Sales forces, scripts up in 1999

June 1, 2000

Pharmaceutical Representative

Newtown, PA-based healthcare consulting firm Scott-Levin released its "Year in Review 1999," an analysis of pharmaceutical industry trends.

Newtown, PA-based healthcare consulting firm Scott-Levin released its "Year in Review 1999," an analysis of pharmaceutical industry trends.

The report showed that, as the 1990s drew to a close, the sales force growth trend that began in 1995 continued. According to Scott-Levin's "Pharmaceutical Sales Force Structures & Strategies," large and small drug companies added sales reps in 1999 to help promote new products. As companies cope with the current wave of merger activity, the report predicts that sales force growth will be limited to smaller, second-tier firms.

Pharmaceutical promotion continued at a record pace in 1999. According to Scott-Levin, the industry spent more than $6.2 billion in 1999 to detail products to physicians and nearly $1.6 billion on promotional meetings and events, gains of 8% and 29%, respectively, compared with 1998. Prescription drug direct-to-consumer advertising spending also climbed 32%, reaching $1.48 billion in 1999.

Prescriptions increase

Scott-Levin also reported, in its Source Prescription audit, that U.S. physicians wrote an average of 2,060 prescriptions each in 1999, 9% more than in 1998.

Other results of the audit include:


•Â Primary care physicians wrote 53.5% of all prescriptions dispensed by U.S. retail pharmacies.


•Â Mount Olive, NJ-based Knoll Pharmaceutical Co.'s hyperthyroidism treatment Synthroid® was the most prescribed drug by primary care doctors.


•Â Synthroid was followed by the Pfizer Inc., New York, and Warner-Lambert Co., Morris Plains, NJ, co-promoted high cholesterol drug Lipitor,® Philadelphia-based Wyeth-Ayerst Labs' Premarin® tablets (for estrogen replacement), generic atenolol (for hypertension) and generic hydrocodine/APAP (for pain relief).


•Â OB/GYNs wrote 6% of all prescriptions; pediatricians, 5.4%; cardiologists, 3.8%; and psychiatrists, 3.8%.


•Â Prescriptions written by nurse practitioners and physician assistants grew 55% and 45%, respectively, over 1998. PR