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Physician requests of online drug samples were up nearly threefold over the same period in 2010 as of January, according to a Physicians Interactive Holdings study, and more than 75,000 physicians are participating in online sampling programs each month. The study found requests had risen 277% in a year as companies compensate for smaller sales forces with online sampling programs.

Pharma sector job cuts have fallen 87% from 26,165 positions eliminated a year ago to 3,385 this year, according to the latest Challenger, Gray & Christmas job cut report, which placed long time job loss leader pharma solidly in the middle of the pack for cuts, between electronics and consumer products. The industry cut 960 jobs in March—that's out of 41,528 across all industries. On the downside, the sector didn't even place in the firm's top 15 industries by announced hires.

GlaxoSmithKline is in a sales rep “war for talent” in China and India, GSK's emerging markets head Abbas Hussain told Bloomberg. He said the company sees about 20% turnover in its sales forces for those two key markets each year as reps take better offers with rival companies such as Pfizer and Sanofi-Aventis, and GSK is experimenting with delayed incentives to hold on to reps, Bloomberg reported.

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