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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 20567

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: Electronic Source

Burns M
Report: Access rates to physicians decline
Pharmalive 2013

Full text:

Although physician access rates have been static since 2009, access to prescribers fell by 3.7 percentage points to 73.5 percent in 2012, according to OneKey’s latest report.

“Many doctors prefer appointments because it allows them to stay focused and get the most value from the sales engagement,” says Jack Schember, director of marketing, SK&A. “These doctors often set aside certain parts of the day or days of the week to consolidate their industry meetings so as not to interfere with practice responsibilities. A more interesting trend is that doctors are requiring appointments as a matter of policy. Doctors whose practices are owned by hospitals or health systems are much more likely to require sales appointments than those doctors who maintain their ownership independence.”

For general practitioners, 20.4 percent did not permit access in last year, compared to 18 percent in 2011. Thirty-three percent required appointments last year, compared to 43.5 percent in 2011.

“Pharma and medical-device sales reps are preparing for the eventuality of the no-access physician,” Schember told Med Ad News. “They are developing alternatives to personal communications such as webcasts and web details, email marketing, social-media campaigns, sponsorship of physician online communities, and publishing of micro-sites specific to treatments. Even direct mail has seen a resurgence in popularity. While face-to-face is still the preferred channel, there has been a sizeable investment in alternative marketing to prescribers.”

Offices with 10 or more physicians reported that 52.3 percent did not provid access last year compared to 40.4 percent in 2011. In 2012, 34.5 percent required appointments, compared to 55.7 percent in 2011.

“Most sales calls in other industries are made on an appointment basis, so it should be this way for doctors too,” Schember told Med Ad News. “The days of dropping in unannounced on a doctor, one of the busiest of all professionals, are coming to a close. It means sales reps need to understand the preferences of individual doctors and get more intuitive about their call planning. It’s really a good thing for both sides because in the end it allows for a better meeting free of distractions.”


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