For example, a force of merchandizing representatives would check on the supply of samples, make sure that office staff has
promotional materials, give physicians and other healthcare professionals basic drug information, and refer them to a Web
site or phone number for more detailed information. And if this job were evaluated based on factors of the job that characterize
the level of responsibility involved, there is little doubt that the pay scale could be 20 to 30 percent less than what it
currently is for primary care reps. Think of what that could do to a pharmaceutical company's return on its sales force investment.
That being said, when it comes to primary care physician staffing levels, the US pharmaceutical industry seems to have turned
a corner. This not only brings relief from the frenetic hiring demands of the past several years, but also from the tyranny
of pay inflation. In an employers' market, pharmaceutical companies can turn their attention to keeping and developing their
best talent rather than manning the revolving door. As maintaining the primary care field force becomes more manageable and
affordable, pharma executives will be able to focus their energies and resources on supporting the increasingly critical managed
care and corporate accounts function.
Bob Davenport is vice president and managing director for Hay Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Carrie Fisher and Dylan Galaty are consultants and have both served as project managers for Hay Group's Annual Pharmaceutical Sales Force Effectiveness