Meetings offer reps shot at 'no-see' docs

While the number of physicians open to pharmaceutical sales calls is shrinking, a new survey suggests some venues are more hospitable to industry than others.

The survey found that nearly three-quarters (71%) of doctors who restrict pharma sales reps in their practices chose to interact with them while at a live educational event, either via a theater presentation or with a rep during a direct interaction called a product forum.

“It really is about personal choice,” said Sam Bishop, director of research for Pri-Med, which canvassed 1,100 physicians at seven of its own live medical-educational meetings held in different regions of the country. “[The physicians] have personally chosen to come to this event. If industry is there, the majority will choose to opt in.”

But Chris Wright, managing principal for the pharma practice of sales and marketing consultancy ZS Associates, said that while ZS's AccessMonitor report has shown that no-see doctors have risen to 9% of the total, up from 6% last year, and access is a growing concern, more than half of US doctors readily accept sales calls.

Wright said many physicians don't have the time to attend meetings and may prefer other touchpoints, like KOL podcasts. “The innovative pharma companies will have a kit of alternatives, and the challenge will be...matching to the doctor's preference. When they see the doctor engage, that's when they will know they have figured it out.”
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