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Pharmaceutical marketing:
congratulations to the doctors who resist!

Pharmaceutical companies classify doctors according to their relations with their sales reps. An attitude that is far removed from patients’ interests.

A survey carried out by a marketing consultancy was published in the journal Pharmaceutiques, which is aimed at the French pharmaceuticals industry and its suppliers.

The goal of this survey was to evaluate doctors’ satisfaction with pharmaceutical companies' sales reps. The way doctors are classified in this study speaks volumes about pharmaceutical companies’ attitudes to the medical profession.

Doctors are classified as "apostles", "mercenaries", "hostages" or "rebels". The "apostles" are generally men, "eager to maintain relations with pharmaceutical companies", "not very keen on generics" and accessible (62% in 2007). The "mercenaries" are also satisfied with their relations with pharmaceutical companies, which they do not perceive as important (9%). The "hostages" are not satisfied with their relationship with pharmaceutical companies, but consider it to be important (11%). Then there are those who are "rebels" (18%), mainly women, not very accessible, and who "do not have a preference for one company in particular" and tend to be "pro-generics". The authors of the survey warn pharmaceutical companies that this category is growing.

The survey confirms once again that there is "a very direct relationship between the number of contacts made by a company and the number of prescriptions written as a result".

Prescrire urges doctors to join the "rebel" group, whose growing numbers are giving pharmaceutical companies cause for concern.

©Prescrire September 2009

Source: "Les médecins vus des firmes", Rev Prescrire 2009 ; 29 (306): 295
"How do drug companies view subscribers?" Prescrire Int 2009; 18 (102): 183.

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