PHARMA: Drug reps being kept out of clinics

It’s worth having a quick look at this USA Today article about the increasing trend of clinics and health systems keeping drug reps away from their doctors. For example:

The University of Wisconsin and their clinics in Madison also have developed a common disciplinary database. Drug representatives with three violations — for offenses such as giving out food or loitering outside doctors’ lounges — may lose their hospital access across the city for six months.

In my day “loitering with intent” meant something altogether different. But there’s still no question that physicians get most of their information about new drugs from their detail reps, and counter-detailing is still in its infancy. But for most of America, unlike those systems who are at risk for their drug budget, there is no incentive for physicians to keep out the drug reps. And samples are a key part of the reason why drug reps are in general welcome.

However, the back-up of detail reps queuing to get into the physicians’ office will have to be cleared up. Pharma is spending too much on its sales teams and with a combination of using technology for remote detailing, and better understanding of targeting of sales reps, expect the number of drug reps to be reduced over time. But bear in mind that the number of detail reps has quadrupled over the last 10 years, as everyone has fought to catch up with Pfizer. Don’t expect a repeat of that.

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