Sales calls up for Novartis, down overall

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Conversation starter: Novartis BP med Valturna
Conversation starter: Novartis BP med Valturna

Novartis is bucking the trend toward fewer sales calls to healthcare professionals.

Visits by the Swiss giant's sales force increased 7% in the first half of 2010, compared to the second half of 2009, according to SDI. Reps detailed Novartis' newly launched hypertension drug Valturna in around a fifth of those calls (19%). In addition, Reclast details were up 2.6% and Enablex details rose 14% for the six-month period. 

Overall, industry sales calls dipped 1% in the first half. Calls by sales leader Pfizer decreased 2%, while runner-up Merck saw sales calls slide 16%, with 38% fewer details for Vytorin and 29% fewer for Zetia. Caller No. 3 GlaxoSmithKline made 7% fewer calls to physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

“With the number of pharmaceutical sales reps being scaled back dramatically over the last few years, it's no surprise that sales calls across the industry are also declining,” said Jason Fox, associate director of syndicated analytics at SDI. “However, companies with new drugs or newly approved indications for existing drugs need to get the information into the hands of physicians and other practitioners, and in-person calls are still the most popular type of promotion, outside of product sampling.”

SDI calculates that sales rep calls and details accounted for 36% of the $11 billion pharmaceutical promotional spend in the first four months of 2010.

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