The Doctor Won’t See You Now

Obtaining access to busy physicians grew more difficult for pharmaceutical representatives in 2009.

  • The number of physicians willing to see most reps fell nearly 20%
  • The number of prescribers refusing to see most reps increased by half
  • The number of management-planned sales calls that were nearly impossible to complete topped 8 million.

These are among the findings of a report from global consulting firm ZS Associates that examined how often physicians and other prescribers will meet with sales representatives from pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The study monitored the sales rep-related interactions of more than 500,000 physicians, nurse practitioners and other pharmaceutical prescribers and tracked both the planned and completed sales calls of more than 41,000 pharmaceutical representatives — about half of all representatives in the United States.

According to the spring 2010 report only 58% of prescribers in 2009 were “rep-accessible”. This is down 18% from the previous year.  At the same time, the number of “rep-inaccessible” prescribers — those who saw fewer than 30 percent of the reps who called on them — increased from 6 to 9%.

The report noted that this trend reflects both the physician’s busier schedule and the pharmaceutical industry’s lack of new blockbuster drugs.  As a result, physicians are loath to see any but the most valuable pharmaceutical sales representatives.  Even those physicians classified as “rep-accessible” became more discriminating.  In this category, 94% of primary care providers and 83% of specialists did not see even the best representatives more than twice each month.

Based on these findings, the authors concluded that more than 8 million sales calls are nearly impossible.

Pharmaceutical representatives are operating today in an increasingly unwelcome physician-office environment,” said principal author Chris Wright. “Certain prescribers simply won’t see pharmaceutical representatives and they won’t do it under any circumstances”.

This report clearly shows that pharmaceutical companies need to find an alternate way to get their messages to prescribers.  Contact SRxA to learn how we can help you achieve this.