Despite busier schedules and less time for a detail, most primary care physicians (PCPs) prefer to receive samples directly from a sales rep, in person, according to a DTW Marketing Research study.

The study, which surveyed 100 PCPs online, found that 73% of the respondents favored samples hand-delivered from a rep, versus 20% who said they preferred online e-sampling. Additionally, 75% of a given PCP’s current samples had arrived via sales rep, compared with 15% of samples coming from an online request, according to survey results.

In a release on the study, Christine Alongi, VP competitive intelligence services at DTW, said the findings should “serve as a word of caution to marketers considering major changes in their sampling programs,” since e-sampling “may prove to be cost-efficient, [but] the end result could negatively affect the overall promotional mix for the brand.”

In June, Michael du Toit, EVP, client service and new business at Digitas Health, told MM&M that online e-sampling programs have been a boon for pharmaceutical companies, resulting in “an increase of sample requisition” by doctors. “The experience we’ve had with our clients has been that sample consumption went up,” as a result of e-sampling, du Toit said.

Algoni said the DTW study did not look at total sample requests and quantities among doctors receiving sales reps, compared with doctors using e-sampling programs.