GSK restructures bonuses for sales reps

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Beginning in 2011, GlaxoSmithKline will reward its sales reps for the relationships they forge with doctors, instead of the amount of drugs they sell.  

Under the new plan, bonuses will be awarded based on “new tools [in development] to evaluate the performance of sales professionals,” which include customer evaluations, according to Kevin Colgan, a GSK spokesperson. Bonuses will no longer be based on the “individual achievement of sales targets,” said Colgan.

Robert Nauman, principal at BioPharma Advisers and a former GSK marketing director, said the decision reflects the shift of purchasing power away from individual physicians, and toward managed care directors and office managers. “There's less and less value in a rep visit,” said Nauman. “Reps now exist to support physicians, and provide them with relevant information faster than they can get it elsewhere” — an admittedly formidable task, Nauman said.

GSK will also streamline account management, according to Colgan. “Rather than having multiple sales professionals calling on providers…we are moving to a model in which a single individual is now responsible for managing that account and bringing specialists from within the company to meet specific customer requests and needs,” he said.

Andrew Witty, GSK's CEO and also acting president of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry and Associates — a European Union industry trade group akin to PhRMA in the US — recently endorsed a cap on the number of samples that reps can distribute to physicians in the EU.

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