Managed care execs prefer Novartis

April 1, 1999

Pharmaceutical Representative

According to Scott-Levin's fall 1998 "Managed Care Pharmacy Executive Promotional Audit," Novartis is the company that managed care executives feel best meets their overall needs.000

When it comes to being all things to all people, few companies measure up. But as far as managed care organizations are concerned, Novartis comes pretty close.

According to Scott-Levin's fall 1998 "Managed Care Pharmacy Executive Promotional Audit," Novartis is the company that managed care executives feel best meets their overall needs.

"Since Novartis' first appearance on the audit in spring 1997, the company has earned the highest rankings in all four assessment areas for four consecutive audit cycles," the auditors wrote in their report.

The company, which led a competitive top 10 list, received kudos for professional representatives, a good product line, strong contracting and overall support and understanding of the managed care industry. One survey respondent was quoted as saying, "I can't keep up with the service!"

Although Novartis didn't score quite as high as it had in previous audits, it still maintained a 44% lead over second-place Hoechst Marion Roussel.

The other nine

Hoechst Marion Roussel gained 15% in its overall score by improving rankings in contracts, value-added services and knowledgeable, professional sales reps.

SmithKline Beecham moved into third place in the fall, up from fifth place in the last audit. Its advancement was attributed to improvement in three areas: contracting, value-added services and knowledgeable sales reps. Managed care executives said they also liked how SmithKline Beecham worked to partner with and support their organizations.

Zeneca held its position at fourth place, according to Scott-Levin, but its ratings fell in contracting and knowledgeable sales reps. Its smaller size gave Zeneca an edge among some managed care executives. One survey respondent applauded Zeneca as a "smaller manufacturer which continues the policy of working with managed care and providing service."

Warner-Lambert and Glaxo Wellcome shared fifth place. Improving its rankings by 33% to reach its spot, Warner-Lambert was recommended for value-added support, aggressive contracts, strong sales reps and good products. Meanwhile, Glaxo Wellcome improved its ratings by 18%, primarily due to stronger performance by its sales reps. According to Scott-Levin, a knowledgeable sales force was the only assessment area in which the company improved during the recent audit.

Pfizer made it back into the top 10 after slipping in the spring. Tying with Merck for seventh place, Pfizer improved its score by 80%, primarily because of the company's support and products. Managed care executives rated Merck favorably for it professional and knowledgeable sales reps, good product line and educational programs. Some executives noted that Merck was showing good improvement in disease management as well.

TAP and Abbott remained in ninth and 10th place, respectively. TAP's good prices, value-added support and contracts secured it a positive rating, while Abbott relied on a strong sales force and value-added programs to win managed care fans.

Back to the drawing board

Two players that fell out of the managed care executives' top 10 list were Bristol-Myers Squibb and American Home Products.

Bristol-Myers Squibb, which had ranked third in the spring and which had been a mainstay in the top 10 since 1994, fell to 12th place by the fall. Survey respondents said the decline was due to a decrease in visibility and unpopular contracts. Pravachol was a sore point for some managed care executives, who felt all of the company's business seemed tied to the product.

American Home Products slipped from 10th place to 44th, despite its rebound last spring. Fall ratings fell in all assessment areas. Scott-Levin noted one pharmacy executive's opinion: "[The] Company does not want to work with the managed care system."

Scott-Levin's audit results were based on responses of HMO executives, who represent 79% of the American lives covered by their plans. PR