Why All the Bad Buzz? - Pharmaceutical Executive


Why All the Bad Buzz?

Pharmaceutical Executive

The decline exists across all the surveyed countries, and is particularly drastic in Spain. In 2008, 51 percent of Spanish physicians said they witnessed service-model changes. In 2009, that number dropped to 35 percent. In Germany, the percentage of doctors who reported seeing these changes dropped from 41 percent to 28 percent. The US is in the middle of the pack, with only 39 percent of physicians saying they see their interactions changed, down from 45 percent.

However, despite the fact that fewer doctors perceive service improvements, physicians still report some positive changes in physician-centric experiences, in line with pharma's move to become more customer focused. For example, 80 percent of doctors report improvements in professional Internet programs; 68 percent report enhancements in physician education services; and almost half report increases in practice and staff support.

Physicians also indicate major improvements in patient-centric service offerings. Two-thirds note positive changes in patient management, education, and support programs, while 60 percent report enhancements to Internet services. Overall, however, there's still room for improvement.

What Doctors Want

When it comes to what doctors value from pharma, there are some near-universal trends. For instance, doctors in all surveyed countries place the highest value on sales reps' personal and professional conduct. About three-quarters of doctors in the US, UK, Germany, and Italy—and an overwhelming 86 percent in France and Spain—say reps' personal and professional conduct is key to their relationship with pharma. (See "Mind Your Manners," page 107.)

Around the world, doctors also place a high value on physician education and information. Globally, 77 percent say they value these services. In Europe, the percentage that cited physician education as important ranged from 73 percent in France to 83 percent in Italy. The percentage of US doctors who place high importance on education rose from 66 percent to 71 percent over the last year.

Interestingly, while doctors see education as extremely valuable, none of the companies measured received top marks in this area. That means that companies that can provide high-quality, distinctive education offerings have a real opportunity to differentiate themselves.

A "Quality" Sales Call

Doctors are tight on time. So it's no surprise that doctors cite as the most important characteristic of a valuable sales call is "respected pressures on my time." Clear and comprehensive product information, strong scientific/clinical evidence, and acknowledgement of product weaknesses and limitations are also important—but all tie for second place behind that top attribute.

Some attributes that are critical to doctors in one country may do little to advance physician relationships in another. For example, "respected pressures on my time" is far more important to doctors in the US and France than it is to physicians in Italy. "Strong scientific/clinical evidence to support the product" is significantly less important in Germany than in other countries. And while physicians in most countries rate "involved me in the discussion" as important, that was not the case in France.


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