experts said. Rather, the sales force that survives the layoffs will be better trained and have a greater depth of clinical and scientific knowledge.
Detailers “reach the customer in a way that other promotional techniques do not,” said Wright, of the ZS Associates consulting firm. “And for many of these doctors, the choices they make about what to prescribe are worth a considerable amount of money.
“When that’s on the table, it makes sense to send a highly trained person to make sure the doctor knows about the medicine before making those choices.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: FDA, fdasm, interactive, online, pharma, social media
Starting today, the FDA will be holding a 2-day hearing on how pharmaceutical companies use the web and social-media tools to market their products. Sixty-two speakers from pharmaceutical companies, media companies, agencies, and others have been asked to give their viewpoints.
Is it a little too late? Maybe. Is it a step in the right direction? Probably. Will the FDA, pharma and marketers have a better understanding on what needs to be done to regulate the internet and social media? Likely. Whatever the outcome, it’s about time.
Follow all of the action (via real-time tweets) at www.fdasm.com.
Or listen to the streaming webcast courtesy of the FDA at http://www.capitolconnection.net/capcon/fda/111209/FDAlive.htm.
Filed under: physician | Tags: biotech, interactive, manhattan research, medical devices, nurses, online, Patients, pharma
According to a new study by Manhattan Research, approximately three out of four U.S. nurses recommend health websites to patients. The study, Taking the Pulse® Nurses v9.0, focuses on which technologies nurses have adopted, how they are currently using them, and how they plan to use them in the future.
It was noted that nurses are very savvy when it comes to using technology for health, averaging eight hours per week online for professional purposes. Nurses are also proactive in researching medical product information specifically online – over eighty percent have visited a pharma, biotech, or device company website in the past year. Merck, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and Sanofi-Aventis have the corporate sites most visited by nurses.
So what does this mean for your brand? That nurses remain a key target for your promotional efforts.
Read the report here.
Filed under: social media | Tags: email, facebook, mashable, myspace, network, nielsen, online, social media, teitter
If you base your answer on a new study by Nielsen Online, yes. According to the study, titled Global Faces and Networked Places, 66.8% of Internet users across the globe accessed “member communities” last year, compared to 65.1% for email.
Although the numbers seem to be credible, I find this kind of message ironic, since email use is the backbone that social networking is based on (i.e. you can’t sign-up, send messages , etc. without it). So what do the numbers really mean? Over at the DMA blog they do a great counter argument on the results by pointing out that the research:
- does NOT claim that more people USE Member communities than email
- does not define active reach
- does not define email
- does not equate active reach with unique users
- shows that email use is growing faster than search
What does this mean? Email has been seamlessly integrated into the social networking scene and day-to-day life without anyone noticing. Its death has been predicted for the past 7 years and research is showing that certain target audiences have found other mediums to communicate. But without email, there would be no social media. And marketers should remember that.
Filed under: social media | Tags: awareness, brands, facebook, FDA, healthcare, marketing, online, pharma, physicians, products, relationships, research, social media, twitter
As other posters have noted, blogging as part of the new social media has become important as a marketing tool for agencies and their clients. In fact, there are continuing indications that social media will forever change agency business and the way we look at client relationships.
Sites such as Facebook are using the limitless power of the internet to allow us to discuss professional information with lots of people at one time, thus creating meaningful relationships. And no factor is more important in these tough economical times than nurturing and maintaining client relationships.
Let’s “face it”. Social media sites have become powerful and cannot be ignored. Currently there are 200 million users on Facebook and it’s growing by a phenomenal 600,000 users per day. While 45% of Facebook’s U.S. audience is 26 old or older, the fastest growing segment is women over 55.
Think of the possibilities!
• Targeted research
• Survey feedback
• New product ideas
• Product feedback
• Report adverse events
• Track FDA Guideline Updates
• Track the progress of upcoming pharmaceuticals
• Debunk myths and perceptions associated with a product or disease state
These sites further give us the opportunity to:
• Develop new business contacts
• Brainstorm with physicians
• Generate positive word-of-mouth about our clients and their brands
And perhaps most importantly, they allow us to promote ourselves and our agency as an innovator. One that clients will want to talk to about their existing products and new product launches.
Given that the cost of a Facebook page is free, positioning social media as a part of your agency and your clients’ overall marketing plan is a no brainer.
Filed under: social media | Tags: journals, media, online, pharma, physicians, research, social media
Where are physicians spending most of their time online when it comes to journals? According to the results of a Manhattan Research survey, the New England Journal of Medicine sees the most visits from physicians monthly.
The results were taken from the ePharma Physician v8.0 which was conducted via online survey in Q2 2008 among 1,681 practicing U.S. physicians. One of the highlights was that reading online medical journals has been one of the fastest growing professional activities for physicians, growing at a double-digit rate over the past three years. Media buy anyone?
The rest of the top online journals read by physicians (PCP) can be found below.
- The New England Journal of Medicine
- American Family Physician
- Annals of Internal Medicine
- The Lancet
- American Academy of Family Physicians
- Journal of the American Medical Association
- Family Practice Management
- Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine
- ACP (American College of Physicians) Observer
- Journal of General Internal Medicine
Filed under: social networking | Tags: online, physicians, social networking, web 2.0
Although physicians have the same desired end result, it doesn’t mean they react to the same tactics. When marketing to physicians, be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking they’re all alike. Though some might think of physicians, particularly older, as non early-adopters to new technology, the opposite may be true.
A report released by Manhattan Research titled “Physicians and Web 2.0: Five Things You Should Know about the Evolving Online Landscape for Physicians” describes how physicians are using Web 2.0 technologies, such as blogs, podcasts, and online communities, for professional development and networking.
According to the report
• 300,000 physicians use blogs for any reason and 25,000 are actively using them for professional content.
• More than 100,000 physicians are listening to professional content via podcasts.
• 245,000 physicians post professional content online or participate in online communities with other physicians.
Read the full report here.