Pfizer, Merck reps impress docs with product know-how: study

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Cardiologists rating pharmaceutical sales forces ranked Pfizer's the highest, while Merck's CV sales force improved to number two, a recent poll showed.

Following Pfizer and Merck in the cardiology ratings came Schering-Plough, AstraZeneca and Novartis.

The rankings, compiled by SDI as part of its Pharmaceutical Sales Force Structures & Strategies service, were calculated by combining a quality and familiarity score and cover the first 11 months of 2009. Cardiology was one of 26 specialties covered by the study, which surveyed 11,000 healthcare providers total.

Most of the 300 heart specialists who responded ranked Pfizer best in several attributes, including product know-how—this was also the most important quality, according to respondents. The drugmaker also topped the charts in sensitivity to physicians' time, professional demeanor and sufficient provision of samples.

The only category in which Pfizer didn't take highest honors was in giving unbiased product comparisons. The majority of respondents felt Schering-Plough's erstwhile CV force excelled at that.

Merck came in at number two on all five attributes and showed the biggest improvement: compared to the first 11 months of 2008, its CV sale force jumped from sixth to second place in the rankings.

As for the top cardiovascular brands being discussed during details, Pfizer reps devoted 62% of their conversations to—no surprise here—Lipitor, another 20% to Caduet, according to SDI. Vytorin and Zetia represented just over half of Merck's product discussions. Next highest was Cozaar, followed by Januvia and Hyzaar.

Each product discussion was characterized as one detail, SDI said, and sales calls could include more than one detail.
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