Who calls the shots within pharmacy and therapeutics (P&T) committees? A recent survey of P&T committee members published
in the September issue of Formulary, shows that only a few key players do.
Eighty percent of respondents said that pharmacy/formulary directors in hospital and managed care settings have the most influence
in the decision making process, followed by staff/participating physicians, medical directors, and clinical pharmacy specialists,
in varying order, depending on the setting.
Although 23 percent of those surveyed deny that nurses on the committee exert any meaningful influence, nurses who were not
members were judged to have a moderate impact on decisions because of presentations they make to, and research they conduct
for, the committee.
Despite the rise in corporate belt-tightening and employee cost-sharing, more than 90 percent of respondents said employers
and benefits managers have virtually no influence on the decision making process. Patients, or, enrollees, were deemed more
influential in the managed care setting than they were in hospital and health system settings.
Given those results, how amenable are those key players to visits from pharma sales reps? According to researchers at Scott-Levin,
managed care pharmacy executives-defined as the formulary and pharmacy directors or other individuals responsible for drug
decision making-are relatively open to pharma detailing. In their study, 52 of 71 HMO, PBM, and PPO executives said they welcome
quarterly face-to-face contact from sales reps for routine matters. In fact, 35 percent said they prefer that to any other
method of communication. Thirty percent touted the convenience of e-mail, 27 percent liked phone calls, and 4 percent preferred
fax and mail.
Pharma companies have taken the data seriously-14 out of the 38 responding to Scott-Levin's survey plan to expand their managed
care sales forces.