How can pharma help patients when they are not helping physicians?

KEY TAKEAWAY: Manhattan Research study finds that pharma sales tactics haven’t kept pace with the evolving behavior and information needs of today’s physicians. In addition KRC Research found that Most physicians recognize and value contributions made by pharmaceutical and biotech companies, but they do not use this information in isolation.

DRG reported in August that physicians who see sales reps say that over half of the time (51%), the reps show them information they have already seen through their own research or in previous meetings. Why is this happening? Because pharma company processes are process driven and involve way too many steps. They are not meant for speed but rather meant for FDA approval. Nowhere is this clearer than in Oncology. According to DRG “medical oncologists who see reps say that 68% of the time, their reps show them info they’ve already seen” This is a huge waste of money.

The DRG study further found “today’s physicians are now adept at finding clinical info online, as they need it — and reps that focus too much time on basic product and promotional info risk boring them with info they already knew. 74% of physicians use search engines weekly or more*, and 52% use pharma digital resources regularly, with product-related info being the most accessed website resource.

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What about online detailing? Despite industry enthusiasm for rep-triggered email software only 12% of physicians said they had emailed with their rep in the past six months. More than a third (36%) said they wanted to, indicating a significant gap. Similarly, just 9% of physicians are currently using remote detailing programs, such as a self-detailing app or click to chat, while 35% are interested in doing so.

“There’s a disconnect between the sales force, which is very focused on script volumes and meeting their numbers, and digital marketers, who are focused on physician engagement and building long-term relationships with HCPs, ” said DRG Digital Analyst Jeff Wray.

Addressing the problem…

Last year we developed and tested a possible solution with a biotech company in Boston. We developed a custom detail iPad solution. Here’s how it worked..

1ne: Before going in to see a physician the sales rep would select detail parameters on the iPad such as physician tier, the key message to be communicated and amount of time for detail.

2wo: The program, on the iPad, would then assemble the detail piece based on the sales reps input.

3hree: After the detail the rep would rate the interaction and could send the detail to the HCP via eMail. Analytics on the back end would indicate if the physician read the detail piece online (74% did).

4our: The physician would also have the option to communicate with the pharma rep and MSL via email.

This wasn’t inexpensive to develop, but when factoring in physician engagement, we came up with an estimated ROI of at least 7:1. It worked and worked very well plus the sales reps liked the ability to customize the iPad detail piece based on physician needs.

Pharma needs to step up their game when it comes to helping HCP’s get the information they need in a way that they want it delivered.

Originally published at on January 17, 2018.

Marketing contrarian with over 15 years of developing leading edge and award winning digital marketing initiatives.

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