Drug Sales Reps Increasingly Denied Access
New figures are that access to doctors by sales reps are down 13 percent.
That according to a report from ZS Associates, a sales and marketing consulting firm, which put together findings released today.
The rejection costs pharmaceutical companies about $2 billion a year in expenses and salaries. It’s all part of a backlash against pharmaceutical marketing and sales.
The report called AccessMonitor, says that about 23 percent of doctors are “medium access” meaning they will see representatives, yet they are still difficult to see about half of the time. Six percent of doctors fall into the “low access” category, meaning they will not see any reps from any company.
Doctors get much of their information about a new drug or device from sales representatives and for a long while drug makers were sending an increasing number of reps into the field to push the benefit of products.
Estimates are that today about 90,000 drug reps work for pharmaceutical giants.
Sales and marketing is a huge part of a company’s budget. A study released last year estimates that U.S. pharmaceutical companies spend twice as much marketing drugs as they spend in the research and development of new drugs.
The research, out of York University in Toronto, Ontario January 2008 is titled "The Cost of Pushing Pills: A New Estimate of Pharmaceutical Promotion Expenditures in the United States."
Researchers found that while drug makers spend 24.4 percent on sales or promotion, 13.4 percent goes to research and development (R & D).
U.S. drug sales are estimated at $235.4 billion annually.
That translates to $57.5 billion spent on total promotion by pharmaceutical companies in 2004 or about $61,000 per physician in promotion that year.
Patients Asking More Questions
Patients however are becoming more concerned about industry influence over doctors and are asking more questions. And as a result of patient pressure and the time constraints of doctors, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer have both reportedly reduced the number of their sales reps.
ZS looked at the call plans and reports from about 35,000 sales reps as the basis of its report. It concludes the industry could be more productive if it reduced the ranks to about 75,000. #