The Doctor Won’t See You Now

US Pharma reps think they have it bad?  Then they should spare are thought for their poor beleaguered colleagues on the other side of the Pond!

According to an article in the industry journal PM Live,  time-pressured doctors in the UK are increasingly refusing to see pharmaceutical sales reps altogether.

A study undertaken by Doctors.net.uk in April 2012 surveyed more than 1,000 General Practitioner’s (GPs). They found that 52% of GPs did not see any pharmaceutical sales representatives in a typical week, while 26% saw only one pharma sales rep during that period.

Lack of time was the most common reason cited by GPs for not seeing pharma sales reps (38%). Other reasons included a practice “no-see” policy and a perceived lack of reps’ impartiality.

At the same time, they learned that doctors are turning to digital channels for independent product information. Nearly a quarter (23%) of the GPs surveyed said they preferred to find their own product information via independent online resources.

Doctors.net.uk said its findings follow earlier studies it conducted that show only 3% of doctors think online pharma resources are credible. Worse still 42% said they never visit pharmaceutical websites.

This research would appear to be in line with other trends among healthcare professionals.  European doctors’ use of iPads and other mobile devices is increasing and US pharma execs expect to increase their future spending on digital marketing channels.

SRxA can help Pharma companies to navigate the promotional maze and get the best bang for those pharma dollar bucks. Contact us today to find out more.

Smoke Across the Water

While many people in the US are frustrated with healthcare reforms, SRxA’s Word on Health has learned that the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere.

This week, doctors in the UK have been told to stop referring smokers for any routine elective surgery unless their patients quit or complete a government run Stop Smoking course.

The controversial plans, which have already provoked anger among Family Practitioners, have been tabled as part of a draconian package of cost-cutting measures.

Other tactics include extending waiting times for surgery and a halt to all consultant-to-consultant referrals for the rest of the financial year unless clinically urgent.

Family doctors are also being asked to play a greater role in stopping their patients from going to the ER in order to drive down costs.

In a letter sent to all General Practitioners in the South West of England, the National Health Service (NHS) said: ‘There is good evidence to show that stopping smoking prior to surgery reduces length of stay and infection rates, and improves healing time; it is also a time when people are often highly motivated to give up. All patients who smoke and are booked for planned surgery will therefore be required to complete a NHS Stop Smoking course prior to surgery. Going forward, all patients requiring planned surgery should be referred to a NHS Stop Smoking Service before being added to the waiting list. A ‘Non Smoker’ status OR completion of the program is the threshold for surgical referral.’

Opponents of the scheme argue that this will only make waiting lists longer and denies smokers their basic human rights.

Word on Health would love to hear your views on this. Should patients be forced to give up smoking in order to have surgery?  Should smokers pay higher health insurance premiums because they consume higher amounts of healthcare costs?

Have your say now.