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.

New Perspective on Pharma- Physician interaction

Despite ever increasing regulations, and even though some institutions and medical societies have adopted policies that limit or ban such practices, new research shows that most physicians and doctors-in-training still have a positive attitude toward the marketing activities of pharmaceutical companies.

According to the study published in the June Archives of Surgery 72% of surveyed doctors and medical students said sponsored lunches were appropriate. Nearly 60% said samples improve care for their patients, and 71% said pharmaceutical and device company money is useful for funding residency programs.

Additionally, the majority of doctors thought that educational material supplied by pharma (68.8%) and device (78.5%) companies was a useful way to learn about new products.

There were limits, though. About 3:4 respondents believed gifts valuing more than $50 were unacceptable and almost all thought vacations were inappropriate.

The study authors polled almost 600 faculty and medical trainees at 11 New York City hospitals that have banned or limited the interaction between physicians and industry.

Some difference was seen between different physician groups. Surgeons were more likely to have a positive attitude toward industry. They believed that gifts, such as residency funding and travel reimbursement for attending lectures, are acceptable. Pediatricians held less favorable attitudes.

Interestingly, 73.2% of physicians thought that their institution should allow physician-pharma interaction while almost the same number (72.7%) strongly believe that their prescribing was not influenced by industry marketing practices.

Clearly, not all physician-industry interactions are created equal. While politicians and regulators would have physicians shun all contact with the pharmaceutical and device industries, many doctors believe such relationships are healthy and beneficial.

Before regulators rushed to reduce conflict-of-interest, maybe they should have talked to the very people most impacted by the rules.  Word on Health is not surprised that doctors take umbrage at the suggestion that a pen or a sandwich paid for by industry might affect their judgment. The public demonization of financial relationships between physicians and industry, although widespread, is not supported by any conclusive evidence.

Despite this, relationships continue to be investigated and regulations become more rigorous. Are they too much or too little?  We’d love to hear your views on this. Please leave a comment below.