Physician-rep relationships in retreat, says TNS

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Merck ranks tops among US physicians for sales and services, according to TNS Healthcare data, while Novartis is number one in Europe, but physician-rep relationships are souring across the board.

In the US, Merck was followed by Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, tied for second place. Lilly and Novartis tied for third. Merck also ranked among the top companies in the UK and Germany, as did Pfizer, Novartis and Sanofi-Aventis. But a decline in average rep relationship scores belies those rankings.

“We saw several fascinating trends in how physicians rate companies for their service delivery this year,” said Andrew Brana, senior global consultant, sales force optimization for TNS Healthcare. “For example, in the UK, 10 of the 17 companies we measure tie for first place, with top ratings across all service areas. Unfortunately, this does not indicate a high level of performance across the board. Rather, it shows that companies are undifferentiated in the UK market.”

Below-average scores for service activities in most European companies suggests a need for improvement, said Brana.

“In the US, companies score well on rep attributes—such as knowledge, expertise and professional conduct—and the new service elements, such as web-based services, educational programs and patient support," he said. "Although scores are lower for the new services than for traditional rep attributes, they are generally respectable and indicate that US companies have made effort and investment in these important areas. There is, however, still room for continued improvement.”  

TNS Healthcare surveyed 1,500 general practitioners in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain on the performance of 17 top companies across ten areas, including: rep conduct; rep knowledge and expertise; quality of sales visits; patient management, education and support; physician education and information services; practice and staff support services; web-based services for physicians; Web-based services for patients; brand experience; and corporate reputation.

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